MLS Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake

Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake

Venue: StubHub Center – Saturday, April 23 – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST)

Match Odds: LA Galaxy 3/5 – Draw 3/1 – Real Salt Lake 9/2

Match Preview

LA Galaxy host high-flying Real Salt Lake on Saturday night in a key Western Conference clash between two sides expected to challenge high up the Supporters’ Shield standings after positive starts to 2016.

LA Galaxy have won three of their opening six games and come into this one off the back of an impressive 4-1 away win in Houston last week.

Bruce Arena will be delighted to have seen his side perform so well on the road, with the emphasis now back on remaining unbeaten at home.

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The Galaxy are a seriously strong outfit on home soil and have only lost twice at home since the start of the 2015 season.

Real Salt Lake are in fine form themselves and are the only MLS side yet to suffer defeat in 2016 but face a tough task in keeping that record intact past Saturday’s game.

RSL have been impressive so far, winning their last two games 1-0, and have the best points-per-game record in MLS.

Jeff Cassar’s side have improved dramatically from last season and know that Saturday’s game offers another chance to show their quality to the rest of the league.

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However, the loss of Joao Plata to injury could leave them lacking attacking quality in the final third, and Cassar will have to hope his squad depth has enough quality to cope without the club’s leading scorer.

These two sides met three times last year, with each team winning once, with the other game ending in a 0-0 draw. LA won the only home game 1-0 and have now beaten RSL in each of the last three home meetings between the clubs.

Team News

LA Galaxy will be without suspended midfielder Nigel De Jong once again here, as he serves the second of his three-game ban. Robbie Keane also remains out as he continues to recover from knee surgery, with Dan Kennedy still sidelined with a groin problem. Leonardo and Robbie Rogers are both doubts.

Real Salt Lake have been rocked by the news that Joao Plata will be out for around 10 days with a thigh injury picked up in training. He will join Emery Welshman, Boyd Okwuonu, Omar Holness and Phanuel Kavita on the sidelines, while Javier Morales and Sunday Stephens are both doubts.

Key Points

LA Galaxy’s last five: L/W/D/D/W

Real Salt Lake’s last five: W/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Real Salt Lake have not scored at StubHub Center in their last three visits and have now gone 280 minutes since scoring against their Western rivals.

Key Player: Giovani Dos Santos – LA Galaxy’s Mexican star played 90 minutes for the first time this season in last week’s 4-1 win in Houston. He was influential, netting twice, and will hope to build on that display against a strong RSL side here.

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Score Prediction

LA Galaxy 2-1 Real Salt Lake – LA Galaxy will look to build on last weekend’s impressive win in Houston. They are a real force at home and know taking three points from this tie will put them in a strong position in the Western Conference. Real Salt Lake have yet to lose a game, but the loss of Joao Plata could prove to be huge. Both will expect to score but LA should narrowly edge this one.

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MLS Fantasy Focus: Who should you be looking at for Week 5?

By Jamie Dawe and Sam Martin

The weekend which was used to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first game of Major League Soccer brought us everything we have come to expect from this ever-developing league. There were goals, star names shining through and a whole host of colourful kits on display. This season is already turning into an MLS classic and it’s only just begun.

Week 4 Review

The Good:

It’s fair to say that the Seattle Sounders have performed well below expectations so far this season, having lost their first three fixtures of the season. However, US international Clint Dempsey ($10.9), fresh from scoring for his country against Guatemala, netted a crucial goal to give his side their first win of the season over Montreal last weekend. Meanwhile, ‘super sub’ Adam Jahn ($5.5) netted six minutes after coming on the field to rescue San Jose Earthquakes a late point at home to winless DC United. Orlando City defender Seb Hines ($7.6) opened the scoring in his side’s convincing 4-1 victory against MLS Cup holders Portland Timbers. The defender earned a total of 9 points to help his side climb to the top of the Eastern Conference and remain unbeaten. Trinidadian teammate Kevin Molino ($8.1) won and converted a penalty late in the game, earning 12 points to rank him amongst the highest point-scorers of the week. However, the standout scorer from Orlando’s game and undoubtedly the player of the week was Kaka ($10.7), who contributed two assists and a goal on his way to picking up 16 points in his first appearance of the season.

