After last week’s gritty, thrilling opening win over a Seattle Sounders team that had an extraordinarily unlucky day, everyone will be watching to see if Bob Bradley’s team can do it again.
Real Salt Lake enter the match having nearly pulled off a nifty road win of their own last week against FC Dallas, only to fall 1-1 after Marcelo Silva hit an own goal in the final minutes. RSL fans like to feed off being ignored nationally, so I’m sure all the attention LAFC got this week after winning will leave them raring to go against the visiting side. As for the actual RSL team? Mike Petke has a solid group together and they’re considered a contender this season.
What to watch for:
I wouldn’t be surprised if LAFC tried to boss possession and hold onto the ball as much as possible this week, probably more than the opening 20 minutes they managed last week. But I think RSL will make a concerted effort to do the same, as they have seen that an LAFC attack with the ball is fearsome indeed. It’s too early to really define LAFC’s playing style, but while Petke isn’t known as a possession-oriented coach or a counterattacking man, I have to think they’re going to try and prevent LAFC from getting any rhythm with the ball.
Another thing to watch for here is that I expect both teams to attack in pretty much the same way, with waves of attacking players crashing the box. Both defenses looked shaky at this approach last week, and while it worked out just fine for LAFC and RSL nearly pulled out a shutout, too, it really seems like the obvious frailty for both teams defensively. Don’t be surprised to see an energetic start, followed by the team that is fresher gaining the control of play as the game ticks by.
Finally, regarding LAFC’s squad for the match, expect basically the same group, with Aaron Kovar eligible this week after being forced to sit out last week due to the conditions of his loan. I think the starting XI will be the same as last week, with Walker Zimmerman listed as out again this week, and Eduard Atuesta still ineligible as he’s working on getting his paperwork complete. On the other hand, hopefully there won’t be a late scratch this time and Bradley will have a full 18 to work with for the game.
LAFC: Luis Lopez (OUT, leg), Walker Zimmerman (OUT, hamstring), Eduard Atuesta (OUT, paperwork), Omar Gaber (QUESTIONABLE, adductor), Calum Mallace (QUESTIONABLE, knee)
RSL: Tony Beltran (OUT, ACL), Jordan Allen (OUT, knee), Taylor Peay (OUT, knee), Adam Henley (QUESTIONABLE, hamstring), Marcelo Silva (injured in Friday training, status uncertain)
What do you think? Leave a comment below!