LA Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake: Preview and Prediction

The Western Conference summit will be at stake when LA Galaxy welcome Real Salt Lake this weekend

In a highly anticipated showdown in MLS Western Conference, LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake collide, with the top spot on the line. Currently occupying the third and first positions in the standings respectively, the home side has the opportunity to leapfrog their opponents with a victory.

Despite a recent setback in the US Open Cup, where they fell 4-2 to New Mexico United, Real Salt Lake enter this contest with momentum from an impressive MLS run. Under Pablo Mastroeni’s guidance, they boast a seven-match unbeaten streak in the league, including five wins. However, their narrow one-goal victories in the last two outings suggest room for improvement.

For a team that finished fifth in the previous season, Real Salt Lake’s strong start to the campaign is commendable. Their resilience on the road is evident, having avoided defeat in their last five MLS away fixtures.

On the other hand, LA Galaxy has undergone a remarkable transformation from their 26th-placed finish last year. Under Greg Vanney, they have amassed 19 points from their opening 11 matches, exceeding expectations. With the best attacking record in the Western Conference, they have been a force to reckon with.

However, their scoring prowess has waned slightly in recent games, suffering a 2-0 loss to Austin FC followed by a goalless draw against Seattle Sounders. Despite this, their home form has been solid, going unbeaten in their last four MLS fixtures at home with two wins and two draws. The Hard Tackle delves into the potential elevens and tactics for this highly-anticipated clash.

Team News & Tactics

LA Galaxy

LA Galaxy will be boosted by the return of Riqui Puig, who missed the Seattle Sounders game due to suspension. His comeback may result in either Diego Fagundez or Edwin Cerrillo making way to accommodate the Spaniard.

Meanwhile, Dejan Joveljic, who has been sidelined with a thigh issue for the last two matches, is hopeful of making his return to the squad for this crucial clash. A 4-3-3 formation should be the way forward given the players available for the visitors. John McCarthy should start in goal and will be protected by the back four of Miki Yamane, Maya Yoshida, Jalen Neal, and Julian Aude.

Gaston Brugman, Riqui Puig, and Edwin Cerrillo should form the central midfield trio, with Gabriel Pec and Joseph Paintsil providing the width. Miguel Berry should lead the line upfront.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): McCarthy; Yamane, Neal, Yoshida, Aude; Puig, Cerrillo, Brugman; Paintsil, Berry, Pec

Los Angeles Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake: Preview and Prediction.

Real Salt Lake

Having made an array of changes for the US Open Cup, Pablo Mastroeni will revert back to a similar Real Salt Lake side that started the 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City.

Diego Luna is likely to start on the left flank having scored in the cup tie. Meanwhile, Kevin Bonilla, Pablo Ruiz, and Marcelo Silva are all likely to remain on the sidelines through injury.

The 4-2-3-1 formation appears to be the way forward, with Zac MacMath in goal. He should be protected by the rearguard of Andrew Brody, Justen Glad, Brayan Vera, and Alexandros Katranis.

Emeka Eneli and Braian Ojeda should form the midfield defensive pivot, with the trio of Andres Gomez, Cristian Arango and Diego Luna donning the attacking roles. Anderson Julio should be the furthermost attacker on the night.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): MacMath; Brody, Glad, Vera, Katranis; Eneli, Ojeda; Gomez, Arango, Luna; Julio

Los Angeles Galaxy vs Real Salt Lake: Preview and Prediction.

Ways to Watch

Key Stats

  • LA Galaxy have failed to score in just two of their last 19 MLS matches.
  • LA Galaxy have the most potent frontline in the Western Conference, netting 21 goals so far this season.
  • Real Salt Lake have the meanest defence in the Western Conference and the joint meanest backline in the whole of MLS with just nine goals conceded.
  • LA Galaxy could go three games without scoring if they fail to find the back of the net on the night.

Player to Watch

Christian Arango

Embed from Getty Images

With nine goals and three assists in 11 games, the Colombian attacker has been at the heart of Real Salt Lake’s rise to the top of the Conference standings. Up against a LA Galaxy defence that has let in an average of 1.5 goals per game, Arango should fancy his chances.

Having only come off the bench in the losing cause against New Mexico United in the US Open Cup, Arango will be raring to go and make an impact. As long as he turns up, the visitors can rest assured hold onto top spot.


LA Galaxy 1-2 Real Salt Lake

While both sides have good attacks, the visitors’ robust defence gives them the edge in the tie. More so, Real Salt Lake will also be raring to undo their 4-2 defeat in the US Open Cup, giving them an impetus to go all pout for three points. The Hard Tackle predicts a close win for the visitors on the night.

Leave Comment


Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.