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Just two weeks after facing off in Sandy, Utah, both LAFC and Real Salt Lake will once again return to the pitch against one another.
With a narrow 1-0 away result in their favor over RSL earlier this month, LAFC are now on a two-game win streak after last week’s 2-0 victory against Austin FC.
That said, RSL’s confidence will be exceedingly high following their recent 4-0 thrashing of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The result was RSL’s largest margin of victory in an MLS match since July of 2019.
LAFC will be the undisputed favorites, but don’t count out RSL just yet — especially when you consider just how close their last meeting was.
Pick the tie for LAFC vs RSL.
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|LAFC vs Real Salt Lake Information|
|Teams||LAFC vs Real Salt|
|Location||Banc of California Stadium (Los Angeles, California)|
|Time||Saturday, July 17th at 10:30 pm ET|
|How to Watch||ESPN+|
Little by little, the battle for playoff spots in MLS’ Western Conference is beginning to tighten up and take shape.
Heading into the weekend at 6th place and with 16 points, RSL have quietly held their own after a questionable stretch earlier this month through three matches without a win.
Almost in defiant response, they smashed any lingering worries last week with an eye-catching 4-0 away win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The result was the exact boost in confidence that RSL needed, and with the victory in hand, they are now only two points behind their next opponents, LAFC.
LAFC aren’t dominating the league as many have expected, but the good news is that there is reason to believe that they could eventually turn things around.
Star winger Carlos Vela is now fully fit, they’ve only lost one of their last five games, and most importantly, they’ve started to collect valuable wins.
An improved defense is worth thanking for LAFC — which could also be said for RSL as well.
Let’s look at some numbers from Wyscout. According to the statistics database, both RSL and LAFC are outperforming the league average of 17.74 when it comes to xGA (expected goals against).
With only one goal allowed in their last four games, LAFC have been outstanding in this regard and will once again expect to hold back their opposition.
That said, RSL have also been noteworthy in their own half of the pitch.
Although LAFC have played one more game then RSL, both clubs have only allowed 12 goals each in 2021.
And if we’re looking at away matches, RSL haven’t done too bad with only five goals allowed in their four games outside of home.
Speaking of home…
Once a fortress for LAFC, Banc of California Stadium no longer seems to have the extra edge or advantage it once had.
So far in 2021, LAFC have only won half of their six matches at home.
In fact, in their last three games at the Banc, they’ve only collected one win — a 2-0 victory over the less-than-exciting FC Dallas on June 23rd.
LAFC will obviously be eager to return to their turf after going on a road trip for the last few weeks, but even in Los Angeles, three points don’t seem to be a guarantee this season.
Keeping in mind that they faced off just two weeks ago, it’s important to bring up the recent 1-0 away win for LAFC over RSL.
Following a tense standoff that went scoreless through halftime, the lone goal emerged from LAFC’s Jose Cifuentes in the 69th minute.
The shot from Cifuentes proved to be the only one on target for LAFC.
As for RSL, they looked like the better side but just couldn’t score.
Were it not for some great saves from LAFC’s Tomas Romero in net, and also a heroic goal-line clearance from Eddie Segura, RSL could have easily made it 1-1.
Nonetheless, it was close in the end, and fans should anticipate another thrilling yet low-scoring result that should end in a tie this weekend in Los Angeles.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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