Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake
Venue: StubHub Center – Tuesday, July 4 – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST)
Match Odds: LA Galaxy 4/5 – Draw 11/4 – RSL 3/1
Both sides come into Week 19 in poor form. They both need to really improve over the second half of the season to have any chance of securing a top six finish, let alone a playoff run.
The Galaxy suffered a crushing late defeat to San Jose on Saturday night. Two late goals stunned LA at Stanford Stadium, with Jelle Van Damme’s red card in the dying seconds doing little to help their chances in this one.
Curt Onalfo has a big job on his hands to get LA back to where they belong. Yes, they’ve had a lot of injuries to deal with. Yes, this was always going to be a transitional season. But LA Galaxy have high expectations and they’re not being met.
They are clinging onto a playoff spot at the midway point. But they are four points closer to the bottom of the West than the top.
One win in five MLS outings sums up the Galaxy’s problems. They were unbeaten in eight league games before a 2-1 home defeat to SKC two weeks ago. This will be their first game at StubHub since, and they have to take three points.
Real Salt Lake’s season has been even more worrying than the Galaxy’s. A change of manager hasn’t helped. Mike Petke has come in and struggled to improve results.
Their 1-0 home loss to Orlando on Friday was their fifth defeat in six in all competitions. They are bottom of the West and look to be in real trouble.
RSL are five points behind LA Galaxy in sixth coming into Tuesday night, but have played two games more than their opponents. So they don’t even have the luxury of games in hand.
Seattle proved last year that making the right roster moves in the summer can prove to be a masterstroke. But Real Salt Lake are unlikely to pull of a similar miracle. A first away win at LA in three years would be a major boost. But it looks a long shot.
LA Galaxy will be without Jelle Van Damme after the powerful defender picked up a 95th minute red card in Saturday’s California Clasico defeat. Gyasi Zardes is away with the USMNT in preparation for the Gold Cup. The Galaxy will soon be able to welcome Giovani Dos Santos back to the side, following his involvement with the Mexican national team. But he is unlikely to feature here. Robbie Rogers remains out for the season, while Sebastian Lletget and Baggio Husidic are also sidelined. Brian Rowe, Daniel Steres, Jermaine Jones and Bradley Diallo are all listed as ‘questionable’.
Real Salt Lake midfielder Sunny is suspended as a result of picking up five yellow cards. Nick Rimando is away on international duty with the USMNT. Chad Barrett, Jordan Allen and Omar Holness are all injured, while Demar Phillips and Tony Beltran are doubts.
LA Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake: Key Points
LA Galaxy’s form: D/D/W/L/L
Real Salt Lake’s form: L/L/W/L/L
Key Stat: Real Salt Lake have lost their last seven away games in a row in all competitions, conceding 25 goals in that run.
Key Player: Romain Alessandrini – The Frenchman has been the Galaxy’s best player this season. Eight goals and seven assists in 16 games shows how important he is. LA need him if they are to outgun RSL on Tuesday.
LA Galaxy 2-1 Real Salt Lake – Neither side can come into the game with any real confidence but the Galaxy are in a better position than RSL, even with a couple of key absentees for the game. Real Salt Lake are in poor form. They can’t stop losing away. And that’s unlikely to change here. Home win.