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The Bad:

Toronto midfielder Benoit Cheyrou ($7.2) was treated to an early bath as he picked up two yellow cards within the first 13 minutes of his side’s away defeat to the Rapids. This was the fastest red card of the season so far and a feat I’m sure Cheyrou won’t be planning to repeat. He certainly won’t be repeating it in Week 5 as he will be suspended for the game away to the struggling Revs. There were a total of four red cards this week, with Philadelphia’s Warren Creavalle ($5.7), the Red Bulls’ Felipe Martins ($8.3) and Vancouver’s Matias Laba ($7.3) all leaving their team down to ten men. No team that was reduced to ten men managed to score this week – leaving a stark reminder of the dangers of going a man down. It was a bad day for the Portland defence in general, who conceded four goals away to Orlando, so any fans of debutant Jack Barmby ($6.9), may feel slightly disappointed at his performance.

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Week 5 Preview

The Must Buys:

As has already been mentioned, Kaka ($10.7) has come back from injury with a bang – so anyone with a bit of leeway in their budget should invest in the former Ballon d’Or winner before his price skyrockets. Joao Plata ($9.4) is still incredible value for money at under $10 and is the highest scoring striker so far this season with 41 points – an average of over 10 points per game. Daniel Steres ($5.2) is also proving fantastic value for money as the 25 year old is establishing himself as a regular in the LA Galaxy defence. He has gone some way to filling the enormous void (literally and metaphorically) that the departure of 6ft 7ins Omar Gonzalez left.

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The Must Sells:

The New York Red Bulls have lost even more players to injury and now Felipe to suspension so things aren’t getting any easier for Jesse Marsch. It might be best to avoid having Red Bulls players in your side for the next few weeks as I would be surprised if they put in any high scoring performances. It’s over to Bradley Wright-Phillips ($10.8) and Sacha Kljestan ($11.2) to prove me wrong. Revs midfielder Lee Nguyen ($11.0) also needs to start proving that he is worth that vast sum of money – as Kaka looks much the better option for a team’s midfield and he even comes at a cheaper price at this point.

Who will you be bringing into your MLS Fantasy team for Week 5?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders

Competition: Major League Soccer – Real Salt Lake vs. Seattle Sounders

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Saturday, March 12 – 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT) 

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 5/4 – Draw 9/4 – Seattle Sounders 9/4

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake host Seattle Sounders in an intriguing Western Conference clash on Saturday, with both sides looking to improve from disappointing results last weekend.

The Sounders fell 1-0 at home to Sporting Kansas City on home soil, although a first-half red card to Oneil Fisher did little to help their chances.

RSL may not have lost their opener, but conceded two goals in stoppage time to draw 2-2 with Orlando. That will have left fans devastated as they looked certain to leave Florida with three points.

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The Claret and Cobalt will now look to win their home opener against a side they have not lost to at Rio Tinto for five years.

Seattle travel to Real Salt Lake looking to put their first points on the board of the campaign. They only won four MLS away games in 2015, though, and need to try and get at least a draw in this one.

Losing to fellow playoff chasers for a second consecutive week would leave Seattle in an early hole that they could do without having to climb out of.

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These two met twice in the regular season last year, with the home side winning on both occasions. In fact, the home team has now won each of the last eight regular season games in this fixture.

Seattle won 3-1 at CenturyLink Field in October, but RSL sealed a 2-0 win at Rio Tinto Stadium in August and will be hoping for the same result on Saturday.

Team News

Real Salt Lake will be without Demar Phillips, following his red card against Orlando last week. However, Jeff Cassar has no apparent injury concerns heading into the game and will be able to pick his strongest possible side for their home opener.

Seattle have a suspension of their own to worry about as Oneil Fisher will miss this following his red card against SKC on Sunday. Brad Evans has been ruled out after landing awkwardly on his shoulder in last week’s defeat, while fellow defender Roman Torres is also sidelined. Erik Friberg and Tyrone Mears are doubtful but should be passed fit. Jordan Morris is likely to start for the second-straight week.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake’s form: D

Seattle Sounders’ form: L

Key Stat: The home side has been victorious in each of the last eight MLS meetings between Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders. The Sounders last won at Rio Tinto Stadium in 2011.

