Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy
2017 MLS Regular Season
Rio Tinto Stadium – Sandy, Utah
Saturday, March 18 – 9:30 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE
A pair of winless Western Conference foes will take the field at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday evening while already combatting a mix of injuries, suspensions and a general malaise brought about by underperformance relative to expectations. The beginning of 2017 has been kind to neither of the teams who were constantly at or near the top of the table for the first half of the decade.
Real Salt Lake
So the question is: Have RSL actually been all that bad? They've taken just one point from two games, but largely outplayed Toronto FC at home in Week 1 and had their share of chances on the road at Chicago in Week 2 despite playing through a host of injuries on the front and back lines. Bad luck and bad finishing have pointed the way toward this goalless start, and there should be at least some reasonable hope that this is the week things turn around.
It looks like they'll have to do so without Designated Player Joao Plata as well as regular central defenders Justen Glad, Chris Schuler and Aaron Maund. The good news is that a pair of US U-20 attackers, Brooks Lennon and Sebastian "Bofo" Saucedo, should be available and integrated, which could help boost the attack on the wings.
- Suspended: none
- Int'l duty: none
- Injury report: OUT - Joao Plata (hip contusion), Jordan Allen (right quad strain); QUESTIONABLE: Justen Glad (knee), Chris Schuler (foot), Aaron Maund (Hamstring); PROBABLE: Demar Phillips (hamstring), Chad Barrett (soreness), David Horst (knee)
Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): Nick Rimando (GK) – Tony Beltran, David Horst, Justin Schmidt, Demar Phillips – Kyle Beckerman, Sunday Stephen, Albert Rusnak; Brooks Lennon, Yura Movsisyan, Luis Silva
Notes: DP striker Yura Movsisyan has been the main culprit when it comes to RSL's profligacy in front of net... veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando was called up for the USMNT qualifiers next week. He saved a penalty kick from Sebastian Giovinco in Week 1's scoreless draw at Rio Tinto.
LA were without Jermaine Jones and Dave Romney in last week's 1-0 home loss to Portland, both lost to suspension. They return, but now they'll be without center back and captain Jelle Van Damme, who saw red against the Timbers. LA are also still missing starting forward Gyasi Zardes as well as both starting fullbacks, Ashley Cole and Robbie Rogers, thanks to lingering injuries. Joining them on the sidelines is DP attacker Giovani Dos Santos, who was subbed out vs. the Timbers.
Things, uh, aren't great right now. The silver lining could be that this is an opportunity for Homegrown attackers like Jack McBean, Jose Villarreal and Ariel Lassiter to break through, but the returns thus far haven't been great.
- Suspended: Van Damme
- Int'l duty: none
- Injury report: OUT: Robbie Rogers (ankle injury), Ashley Cole (calf strain), Gyasi Zardes (knee surgery), Giovani Dos Santos (hamstring strain)
Projected Starting XI (4-4-2): Clement Diop (GK) – Raul Garcia, Daniel Steres, Bradley Diallo, Nathan Smith – Sebastian Lletget, Jermaine Jones, Joao Pedro, Romain Alessandrini – Jose Villarreal, Jack McBean
Notes: LA eliminated RSL from the playoffs last season... Jones has started in central defense before, and could be an option there with Baggio Husidic coming into central midfield instead.
LA lead the all-time series 13-12-8. RSL, however, have a 6-3-7 record at Rio Tinto against the Galaxy.
REF: Sorin Stoica
AR1: Cameron Blanchard
AR2: Jeff Muschik
4TH: Baboucarr Jallow