Competition: MLS Playoffs (Western Conference Knockout Round) – LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake
Venue: StubHub Center – Wednesday, October 25 – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST)
Match Odds: LA Galaxy 8/11 – Draw 5/2 – RSL 15/4
The Galaxy will be looking to make home advantage count and secure their place in the next round. They come into the tie having drawn with Dallas on Decision Day, a solid result considering how many players Bruce Arena rested.
LA will at least be looking to go one better than they did in the 2015 playoffs and advance through this stage, but they know this won’t be an easy tie.
Galaxy were unbeaten against Real Salt Lake in the regular season, with the meeting at StubHub Center ending 5-2.
Real Salt Lake come into the playoffs off the back of a poor run of form. They were forunate results went their way on the final round of fixtures, otherwise they may not have made the knockout rounds.
This is a huge chance for Salt Lake to put a disappointing end to the regular season behind them. While form is important, knockout rounds are a completely different game and Jeff Cassar has to ensure his players are ready to give their all.
RSL didn’t make the 2015 playoffs, so there is an added incentive to do well and prove to any doubters that they deserve to have made it this time around. This is also a chance for Salt Lake to put to bed a run of four consecutive losses away to LA.
LA Galaxy will be without Gyasi Zardes and Steven Gerrard. Robbie Keane could return after he has been in full training this week. Arena did rest a few of his key faces at the weekend and they will more than likely return to the starting XI here.
Real Salt Lake could be missing three here as Emery Welshman, Aaron Maund and Jeff Attinella are all expected to be unavailable for this crucial knockout tie.
LA Galaxy’s last five: D/L/L/W/D
Real Salt Lake’s last five: L/D/L/D/L
Key Stat: Real Salt Lake haven’t won in their last seven games.
Key Player: Giovani Dos Santos – The Mexican was Galaxy’s highest scorer in the regular season with 14 goals. He was rested at the weekend and will be looking to make a huge impact and fire his side into the next round here.
LA Galaxy 3-1 Real Salt Lake – LA Galaxy to progress and leave Real Salt Lake heartbroken. This tie has the makings of a comfortable Galaxy win, but RSL aren’t going to make things easy, expect two sides to give everything to eliminate one another.