Key Player: Joao Plata – The pacey forward netted both of RSL’s goals in their opening game last week and looked a real threat. He has returned from injury in good form and will look to hurt the Seattle defence on Saturday night with his pace.

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Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 2-1 Seattle Sounders – Real Salt Lake were just two minutes away from picking up three points in Orlando last week, despite playing 70 minutes with ten men. They will hope to quickly recover from their late collapse with a win in their home opener. Seattle struggled to create enough in the final third last weekend. The first-half red card didn’t help but they don’t look as dangerous as they have done over the past two seasons. The home side should continue to come out on top in this fixture.

2016 MLS Season Preview: Real Salt Lake

As the 2016 MLS season edges ever closer, we’ll be publishing each team’s MLS 2016 Season Preview. Today we take a look at what the Real Salt Lake could achieve this season.

Real Salt Lake head into the new season with plenty of room for improvement after a disappointing ninth-place finish in the Western Conference last campaign. Head coach Jeff Cassar has added some new faces to his side in an attempt to freshen things up but this is going to be a tough season ahead and they are going to have to work extremely hard to improve. The fans will not want another season of struggles, so with sides around them becoming stronger, they must remain competitive in what is a fiercely competitive conference. The aim will be to make the playoffs, after missing out for the first time in eight years in 2015.

Last Season’s Finish:

Western Conference – Position: 9th – P34 – W11 – D8 – L15

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What Needs To Change This Year?

Real Salt Lake must tighten up at the back. They conceded 48 goals last season, while netting just 38. They need to ensure they pick up points from sides around them in the Western Conference as clashes with fellow promotion chasers are fiercely competitive. Cassar’s side need to score more goals as their tally of 38 was the second-lowest across both conferences. Signings have been brought in to try and add to the goal tally, while the return of Joao Plata will hep. They lost 15 games last term – the most in one campaign since 2007 – and ensuring they don’t repeat that mistake will put them in a better position.

Key Changes:

InsChris Wingert – Defender, Danilo Acosta – Midfielder, Omar Holness – Midfielder, Sunny Obayen – Midfielder, Emery Welshman – Forward & Yura Movsisyan – Forward

Outs: Elias Vasquez – Defender, Chris Schular – Defender, Abdoulie Mansally – Defender, Pecka – Midfielder, Luis Silva – Midfielder, Sebastian Saucedo – Midfielder & Sebastian Jaime – Forward

Key Player: 

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Nick Rimando – Goalkeeper – As mentioned, the Real Salt Lake goalkeeper saw his side’s goal breached 48 times last season, so he can expect yet another busy campaign between the sticks. He is a top performer for his side, despite the fact that RSL struggled in the 2015 season. The veteran will turn 37 in the 2016 campaign but as we know, age is less relevant with goalkeepers and his experience could be key as RSL look to pick up more points and cause a few upsets.

One to Watch:

Yura Movsisyan – Forward – The Armenian forward returns to Real Salt Lake for a second spell – his previous stint coming between 2007-2009 where he helped RSL to lift the 2009 MLS Cup, scoring once in the playoffs. The 28-year-old striker joins RSL on loan from Russian side Spartak Moscow and is a player that the Claret and Cobalt fans will be looking forward to watching again. His MLS record stands at 20 goals in 81 outings for Real Salt Lake and Kansas City, so he has already shown he is capable in front of goal. The league has changed since he was last involved and he will need to adapt quickly. There is pressure on him to help RSL improve on last season and if he gets off to a good start he could have quite an impact.

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Predicted Finish:

Western Conference – 9th – It may be a downer for Real Salt Lake fans but their current squad doesn’t seem to be one which can improve on last season. They have lost more players than they have signed and squad depth is important – so they could struggle from the off. RSL lost four of their last five of the 2015 campaign and face a tough start to 2016, with three of their first five games away from home. They must ensure they pick up points wherever possible early on to avoid confidence being shattered. There are reasons for optimism, with Joao Plata’s return from injury and the signing of Movsisyan likely to help the team improve but it is difficult at this point to see them climbing the conference.

What are you expecting from Real Salt Lake in 2016?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Wednesday, October 14 – 21:30 ET (02:30 BST)

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 6/5 – Draw 12/5 – Portland Timbers 11/5

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake host Portland Timbers in a crucial Western Conference clash between two sides desperate to make a late surge for the playoffs.

