Real Salt Lake are on the road again, this time taking on a very poor LA Galaxy team. There are still two playoff places up for grabs in the west since MLS moved to points per game as the determiner for standings. RSL are in 10th place in the west, on 1.1 points per game, and LA Galaxy moved up to 11th with Houston’s recent loss, and have 0.95 points per game. If RSL don’t win this game, they greatly increase their chances of playoff elimination.
Points & results
RSL vs Galaxy has been one of the most exciting matchups in club history. These games often provide exciting results and big moments. This season both teams have been fairly bad. That’s why one of the main things to watch around this game is not the game itself. Closely watching other western conference results in a norm for this point in the season and if RSL lose this game, they could be out.
This is how things shake down for Real today: RSL lose to the Galaxy and the Rapids beat the Sounders or if the Whitecaps beat the Timbers, RSL are eliminated from the playoffs. If win or a draw would keep their playoff hopes alive. The good news there is that the Sounders and the Timbers are much better teams than the Rapids or Whitecaps and both sides, who have already secured their playoff spot, will be fighting for position. If the Galaxy lose or tie, given other results, they would be out. The Galaxy will be desperate for all three points.
It was announced this morning that midfielder Pablo Ruiz has signed a contract extension through 2025. He’s been one of the few positives this year, and after the news that RSL and Sam Johnson mutually agreed to terminate his contract yesterday, news of retaining a valuable player is an uplift this club badly needed. I’m curious to see if Ruiz will be bolstered by his contract extension. Does he play with more confidence? Regardless if this has any effect on his on-field performance, he’s always a fun one to watch.
Toia and Herrera’s positioning
Donny Toia and Aaron Herrera approach the outside back role differently. Herrera gets up field more often and whips a ball into the box nicely. Toia is slightly more defensive minded than his right-sided counterpart. Toia has done well this season, and given there is no clear backup to his spot with Ashtone Morgan out for much of the season, he’s managed to stay healthy and consistent. Toia has far more experience in the game and his veteran presence is valuable. Watch to see what each player does defensively, where they position themselves during transition, and how they contribute to the attack.
Not medically cleared to play: