Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: Preseason Scout Report

Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: Match outlook

Real Salt Lake welcome Manchester United to Rio Tinto Stadium on Monday night for the Red Devils’ second game of their US tour. The game kicks off at 8pm local time, which will be 3am in the UK.

It will be the Premier League giants’ first ever game in Utah. And comes off the back of Saturday’s convincing 5-2 win over LA Galaxy at StubHub Center.

Big-money signings Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof made their unofficial debuts for Man Utd at the weekend. Lukaku didn’t get on the scoresheet but the £75m signing will no doubt be planning to find the net against RSL.

Mourinho has said he will once again field two different sides in each half of Monday night’s game. United still have five games to play after their clash with RSL, including friendlies against Man City and Real Madrid before the end of the week.

Real Salt Lake have had a tough MLS campaign so far this season. They are currently at the halfway stage but their hopes of making the playoffs look slim.

But Monday’s friendly gives the team the chance to put aside their league form and enjoy playing against some of the world’s top players.

MLS veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando can’t wait to be tested by the likes of Lukaku and Marcus Rashford.

“I think the city deserves a team like Manchester United come here. The fans deserve it,” he said.

“For me to be able to play against such great players is exciting for sure. They have huge players and to step onto the field with them is going to be great.”

Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: RSL scout report

Real Salt Lake’s league form has been poor in 2017. They’ve taken 20 points from 20 games and sit ninth in the Western Conference. They are only two points off the bottom and four points adrift of the playoff places at the midway point.

They have the joint-worst goal difference in MLS this season and have lost as many home games as they have won this term. That will give Manchester United hope of bettering their result from the LA Galaxy game on Saturday.

Interestingly though, RSL did run out 6-2 winners at LA Galaxy in their latest outing before the MLS Gold Cup break set in two weeks ago. So they have proven they can be a really dangerous attacking outfit. The problem is they can’t seem to keep goals out.

Head coach Mike Petke will undoubtedly be looking ahead to Wednesday night’s MLS battle with the Portland Timbers. He will likely give plenty of fringe players a chance to impress against United on Monday night, and is unlikely to play anyone for more than 45 minutes.

Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: Man Utd scout report

Manchester United got their US tour off to the perfect start with that 5-2 win at the Galaxy on Saturday. Mourinho rotated his squad and experimented with three at the back.

He has admitted the team will return to a tradition four-man defence at Rio Tinto Stadium, but 22 players are likely to feature as he continues to test things ahead of the 2017/18 Premier League season, which is now just 25 days away.

Lukaku will be looking to score his first United goal following his £75m move to the Red Devils last week. He could be handed a start here, and will look to do better than he did in LA on Saturday.

Man Utd are expected to cruise to victory, given the quality they have throughout the squad. But RSL will offer an attacking threat, which United will look to contain after conceding two late goals against the Galaxy.


MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Portland Timbers

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

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Saturday, June 18 – 22:00 ET (03:00 BST) 

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 5/4 – Draw 12/5 – Portland Timbers 21/20

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake welcome Portland Timbers to Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday as Major League Soccer returns following the international break.

Real Salt Lake won their last MLS outing, away against New York City in that thrilling 3-2 tie. They’ll be hoping for a repeat this weekend in front of goal, but will have looked at tightening up at the back.

Jeff Cassar’s side played in the US Open Cup during the international break, where they won on penalties after they came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in normal time.

Real Salt Lake are currently 3rd in the Western Conference, trailing top spot by five points. They will feel like their impressive home form can continue to push them in the right direction.

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Portland Timbers won in their last MLS outing too. Their 1-0 win over San Jose extended their unbeaten run to three as they look to continue to improve on what has been a below-par start to the season.

Caleb Porter’s side also played in the US Open Cup during the break, repeating their win again San Jose, beating them 2-0 this time around.

Portland are sitting 7th in the West but have closed the gap on the top six to just one point. They have to make sure they finish in the top six to avoid an embarrassing attempt to defend their MLS title and that means improved results are needed now.

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers

Team News

Real Salt Lake currently have no injuries or suspensions. They will however be without Kyle Beckerman, who remains on international duty with US Men’s National Team.

Portland Timbers have three injury concerns as Alvas Powell, Adam Kwarasey and Darren Mattocks all look set to miss out.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake’s form: L/L/W/L/W

Portland Timbers’ form: L/L/W/D/W

Key Stat: Real Salt Lake have won their last four games at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Key Player: Fanendo Adi – If Portland are to continue their run of form and end RSL’s home streak they will need their key man to be on form. He has netted eight goals so far this season and is always a threat.

LA Galaxy vs Portland Timbers

Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 1-1 Portland Timbers – A cagey return to MLS for both of these sides is expected. Portland had just found form before the break, while Real Salt Lake have been impressive at home in recent outings. Score draw.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Sporting Kansas City

Competition: Major League Soccer – Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting Kansas City

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Friday, July 24 – 23:00 ET (Saturday, July 25 – 04:00 BST)

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 13/8 – Draw 11/5 – Sporting Kansas City 6/4

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake entertain Sporting Kansas City in a Western Conference clash which should be full of action.

Salt Lake are undefeated in their last eight regular season home games and will feel this gives them a great chance in this one.

RSL come into this one off the back of their 2-0 home win against Houston Dynamo, which was their first win four outings.

Jeff Cassar’s side came out on top with a 2-1 win in the clash between the sides earlier in the season.

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Sporting Kansas City have been in great form recently, having lost just once in their last 11 outings. They come into the game after their 2-1 win over Montreal Impact, which was their third win on the bounce.

Peter Vermes will be pleased with his side as they sit in fourth place in the Western Conference, just two points behind leaders FC Dallas. If they can continue their recent run of form they will have a great chance of securing top spot, but this will not be a straight forward tie.

SKC will be aware that RSL will put them under pressure and given how tight the Western Conference is, neither side can afford to lose this one. They are separated by seven points but with RSL sitting outside the playoff places, they will make this a difficult game as they look to pile pressure on the sides above them.

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Team News

Real Salt Lake have three injury concerns. Jamison Olave is out while Jordan Allen and Luis Silva are doubtful for this tie. Luke Mulholland is one booking away from suspension.

Sporting Kansas City will be without Ike Opara. Jalil Anibaba, Bernardo Anor and Seth Sinovic are doubts. Dom Dwyer is one caution away from a suspension.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake last five in MLS: L/D/D/L/W

Sporting Kansas City’s last five in MLS: W/L/W/W/W

Key Stat: Sporting Kansas City have won five of their last six regular season games.

Key Player: Benny Feilhaber – The playmaker has netted six goals so far this season and we can expect his creativity to cause RSL problems.

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Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 1-2 Sporting Kansas City – Sporting Kansas City to put an end to Real Salt Lakes home form.

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: Real Salt Lake vs LA Galaxy

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

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Wednesday, May 6th – 21:30 ET (02:30 BST)

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 17/10 – Draw: 11/5 – LA Galaxy: 13/8

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake host LA Galaxy at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday night, looking for some retribution towards the Galaxy, after they knocked them out of the playoffs last season en route to winning MLS Cup.

Both sides face two games this week, which will allow both the chance to get more points on the board before the weekend is over. On paper you would have to say LA Galaxy have the harder of the two fixtures with two tricky away ties as a trip to FC Dallas awaits on Sunday night. While Real Salt Lake head to Chicago to face the Fire on Saturday night.

Real Salt Lake come into this one without a win in their last four, leaving them languishing in eighth in the Western Conference. It’s a stark contrast to last season when they went unbeaten through their first 13 games and were in second place.

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RSL have really struggled to get goals this season with just seven to their name. That’s rather concerning considering they were in the playoffs last season. But they can take some confidence from the fact that they have only lost once at home so far in that 1-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The Royals need to get back to winning ways very quickly before the leading pack leave them behind in the chase for the playoffs. Jeff Cassar’s side have just two wins this season but they are only three points off the Galaxy in fourth, with a game in hand.

LA Galaxy are on a run of two consecutive draws after ties with New York Red Bulls and Colorado Rapids. One major concern is their away form so far this year as they have drawn two and lost two on the road.

That’s a key point as they now face three away games in a row. Picking up points away from home is vital if they are to get top spot in the Western Conference this season.

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Robbie Keane has only featured four times for the Galaxy this season, but has scored four goals, keeping up his impressive goal record in MLS with 85 in 88 games in regular season matches. But they will again be without their talisman as his groin strain is still leaving him on the sidelines.

Fellow striker Alan Gordon has come in and scored some important goals and will need to keep getting on the scoresheet in his absence, while emerging star Bradford Jamieson IV can look to continue impressing.

The two sides met in the Western Conference semifinals in the playoffs last season, in a game where LA Galaxy thumped Real Salt Lake 5-0 at StubHub Center, though RSL were the better side at Rio Tinto Stadium in the first-leg’s 0-0 draw.

Though a hat-trick from Landon Donovan, and goals from Robbie Keane and Marcelo Sarvas sent the Claret and Cobalt packing, and they will be desperate for revenge in this one.

Team News

Real Salt Lake will remain without Joao Plata (fractured metatarsal) and Chris Schuler (medial meniscus), while doubts remain over Sebastian Jaime (right tibia fracture) and Boyd Okwuonu (shoulder). RSL could have Nick Rimando back in goal and top scorer Javier Morales could also turn out after he took part in full training at the end of April.

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LA Galaxy have some injury problems of their own for this one, including Robbie Keane (groin), Jose Villarreal (hamstring) and goalkeeper Brian Perk, with the latter out for the rest of the season. Kenney Walker and Leonardo could return to the side but are unlikely to start. Gyasi Zardes is set to continue on the left with Jamieson and Gordon in attack.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake’s last five: W/D/L/L/D

LA Galaxy’s last five: L/W/W/D/D

Key Stat: Real Salt Lake are unbeaten against LA Galaxy in their last four home meetings with their Western Conference rivals.

Key Player: Nick Rimando – The Real Salt Lake ‘keeper has the highest amount of clean sheets in MLS history with 115 to his name. Another clean sheet in this one is a real possibility and would help RSL add to their points tally.

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Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 1-0 LA Galaxy – Not too many goals as both teams are missing key strikers. Galaxy haven’t won away this season and won’t break the RSL defence down in this one. Home win.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes 

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Friday, May 1st – 20:00 ET (03:00 BST)

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 4/5 – Draw 13/5 – San Jose Earthquakes 100/3

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake entertain San Jose Earthquakes on Friday night as both sides look to lift themselves up the table in a very competitive Western Conference.

Real Salt Lake come into the game off the back of two defeats. Last weekend’s 4-0 drubbing away to New England Revolution has further highlighted their sticky patch of form after a 1-0 home defeat to Vancouver the week before ended their unbeaten start to the campaign.

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Jeff Cassar’s side have won just twice this season and need to avoid getting caught up in a lengthy spell before their next win, but this game will be yet another hard outing against a San Jose side that have already won at the Seattle Sounders this season.

The Earthquakes are above Real Salt Lake on goal-difference but they too are struggling to put together a winning streak after a promising start to the season.

Winning three and losing four of their seven games so far isn’t too much of a concern for Dominic Kinnear but he needs to get his defence to tighten up having conceded nine times.

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The Quakes lost 2-0 last week to the New York Red Bulls. They will feel they have a chance to take points from this one, but the standings are incredibly tight with just two points separating 5th and 10th in the Western, showing why it is so hard to split these two.

Team News

Real Salt Lake have seven injury concerns as Joao Plata, Chris Schuler, Sebastian Jaime, Javier Morales, Boyd Okwuonu and Nick Rimando could all miss out. Plata is nearing a return but is still at least three weeks away. While John Stertzer will miss out through suspension, so Cassar has his options limited, but he will be hoping that he can take something from this game ahead of their next tie against LA Galaxy.

San Jose Earthquakes have four out as Mark Sherrod, Steven Lenhart, Shaun Francis and Jordan Stewart will miss the trip. Kinnear needs Chris Wondolowski to lead the line as he did at the start of the season as the forward hasn’t scored in his last three outings and needs to put that run to an end as soon as he can.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake’s last five: W/W/D/L/L

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five: W/L/L/W/L

Key Stat: Leaky – both sides have conceded more than they have scored this season (9) and so it could go either way in this game.

Key Player: Kyle Beckerman – The midfield powerhouse needs to show his ability to dominate the middle of the park in these sort of games. If he can hit top form, RSL will reap the benefits.

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Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 2-2 San Jose Earthquakes – Nothing to split these two in what will be a hard fought tie. Goals can be expected though as there have been 17 in the last six meetings between the two sides.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Competition: Major League Soccer – Real Salt Lake vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Saturday, April 18th – 21:30 ET (02:30 BST)

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 21/20 – Draw 12/5 – Vancouver Whitecaps 5/2

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake welcome high flying Vancouver Whitecaps to Rio Tinto Stadium this Saturday evening in what is one of the standout fixtures of the weekend.

RSL are still unbeaten so far this campaign, winning two and drawing three, but they will have to be at their best to keep that run going against the Whitecaps this weekend.

Vancouver’s start to the season has been brilliant but they have already lost twice, including in their outing, and that will encourage Jeff Cassar and his side.

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The ‘Caps lost at San Jose last weekend while Salt Lake drew at Sporting Kansas City, so both sides will be looking to get back to winning ways on Saturday night.

Real Salt Lake will be hoping key man Javier Morales can influence a win this weekend, as he has scored two so far this campaign and been the standout player in the squad after six weeks.

RSL are certainly missing striker Joao Plata in his absence through injury as they have registered just one goal from their forwards, but are coping well and the team will only get stronger when he returns.

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Alvaro Saborio needs to start getting amongst the goals on a more regular basis but things are certainly looking promising for the team.

The Whitecaps will be looking to provide Octavio Rivero with as many chances as possible. The Uruguayan forward has five goals in seven games and is largely to thank for their position at the top of the Western Conference.

Team News

Real Salt Lake have five injury concerns. Joao Plata will continue to be unavailable for some time, while Sebastian Jaime, Demar Phillips, Justen Glad and Pecka could all be set to sit this one out.

Vancouver Whitecaps also have five concerns as Andre Lewis, Marco Bustos, Mauro Rosales, Gershon Koffie and Diego Rodriguez are all struggling with injuries. They will also be without playmaker Pedro Morales who is suspended.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake’s form: D/D/W/W/D

Vancouver Whitecaps form: W/W/W/D/L

Key Stat: Unbeaten – RSL are one of only two unbeaten sides in MLS this season but this will be their toughest challenge yet.

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Key Player: Octavio Rivero – Rivero has arguably been the league’s most impressive player so far this season, and it will be interesting to see how RSL set up to stop him.

Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – Real Salt Lake to keep their unbeaten run going in a tough fixture. With both sides coming into the game without a win last weekend it is difficult to separate the two, though Vancouver need to make sure they can cope without Pedro Morales to get anything from the game.

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?

2014 MLS Season Review: Real Salt Lake

Western Conference Final Position: 3rd

Western Conference Playoffs: Semi-Final


Real Salt Lake‘s capitulation in what turned out to be their last game of the season when they lost 5-0 at LA Galaxy was both inexcusable and inexplicable, but one poor game should not overshadow what was – on the whole – a brilliant season.

