MLS Regular Season
Find out how MLSsoccer.com's Matt Doyle and Nick Firchau see Saturday's Western Conference clash going. Give their Scouting Report preview a watch above
Real Salt Lake last met LA Galaxy on March 22 in its 2014 home opener at Rio Tinto Stadium, drawing 1-1 with the southern California side. But now the tables are turned and RSL will be facing the Galaxy on its home turf at StubHub Center for the second time this year. The Claret-and-Cobalt pulled off a 1-0 win in its season opener at LA on March 8. RSL will be looking to remain undefeated against the SoCal side in the regular season for just the third time in RSL history when they clash on Saturday.
The last meeting between the sides saw a beautiful half-volley scored by RSL forward Alvaro Saborio and a nice finish from LA forward Robbie Keane to top off an excellent individual effort. Saborio will be unable to do a repeat performance as he is still recovering from his foot injury, but that leaves room for one of the other Claret-and-Cobalt strikers to step up and deliver. Get pumped for tomorrow’s match by reliving RSL’s 2014 home opener.
Real Salt Lake hits the road on Saturday, taking on Western Conference rival LA Galaxy at StubHub Center at 8:30 p.m. MT. Saturday’s match will be broadcast live on CW30, ESPN 700 and 102.3 La Gran D FM.
Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of Saturday’s clash:
Real Salt Lake looks to go undefeated v. LA in 2014 regular season
Saturday’s match in California will be the third and final regular season meeting between RSL and LA Galaxy. The two sides met twice in March this year with the claret-and-Cobalt pulling off a 1-0 win in its season opener at StubHub Center on March 8, and then drawing 1-1 two weeks later at Rio Tinto Stadium. If RSL gets a positive result this weekend, it will mark only the second time in Claret-and-Cobalt history that RSL has gone undefeated in the regular season against LA.
Nick Rimando in pursuit of the all-time MLS shutout record
Real Salt Lake veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando is one clean sheet away from tying retired goalkeeper Kevin Hartman for the all-time MLS shutout record with 112. If the 35-year-old ties the record this weekend, Rimando will have as many cleans sheets as Hartman in 60-less games. Hartman achieved 112 shutouts through 416 games played; Rimando has currently played 355 MLS regular season games. The California native will likely surpass the record this year, with 17 MLS matches left to play in the 2014 regular season.
Morales and Donovan look to continue success against each other
RSL’s Javier Morales and LA’s Landon Donovan have torched each other’s teams in their MLS careers. Morales has put up five goals and eight assists in 16 career regular season games against the Galaxy. Those numbers are impressive, but Donovan has done Javi one better, registering nine goals and nine assists with LA in 20 career regular season games against RSL. Donovan’s nine goals and nine assists are the second-most against RSL of any player in MLS history in both categories.
Beckerman and Rimando remain undefeated in 2014 MLS play
RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando are still currently undefeated in MLS play in 2014. The U.S. international duo left for World Cup duty after the club’s 5-2 win at Houston Dynamo on May 11, and up until that point the Claret-and-Cobalt were still undefeated in MLS play. Upon the duo’s return to Salt Lake last Friday, RSL pulled off a 2-1 victory over New England Revolution to keep RSL undefeated in 2014 when both players are in the lineup. Beckerman’s only defeat this entire year came at the hands of Germany, in the U.S.’s 1-0 loss in the group stage of the World Cup. Even if the club is no longer undefeated (RSL went 1-3-2 in their absence) Beckerman and Rimando can still keep their individual streak alive this weekend.
Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jeff Cassar sat down with Dunny last Friday to discuss the first half of the 2014 MLS season, the Claret-and-Cobalt’s busy July schedule and the return of U.S. internationals Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando. RSL went on to snap its five-game winless run, topping New England Revolution 2-1 in front of a sold-out crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium. Hopefully, things continue to go RSL’s way as it face a difficult road match at LA Galaxy on Saturday.
Check out the mid-year review interview below:
Get a fantastic behind-the-scenes look at the return of RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando to the club last Friday. The U.S. international duo started and played the full 90 minutes in the Claret-and-Cobalt's 2-1 win over New England Revolution on July 4, just one day after returning from Brazil.
Check out the great video below:
Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman and veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando returned to Salt Lake City last Thursday just in time to help lead the Claret-and-Cobalt to a much needed 2-1 win over New England Revolution the following day. The U.S. duo started and played a full 90 minutes just 24 hours after travelling over 6,000 miles from Brazil and spending almost two months with the U.S. preparing for and participating in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The return of two of RSL’s most important players was needed as the Claret-and-Cobalt finally snapped its five-game winless streak in MLS play as it heads into its final stretch of 2014.
Before Friday’s match v. New England, Beckerman and Rimando sat down with former RSL-man Brian Dunseth to share and give some insight into their World Cup experience. Check out the must-see interviews below.
