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What we’re watching in Real Salt Lake vs. FC Cincinnati

RSL welcomes FC Cincinnati to AFF for the first time 

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

Real Salt Lake are scoreless in their last three gams as they welcome FC Cincinnati to Utah. RSL are 7th in the west and, should they lose this game, could be bumped out of a playoff spot if LA Galaxy beat the Colorado Rapids. Cinci are in 6th in the east, but could easy drop out as well. Both teams will be desperate to pick up points to give more security to a playoff place.

Scoreless in three

RSL have to start scoring again. It’s incredible that during this critical moment in the season, they’ve gone three games without a goal. There are several factors. The first reason that is none of the strikers are particularly strong goal-scorers. The second is Jefferson Savarino is being played out of position, and thus is largely ineffective. The third is supporting players, like Rubio Rubin and Maikel Chang, simply are not contributing, despite having the talent to do so. RSL needs to figure out these issues right away or they’ll start a long winter break soon.

The midfield

Against Austin, Diego Luna was a bright spot. His time on the field was mostly good, despite being in the match when the first goal was conceded. He’s a player for the future, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have an impact now. Over the week, head coach Pablo Mastroeni said he expects him to feature against Cincinnati tonight. Since he started on Wednesday, it might not start tonight, but a guy his age should be fine playing with a short turnaround. How much impact he has remains to be seen, but if Löffelsend and Ruiz play with Luna up top, at allows Savarino to be on the wing.

LA Galaxy vs Colorado

One of the biggest points to watch in this game is another game entirely. At 8:30pm today, LA Galaxy host the Colorado Rapids. LA have a game in hand over RSL. They’re just one spot below Real in the standings (they’re in 8th and RSL occupy the last playoff spot) and are only 3 points behind. Since RSL and LAG are level on wins (the first tie breaker is number of wins, followed by goal difference), then a loss for RSL tonight would mean the Galaxy leapfrog them to push RSL out of the playoff places for the first time this season. A tie or win for RSL would keep them above the Galaxy regardless of LA’s result.

Player availability

Out: Damir Kreilach (back), Bobby Wood (adductor)

With Monarchs: Jeff Dewsnup, Gavin Beavers, Julio Benitez, Jude Wellings, Axel Kei, Jaziel Orozco, Zack Farnsworth

Predicted lineup