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What we’re watching in Real Salt Lake vs. LAFC

LAFC come to town and at the very least, there will be real fireworks if not real fireworks and also metaphorical fireworks

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

Real Salt Lake host an LAFC team that have had a rough 2021. They visiting team have greatly underperformed expectations in 2021, taking 12 points from 10 games. They’ve also dropped 12 points from leading positions, but with the return of star players in Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela, things could turn around for them.

Will Wood get his first start?

After the defeat draw with Houston last weekend, Bobby Wood said he was pissed. He’s played well in the two games he’s seen minutes, but needs more time in the game. This could be the match where he gets his first start, and it will be fascinating to see how he impacts the game if he does. If Wood does make the XI, does that mean Rubin is pushed to the wing, plays in a two-striker system, or rested?

How will the defense respond to LAFC’s attack?

RSL have just one clean sheet this season, which took place in the 0-0 snoozefest against Nashville SC. The mistakes that have lead to goals are largely fixable errors. It could be as simple as staying concentrated for the full 90 minutes, an issue we saw against Houston. LAFC haven’t scored more than 2 goals in a game this season, but it’s unlikely we’ll see them at their most dangerous. This could be a good chance to keep that first clean sheet, but LAFC is still a very talented team.

Corey Baird

Tonight will be the return of attacker to Corey Baird Rio Tinto Stadium. Baird is, or was, an RSL guy through and through, having come up through the academy, played one game with the Monarchs (where he scored) and spent several seasons with RSL. He notably won Rookie of the Year in 2018 for Major League Soccer. He never quite matched the success he found in 2018, but so far he’s been good with LAFC, having scored 3 goals and assisting twice. He’s a player that will be well known to the RSL backline, but that goes both ways and Baird is capable of some very good moments. With the return of full capacity at Rio Tinto, I’m curious to see how the fans respond to him.

Injury report

OUT: Jeizon Ramirez, Zack Farnsworth, Andrew Putna

Predicted lineup