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What we’re watching in RSL vs. LA Galaxy, 2021 preseason edition

It’s promising to be an interesting one.

Los Angeles Galaxy v Real Salt Lake Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Before we take on teams from Los Angeles repeatedly during the 2021 season, we’re getting a bit of a warmup today: It’s Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy, 2021 preseason edition.

The match is the final one in RSL’s preseason schedule, which has included an unstreamed match against Phoenix Rising, a duo of matches against Sacramento Republic, and a 3-0 win over Colorado Rapids.

Between July 3 and Aug. 4, will travel to and host both LA Galaxy and LAFC, giving the team four matches in seven against Los Angeles-based opponents. It’s a bit weird, if we’re being honest.

How to watch Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy

  • Where: Tucson, Arizona
  • When: 6 p.m. Mountain Daylight, 5 p.m. Mountain Standard / Pacific
  • Stream: KSLSports.com, KSL TV app

Integrating Rusnak

The biggest question of this 2021 RSL team right now, not considering off-field concerns? It’s all about Albert Rusnak. While he’s typically been deployed as a central attacking midfielder, there’s a dearth of space in the midfield these days. Pablo Ruiz is basically undroppable, Damir Kreilach presents a real goalscoring threat, and Everton Luiz mops things up.

We haven’t had a chance yet to see what RSL coach Freddy Juarez’s vision for integrating Rusnak into the lineup, as he’s been on international duty. He’s a designated player and commands a spot in the lineup, but where will that be?

The fight for left back

In discussion recently with one of my Off the Crossbar cohosts, Kyle, it’s come up that there’s genuine competition at left back for the first time in several years. Donny Toia is probably in line for the spot to start the season, but Ashtone Morgan — who didn’t play for the team last year after some weirdness surrounding international slots and COVID-19 — has steadily impressed throughout preseason, offering a much-needed attacking threat from the position. I’m convinced Morgan has a chance to earn that starting spot sooner rather than later.

Real competition

This is probably the biggest match we’ll have this preseason. Colorado Rapids looked extremely poor, and otherwise, we played two USL Championship teams. It will be interesting to see how this team fares against slightly better competition.