The battle to make the top six in the West seems to intensify every week and Real Salt Lake have been putting together a solid run of form as we approach the final weekend, which is just 10 days away.

The Claret and Cobalt have had a poor season by their lofty standards but they have won three of their last four and are now just three points off San Jose in sixth. A loss to Portland here would all but end their playoff hopes though and so this is a pivotal clash.

Real Salt Lake’s MLS record: P31 – W11 – D8 – L12

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Portland are looking set to narrowly miss out on postseason soccer for the second successive season as they have fallen out of the top six on goal difference with just three games to play.

They have only won one of their last six and need to try and pick back up quickly with a road win here. That won’t be an easy task but knowing they could move level with Cascadia rivals Seattle in fifth should serve as enough motivation.

They have already won at Rio Tinto Stadium this season and that 1-0 victory in August could help confidence in the Portland camp.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

Portland Timbers’ MLS record: P31 – W12 – D8 – L11

Real Salt Lake have only won one of the last five meetings between these two and so this looks set to be a real thriller between two sides fighting for their playoff lives.

Team News

Real Salt Lake will be without defensive duo Chris Schuler and Demar Phillips. Schuler is still out with a foot injury, while Phillips will serve a one-match ban as a result of yellow card accumulation. Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman have left the USA camp to return for this game. Luis Gil and Boyd Okwuonu are away with the US U-23 squad and are unlikely to be back in time.

Portland will still be without Ben Zemanski, while Michael Seaton is away on international duty with Jamaica. Will Johnson is a doubt with a leg injury and is unlikely to play.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake’s last five: L/W/W/L/W

Portland Timbers’ last five: L/D/L/W/L

Key Stat: Real Salt Lake have only lost two of their last 26 home games in MLS. Although their last home defeat came at the hands of Portland in August.

Key Player: Joao Plata – The exciting attacker scored his first goal since early August in the 2-1 win at Colorado last time out. Expect him to be a real threat throughout.

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Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 2-1 Portland Timbers – This should be a tight and tense affair as neither side can afford to lose. But Real Salt Lake’s home record has been good this season and recent form suggests they will just edge it in front of their own fans.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Sunday, June 7 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports)

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 1/1 – Draw 12/5 – Colorado Rapids 13/5

Match Preview

This Sunday night will see two of the biggest rivals in MLS square up against one another as Real Salt Lake welcome Colorado Rapids to Rio Tinto Stadium for the first Rocky Mountain Cup clash of the year.

Real Salt Lake sit in ninth in the Western Conference with 17 points and despite their low position, they are just two points off the playoff places.

RSL have lost their last two on the bounce coming into this game after suffering a 2-1 defeat against the Vancouver Whitecaps last week and falling 1-0 at the hands of LA Galaxy before that.

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Although their performances haven’t been great in those games, the performances of Javier Morales have been encouraging as he added his third of the season last weekend.

A win against their close rivals with results going their way will elevate them into the playoff places in a very congested Western Conference.

Colorado Rapids, like Real Salt Lake, have lost back-to-back games coming into this. A 1-0 defeat away at Seattle Sounders and a 2-1 home defeat to the Portland Timbers last weekend have left them at the bottom of the Western Conference.

Goals are still a problem for the Rapids as they have netted just 11 times in 13 games so far. The additions of Luc Solignac and Kevin Doyle should see more but neither has got off the mark yet.

Colorado have only won once away from home this season with that 4-0 victory over FC Dallas surprising many, but they’ll have their work cut out if they are to seal all three points on Sunday.

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RSL won the Rocky Mountain Cup after three wins last season, including a 5-1 victory in the most recent meeting back in September.

Team News

Real Salt Lake look set to be without Chris Schuler and Tony Beltran through injury, while Kyle Beckerman is on international duty with the USMNT along with Nick Rimando. Jordan Allen is also absent as he is with the US U20 squad in New Zealand.

Colorado Rapids look set to be without Marlon Hairston through injury, while Dillon Serna and Shane O’Neill are away on international duty.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake last five: W/L/W/L/L

Colorado Rapids last five: D/D/W/L/L

Key Stat: Real Salt Lake are unbeaten in their last 11 home games against the Colorado Rapids.