They made the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season and also enjoyed great form at home winning 11 games and suffering just one defeat. Only LA Galaxy and FC Dallas fared better on home soil in the 2014 MLS season.

Best Moment

The 12-game unbeaten run at the beginning of the season set the tone for a successful campaign and it shouldn’t be underestimated as to how hard it is to maintain that kind of form.

Worst Moment

An obvious choice, but the 5-0 defeat against LA Galaxy in the playoff semi-final will be a painful final memory for 2014 and one they’ll want to forget as soon as possible.

Player of the Year

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Javier Morales was a joy to watch and was truly inspirational for his side. Picking up nine goals and 12 assists from midfield makes it hard to look any further, although Kyle Beckerman deserves a special mention for another great season at the heart of the team.

Biggest Win

Real Salt Lake 5-1 Colorado Rapids (September 20 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Regular season: Seattle Sounders 4-0 Real Salt Lake (May 31 2014)

Including playoffs: LA Galaxy 5-0 Real Salt Lake (November 9 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

It’s hard to pinpoint any areas that specifically need improving for a side that are so consistent, but one disappointment for RSL would be their form on the road. They only managed to pick up four wins on their travels and if they could improve that number next season and maintain their strong home form, then they would be serious contenders for the Supporters’ Shield title in 2015.

Playoff Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs LA Galaxy

Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy will meet in a Western Conference heavyweight clash at the Rio Tinto Stadium in their playoff semi-final first leg on Saturday night.

Both sides share a vast experience of competing in the MLS Cup, so they’re certainly no strangers to the responsibility and pressure that comes with playoff matches.

Real Salt Lake were runners-up in the final last year following a penalty shootout defeat to Sporting Kansas City after they had tied the game 1-1 and have qualified for the MLS Cup playoffs every season since 2008.

They won the competition in 2009 when they beat LA Galaxy on penalties – their only MLS Cup title to date.

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Real Salt Lake will look to their home advantage to try and get themselves ahead in this tie as their form at the Rio Tinto Stadium has been excellent this year, with 11 wins and just the one defeat.

Real Salt Lake’s home form: Played 17 – Won 11 – Drawn 5 – Lost 1

LA Galaxy are the joint most successful team in the history of the MLS Cup alongside DC United with both sides having won four titles.

However, the Galaxy were dumped out of the competition at this stage last year by the same opponents, losing 2-1 on aggregate, so they will be looking to avoid a repeat performance.

They will also have to recover from their Supporters’ Shield disappointment after their 2-0 defeat against Seattle Sounders in the last game of the season saw them finish in second place, while the Sounders lifted the title.

They’ve struggled for consistency away from home and their last win on the road was a 3-0 win at Chivas USA on September 1, so the key will be to keep it tight on Saturday night.

LA Galaxy’s away form: Played 17 – Won 5 – Drawn 6 – Lost 6

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It’s crucial to still be alive in the tie when the second leg comes around, so neither side will want to hand the initiative to the opposition, so this should make for a tense but entertaining affair.

Key Player: Alvaro Saborio – Real Salt Lake’s Costa-Rican forward has been in fine form this season, having scored 8 goals from just 13 starts. He boasts the best goals-per-game ratio for the home side and if he plays a part, he could make the difference.

Key Stat: LA Galaxy have faced Real Salt Lake twice before in the MLS Cup and have been on the losing end both times:

  • 2013 – Western Conference semi-final – Real Salt Lake 2-1 LA Galaxy (aggregate score)
  • 2009 – MLS Cup Final – Real Salt Lake 1-1 LA Galaxy (Real Salt Lake won 5-4 on penalties)

Real Salt Lake’s last five: L/L/W/D/W

LA Galaxy’s last five: W/W/L/D/L

Prediction: Real Salt Lake 1 – 1 LA Galaxy