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

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RSL are back on the road as they take on LAFC

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

Real Salt Lake are on to road at Banc of California Stadium to play a declawed LAFC. Los Angeles are coming off a good 4-0 win over Sporting Kansas City, but been fairly poor this season. RSL are three points above them in the playoff race, with Real occupying the seventh and last playoff spot. A win for would go a long way in helping to keep them there.

Grit

In their last match, Real Salt Lake conceded first to FC Dallas, and that typical has meant RSL won’t get all three points. But the team were able to battle back and score three goals on the bounce. They never looked out of the game, though, and kept fighting and that fight paid off in a big way. They did conceded late, yet those three goals allowed them to stay above Dallas to get the win. That grit was key to the success against Dallas, when in games past we may have seen a collapse.

Outside backs

Aaron Herrera has been one of the most consistent and impressive players for RSL over the past few years, but he’s set to miss tonight due to yellow card accumulation. When he was injured earlier this season, that gave Andrew Brody a chance to play and he certainly exceeded expectations. Brody, however, is injured, which means we’ll see Powder, Morgan, or Toia take up the two outside back spots. Aaron leaves big shoes to fill, particularly given that those three players are generally left backs. We’re likely to see Morgan on the left with Powder on the right, given he’s spent some time on that side.

Mastroeni

It’s another test for interim head coach Pablo Mastroeni. He did well in his first full week with the team to give them a win over Dallas. This is another, and better, look at what more time under his leadership means for Real Salt Lake. By all accounts, he’s well liked and respected by the squad, so watch for how the players and system evolve as we move away from the Freddy Juarez era.

Injury report

Questionable: Jeizon Ramirez

Out: Zack Farnsworth, Andrew Brody, Zac MacMath, Bobby Wood

Suspended: Aaron Herrera (yellow card accumulation)

Predicted lineup