Key Player: Joao Plata – The Ecuadorian striker has recently come back from injury and Real Salt Lake need to focus on giving him the ball, as he knows how to find the back of the net.

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Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 3-1 Colorado Rapids – The Rocky Mountain Cup holders will prevail comfortably as the hosts will pull away from the Western Conference’s basement side in what should be an open and entertaining affair.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs Real Salt Lake

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs. Real Salt Lake

Venue: Gillette Stadium – Saturday April 25th – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: New England Revolution 1/1 – Draw 12/5 – Real Salt Lake 14/5

Match Preview

New England Revolution host Real Salt Lake on Saturday night in a game which will see the Revs looking to continue their impressive run of form as they will hope to extend their unbeaten run to six. While Real Salt Lake will look to bounce back following their first defeat of the season last weekend to the Vancouver Whitecaps.

It’s no surprise that the Revs have got back into the swing of things after a poor start to the campaign. They now look more like the side that made it to the MLS Cup final last season and it coincides with key players coming back from injury, which has led to morale-boosting performances as that showed as they came from behind to win against the Philadelphia Union last Sunday.

The goal conceded against Philadelphia Union last time out was the first the Revs have conceded in 250 minutes of play – the fifth longest streak in MLS this season.

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Going unbeaten through their last five has seen them propel up the Eastern Conference into third behind first-placed New York Red Bulls and DC United. All three teams are on 11 points but New England have played two more than the Red Bulls and one more than DC United after seven weeks.

Western Conference side Real Salt Lake come into this one in seventh place in a conference that sees five teams on nine points. RSL do have a game in hand over some of their opponents in the chasing pack for those all important playoff places at this early stage and will hope to leave New England with three points on Saturday night.

Since the 3-3 draw with the Union, Real Salt Lake have only scored three goals in the four corresponding fixtures. The loss of Joao Plata before the season began seems to be the reason behind the teams lack of goals.

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After the visit to New England, Real Salt Lake face tough home games against San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy, so three points will give them a confidence boost going into those two matches.

Plus a win could see them elevate as high as third in what is a very congested Western Conference.

This fixture could cause some problems for the Revs as they have failed to beat Real Salt Lake in their last seven meetings, with their last win coming back in 2009 as they prevailed 3-1.

The last time the two sides met, RSL ran out 2-1 winners in a match that saw the return of Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando from the 2014 World Cup.

Team News

New England could welcome back Daigo Kobayashi who looks to have recovered from his hamstring strain, but Chris Tierney could miss out along with Jose Goncalves and Darrius Barnes.

Real Salt Lake will be without Joao Plata, who is a long-term absentee along with Chris Schuler, who is still 4-6 weeks away with his torn medial meniscus. Doubts remain over Sebastian Jaime, who has been suffering with a right tibia fracture.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s last five: D/W/W/D/W

Real Salt Lake’s last five: D/W/W/D/L

Key Stat: In the 18 fixtures between the two, Real Salt Lake have won nine of them.

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Key Player: Kelyn Rowe – New England’s top goalscorer is already on two for the season, and will aim to keep on firing to end this seven game duct in which the Revs have failed to beat Real Salt Lake. An impressive performance will be needed against a defensive RSL side.

Score Prediction

New England Revolution 2-1 Real Salt Lake – The Revs are long overdue a win in this fixture and they should seal all three points this week as they strive towards the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

MLS 2015 Season Preview: Real Salt Lake

Anticipation is now rapidly growing with the new season just six days away and in the build-up to the first game, we’ve had an MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what to expect from Real Salt Lake in 2015…

Real Salt Lake can be optimistic heading into the 2015 MLS season after enjoying a reasonably successful 2014 campaign in the Western Conference as they secured a third place finish. They were knocked out of the MLS Cup by LA Galaxy at the conference semi-final stage after a 5-0 defeat in the second-leg. They were unlucky to tie the first-leg 0-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium after they dominated the game but were only kept at bay thanks to heroics from the Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo. Had Penedo not been in fine form, it could’ve been a different story for Real Salt Lake. It will be RSL’s eleventh MLS season to date.

Last season’s finish: Western Conference position: 3rd – P34 – W15 – D11 – L8

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What needs to change this year?

