MLS Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake

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

Preview

LA Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake. It’s been a fixture between two of the league’s top sides battling for Western Conference superiority over the years. But not anymore.

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.

Team News

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.

Prediction

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.

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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.