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Match preview: RSL hosts LAFC, looks to bounce back from weekend loss

After a humiliating 4-0 loss in Minnesota, RSL plays host to LAFC and will look to capitalize on a team missing three of their big players in Carlos Vela, Eduard Atuesta, and Mark-Anthony Kaye.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-LAFC at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Hoping to bounce back from a brutal 4-0 loss on the road in Minnesota over the weekend, Real Salt Lake returns home to host LAFC in a rescheduled match that was postponed two weeks ago due to a protest across all major sports in the country. That game will be made up tonight as RSL plays their fourth game in 12 days.

Though the history between these two sides is thin, LAFC has won both outings at Rio Tinto Stadium. In their second-ever match in MLS play, they stunned the home crowd in Sandy with a 5-1 win, while following up with a 2-0 win in their second Utah visit.

However, nobody can forget the shocking 3-2 win RSL put down on LAFC in the playoffs at Banc of California Stadium back in 2018, ousting the home side in their first-ever playoff game and cutting their run mighty short.

Real Salt Lake

Record: 2-2-5 (11 points)
Table: 8th place (west)
Points per game: 1.22
Most goals: Damir Kreilach (4)
Most assists: Corey Baird (4)
Clean sheets: 3
Form: LWDDL

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Minnesota United FC Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering a few tough breaks in Minnesota — two disallowed goals along with a Minnesota goalkeeper blunder that should have counted as a goal, but didn’t — RSL will hope to have a better showing at home against a damaged LAFC squad. We got our first really good look at Giuseppe Rossi’s extended play as he got his first start in an RSL kit and played 77 minutes before being subbed off. Freddy Juarez opted to go with a diamond formation from the beginning, and 33-year-old Rossi looked really promising at the top of that diamond, where Albert Rusnak would most likely normally play.

The team broke down in the second half and gave up four unanswered goals to the home side despite remaining relatively even on stats across the board.

After the last few matches, it seems that RSL is also in the midst of a goalkeeper identity crisis. Both Zac MacMath and Andrew Putna have seen a share of starts between the posts this season, and both have shown some promising play along with some horrendous mistakes. RSL hasn’t had to worry about their starting goalkeeper position since 2006, the year before Nick Rimando was brought in and snatched up the starting position almost immediately, making 27 starts in his first season with RSL.

Now, it’s up to Juarez and his staff to figure out where to go from here in goal. He still has youngster David Ochoa to bring in, who has been phenomenal with the Real Monarchs in the past. Ochoa is just coming off an injury and should be available moving forward, so it’s up to Juarez if we’ll see him make any appearances in the near future.

Absences

-none-

Projected Lineup

MacMath; Herrera, Glad, Onuoha, Toia; Luiz, Ruiz; Rusnak, Kreilach, Meram; Baird

Los Angeles FC

Record: 3-3-3 (12 points)
Table: 7th place (west)
Points per game: 1.33
Most goals: Diego Rossi (9)
Most assists: Latif Blessing (4), Brian Rodriguez (4)
Clean sheets: 1
Form: DLLWL

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Los Angeles FC Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LAFC has found themselves in a less-than-ideal spot, coming off another disastrous loss to the LA Galaxy. This time, the Galaxy held them scoreless as they steamrolled their crosstown rivals 3-0, thanks to goals from Cristian Pavon and Sebastian Lletget.

The black-and-gold is also missing undoubtedly their best player in Carlos Vela, who went down with an injury a few weeks ago and will be out indefinitely. To make matters worse, they’re still missing Eduard Atuesta with a foot injury, and stalwart midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye will be sitting this one out after receiving a red card in the match against the Galaxy.

If there was ever a time for RSL to get their first win over LAFC at home, this is it. Diego Rossi seems to be their only real scoring threat as he’s knocked down nine goals this season. Bradley Wright-Phillips has also added four, but the 35-year-old has only been playing 60-65 minutes per game on average, and his last goal came in their 5-1 win over San Jose just a week ago.

If RSL is able to hold Rossi and BWP off from getting good looks at goal, they have a really good chance at being the next team to take down the giants, who were already favored to win MLS Cup earlier this year.

Absences

OUT: Carlos Vela (grade 2 MCL sprain), Eduard Atuesta (foot), Danilo Silva (undisclosed injury), Mark-Anthony Kaye (red card suspension)

Projected Lineup

Sisniega; Blackmon, Jakovic, Segura, Palacios; Blessing, Ginella; Cifuentes; Rodriguez, Wright-Phillips, Rossi


Match info

When: Wednesday, September 9, 2020, 7:30PM MT

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium — Sandy, UT

Weather: 62 degrees, partly cloudy

Broadcast: KMYU, KSL TV app (streaming), ESPN+ (streaming), ESPN700 (radio)

Referee: Victor Rivas