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LAFC vs. Real Salt Lake: Match Preview

The slump has to end, right?

MLS: Sporting KC at Los Angeles FC Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It has not been a good month for Los Angeles Football Club as the Black-and-Gold have gone winless in their last five in all competitions.

LAFC hasn’t won a match since a 3-2 home win against Portland Timbers on July 18 in the U.S. Open Cup.

MLS: Sporting KC at Los Angeles FC Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The skid has pushed LAFC into a tie for fourth with LA Galaxy in the Western Conference, six points back of conference-leading FC Dallas.

In their last five, LAFC has managed just seven goals — three of which came against Houston Dynamo in a shootout loss during the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. Over the span, LAFC has been outscored 14-7 and suffered their first loss at Banc of California Stadium Saturday in a 2-0 blanking at the hands of Sporting Kansas City.

Needless to say, something has to give for Bob Bradley and the gang as the defense has been lackadaisical and the offense has been less-than-consistent.

Real Salt Lake comes into Wednesday’s matchup just a point back of the Black-and-Gold after not losing their last four — of course three of those four were ties with a lone win coming against the Chicago Fire two weeks ago.

Joao Plata leads the attack for Real Salt Lake with seven goals on the season. That may not seem like much but consider Damir Kreilach has six and three other players — Albert Rusnak, Corey Baird and Luis Silva — each have five goals on the season.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Los Angeles FC
Adama Diomande has to get more active on offense for LAFC to be successful.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Comparatively, LAFC is led by Adama Diomande’s nine goals — although he has failed to score in the month of August — while Carlos Vela has eight — also no goals in August — and Diego Rossi has seven. While being one of the league leaders in goals on the season, the Black-and-Gold offense has been somewhat anemic of late. Real Salt Lake, on the other hand, has 11 fewer goals on the season with one more game on the books.

The last time these two teams played, LAFC blasted off at Rio Tinto Stadium with five goals in just the second regular-season game of the season. After that matchup, the Black-and-Gold lost just two in nine matches.

But, the turnaround of the season has seen LAFC enter a bit of a drought.

To come out of Wednesday with a win, LAFC has to find its offense again. They have to get back to the basics that helped them at the beginning of the season. And, they have to get players like Diomande and Vela more involved offensively.

On the defensive side, building a lead can help take pressure off the defense. Tyler Miller remains effective in goal, but the defensive line has failed to produce solid marking on opponents.

Real Salt Lake is not a potent scoring team and should not pose a big issue for LAFC. This could be the right time to get back on track and back in the hunt for the Western Conference title.

Prediction: LAFC 3, Real Salt Lake 1. The Black-and-Gold finally show the prowess from earlier in the season.

Where and how to watch

Where: Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif.

When: 7 pm PT, Wednesday, Aug. 15

How to watch: ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. You can also listen on ESPN 710 / KFWB 980.

What do you think? Post your comments below!