The issues that head coach Jeff Cassar needs to address in terms of playing style and the way Real Salt Lake set-up are minimal. The fact stands that only LA Galaxy lost fewer games in 2014 and Real Salt Lake suffered just one home defeat all season giving them the second best home record in the league (P17, W11, D5). Their performances on the road is where they let themselves down. They only managed four wins out of 17 away games and that cost them dearly. Had they picked up just a few more away wins, they would have been in real contention for the Supporters’ Shield title.

Key changes to the squad:

Ins: Jamison Olave – Defender, Demar Phillips – Defender, Elias Vasquez – Defender, Wellington ‘Pecka’ Paeckart – Midfielder

Outs: Nat Borchers – Defender, Chris Wingert – Defender, Carlos Salcedo – Defender, Ned Grabavoy – Midfielder, Cole Grossman – Midfielder, Sebastian Velasquez – Midfielder, Robbie Findley – Forward

Key Player: Javier Morales – Midfielder

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Javier Morales has been an essential player at the heart of the Real Salt Lake midfield for the past seven years and 2014 saw him enjoy one of his best seasons yet as he notched nine goals and 12 assists. At 35-years-old, he’s heading towards the end of his career but he still possesses great quality and will be instrumental once again.

One to watch: Joao Plata – Forward

Joao Plata has made a real name for himself after his superb performances in 2014. The young Ecuadorian played 26 games last year, scoring 13 goals and assisting six along the way. What he lacks in height, he more than makes up for with his incredible natural talent and he will be an exciting player to watch in 2015. He will miss the start of the season through injury but expect him to make a real difference when he returns to action.

Predicted finish: Western Conference – 5th

There is no doubting the fact that Real Salt Lake are a great side and always enjoyable to watch. However, the loss of key players such as Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert and Ned Grabavoy could have a negative impact. Those three were first-team regulars in 2014 and certainly played an important role in an effective RSL team. Bringing in Jamison Olave from New York Red Bulls is an excellent acquisition, but it remains to be seen if the rest of the new recruits will prove to be sufficient replacements and that could potentially cost Real Salt Lake a few league positions. Having said that, they should have enough quality to comfortably secure a playoff spot.

What are you expecting from Real Salt Lake in 2015?

5 young MLS stars to watch out for in 2015

With just the MLS Cup Final to play and the 2014 season close to completion, we take a look at five MLS prospects that have lit up the league this season and look set for bright futures.

These young stars are already key players on their teams but will only improve as time goes on and they could be set for huge campaign’s in 2015.

1. Diego Fagundez – New England Revolution

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At 19 years of age, Fagundez has become one of the brightest talents in MLS over the past two seasons having made a breakthrough with the New England Revolution. He has had limited game time since the arrival of USMNT star Jermaine Jones at the franchise.

But he should be set for a great 2015 campaign, and hopefully we will see him at some point in Sunday’s MLS Cup Final.

2. Fabian Castillo – FC Dallas

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Castillo is an explosive winger who is comfortable on either wing. His exceptional dribbling skills have left defenders dazed all season and adding ten goals to Dallas’s tally has made him a great asset for the team.

At just 22, we’re expecting big things from the young man.

3. Tesho Akindele – FC Dallas

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Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year, Akindele, has been superb since breaking into the team. Blas Perez is still the first-choice forward but with eight goals in 29 appearances Akindele has showed great promise.

He and Castillo could make Dallas even more of a force in MLS next season.

4. Gyasi Zardes – LA Galaxy

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The most prolific of our five picks, Zardes has become a key player for the Galaxy this year, and has been a valued partner for MLS MVP Robbie Keane. Netting 16 goals this term has made him a huge asset for LA and he should only improve heading into next season.

Can he finish off a great year with an MLS Cup winners medal on Sunday?

5. Joao Plata – Real Salt Lake

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At 5’2 he’s the shortest player in MLS history, yet he has an abundance of talent. Plata is a compact, yet explosive forward that is comfortable on either foot. He has finally settled in MLS after his stint at Toronto FC and looks at home with Real Salt Lake.

He netted 13 goals in 28 appearances this season and is huge threat for RSL. There is more to come from the Ecuadorian.

Who do you think is the best young talent in MLS right now?