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Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy match preview

RSL has a must-win — or at least a should-win — at home against a good Galaxy side.

MLS: LA Galaxy at Real Salt Lake Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake’s on a bit of a slide right now, but there is no better team to change fortunes against than LA Galaxy, who have proven one of the more exciting match-ups against RSL over the years — and you need look no further than 2009 to see it in full effect.

What RSL needs to do to win

I mean, they need to score. I mentioned it last match, and I think I might have mentioned it before. I still have concerns about repeatability in the way we score goals, and while adding new bodies helps with goalscoring potential (Anderson Julio has a very respectable off-the-bench scoring record, after all), it doesn’t solve the underlying cause: We don’t have a whole lot of creativity on this team. Pablo Ruiz is probably the biggest exception there, but it’s difficult to play a creative role when you’re also a key cog defensively with a two-man midfield.

Injuries and Absences

Out

  • Zack Farnsworth (right ankle)
  • Bret Halsey (ankle)
  • Erik Holt (left foot)
  • Johan Kappelhof (left calf)
  • Jonathan Menendez (adductor)

As you’ll see below, those last three players are

Questionable

  • Damir Kreilach is still “questionable” with a back concern, which makes it quite likely he’ll miss out

With Real Monarchs

  • Gavin Beavers
  • Julio Benitez
  • Jeff Dewsnup
  • Axel Kei
  • Jude Wellings

Not yet eligible to play

Anderson Julio gets the nod in this category, given Elliot Fall’s interview on ESPN 700 announcing the addition — he mentioned that while he obviously can’t predict things like visa paperwork and the like, he’s anticipating 10 days for Julio’s playing eligibility.

Quote of the Match

“Joni Menendez is still on the mend, a few weeks away. Holt, still a few weeks away. Kappelhof, still a few weeks away. Damir is really the question mark. He’s been struggling with a bit of a calf (injury) in the early part, and now it’s his back. I think a lot of that has to do with not having a full preseason. He’s been our emotional leader the last two years since I’ve been here, and the impact he makes on the game and in the locker room is critical. Really looking forward to getting him back as soon as possible.”

Pablo Mastroeni, ESPN 700

Predicted Lineup and Formation

4-2-4
MacMath
Herrera, Glad, Silva, Brody
Ruiz, Caldwell
Chang, Cordova, Wood, Meram

Last ten matches

  • Wed., Sep 29, 2021: Real Salt Lake 2-1 Los Angeles Galaxy
  • Wed., Aug 4, 2021: Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 Real Salt Lake
  • Wed., Jul 21, 2021: Real Salt Lake 2-2 Los Angeles Galaxy
  • Sun., Nov 1, 2020: Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 Real Salt Lake
  • Wed., Sep 23, 2020: Real Salt Lake 2-0 Los Angeles Galaxy
  • Wed., Sep 25, 2019: Real Salt Lake 1-2 Los Angeles Galaxy
  • Sun., Apr 28, 2019: Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 Real Salt Lake
  • Sat., Sep 1, 2018: Real Salt Lake 6-2 Los Angeles Galaxy
  • Sat., Jun 9, 2018: Los Angeles Galaxy 3-0 Real Salt Lake
  • Sat., Sep 30, 2017: Los Angeles Galaxy 1-1 Real Salt Lake

Mildly interesting statistics

  • This is a match-up that tends to see early goals, with five goals in the last 10 matches coming in the first 15 minutes.
  • LA Galaxy is unbeaten in four; RSL hasn’t won in five. It’s a set of results that makes this particularly interesting for both sides, and while it’s early enough that it’s not truly a must-win for either, it does paint a picture of momentum going against the home side right now.
  • This is the earliest in the year the two sides will have met since 2019, when the Galaxy hosted and won against RSL on April 28.
  • The home side generally wins this matchup over the last 10, with the Galaxy winning once on the road against RSL. Two draws round out the set of matches.
  • In 2022, LA has generally held possession over 50 percent, averaging 56 percent on the year. RSL, meanwhile, is sitting with just 42 percent possession. We could well be in for a lopsided match, especially with RSL holding a dismal 73 percent pass success. (Side note: I’m not saying you should really compare teams across leagues, but RSL’s passing percentage puts them near the very bottom of the “big five” European leagues, which is interesting. Philadelphia’s 67.6 percent passing success is actually lower than any team in that set.)