Real Salt Lake returns home on Friday, hosting Eastern Conference foe New England Revolution at Rio Tinto Stadium at 8:00 p.m. MT.
Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of Friday’s Independence Day match:
Will U.S. internationals, Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando return to the lineup?
Real Salt Lake Captain Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando returned to the Utah club today after the U.S. bowed out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday. The U.S. was knocked out of the tournament after suffering a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Belgium in extra time in its Round of 16 match.
Real Salt Lake has missed Beckerman and Rimando dearly, going 1-3-2 in MLS in their absence. The Claret-and-Cobalt also fell 2-1 at Atlanta Silverbacks in the club’s opening U.S. Open Cup match on June 14.
The duo's status is still unclear ahead of Friday's match, with both players likely struggling with the quick turnaround from Brazil. If Beckerman and Rimando don't start on Friday, a sold-out Rio Tinto Stadium will still be there to welcome home two of its greatest players.
Can RSL break its winless streak on Friday?
Real Salt Lake is now winless in its last five MLS matches, and six across all competition including the Claret-and-Cobalt’s loss in U.S. Open Cup play. RSL enters Friday’s match on a three-game losing streak across all competition, falling 3-1 at home to Portland on June 7, suffering a 2-1 defeat at Atlanta in the U.S. Open Cup on June 14 and most recently falling 1-0 at Chivas USA on June 28. RSL got off to a great start in 2014, going undefeated for its first 12 games. Hopefully, the Claret-and-Cobalt can return to its winning ways on Independence Day.
Real Salt Lake will look to improve its Independence Day record
RSL will look to improve its rather meager record in Independence Day matches on Friday. The July 4th match will be the Claret-and-Cobalt’s ninth game on the summer holiday in Utah, with RSL posting a 1-1-7 record. RSL and New England Revolution have also met before on Independence Day, playing to a 3-3 draw in 2011 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Real Salt Lake undefeated against New England since 2010
The Claret-and-Cobalt has done well against New England in the past four years, going undefeated against the Revs ever since 2010. RSL has recorded four wins and one draw in that time frame. In 2010, RSL thrashed New England 5-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium and then won 2-1 on the road later that year. The Claret-and-Cobalt went on to defeat the Revs 2-0 on the road and draw 3-3 at home the following year. In their yearly meetings in 2012 and 2013, RSL pulled off 2-1 wins in both encounters.
Real Salt Lake returns to MLS action on Saturday, taking on Chivas USA at StubHub Center at 8:30 p.m. MT.
Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of Saturday’s clash:
Can Real Salt Lake return to its winning ways?
Heading into the MLS World Cup break, the Claret-and-Cobalt hit a bit of a slump, going winless in its last four matches. Real Salt Lake played FC Dallas to a scoreless draw on May 24 at Rio Tinto Stadium, suffered its first loss of the season at Seattle Sounders FC, a 4-0 defeat on May 31, drew 1-1 at Columbus Crew on June 4 and fell 3-1 to Portland Timbers at home on June 7. With nearly a month off to regroup and reenergize, RSL should be hungry to claim three points this weekend.
Will Real Salt Lake continue its road dominance of Chivas USA?
The Claret-and-Cobalt have done well in recent years when facing Chivas USA on the road. The Utah club is currently riding a five-game win streak against The Goats when in Southern California. RSL’s last loss while visiting Chivas came on May 9, 2009, a 1-0 loss at then-named Home Depot Center. RSL has also boasted some high-scoring wins while on the road, routing Chivas USA 3-0 and 4-0 at the then Home Depot Center in 2012 and defeating the Red-and-White 4-1 in their sole meeting in SoCal in 2013.
Who will start up top against Chivas on Saturday?
Excluding RSL striker Alvaro Saborio who is out with a fractured foot, RSL boss Jeff Cassar will have a choice of healthy forwards when the Claret-and-Cobalt travel to Southern California this weekend. RSL’s leading scorer Joao Plata appears to be fully recovered from his hamstring injury along with Robbie Findley who has worked his way back from knee surgery undergone in the offseason – Findley started RSL’s U.S. Open Cup match against Atlanta Silverbacks on June 14. Cassar will also have target forward Devon Sandoval and the speedy Olmes Garcia to choose from as well. The first year coach has started five different pairings up top so far this season, with only Findley yet to earn an MLS start this year.
Real Salt Lake continues to deal with injuries
Real Salt Lake midfielder Ned Grabavoy is recovering from a strained right glute suffered in RSL’s last match before the MLS World Cup break, a 3-1 loss to Portland Timbers. If Grabavoy misses Saturday’s game, RSL midfielder Cole Grossman is likely to fill in at the bottom of the midfield diamond. Grossman subbed on for Grabavoy after he suffered the injury against Portland, which might mean RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar will roll out a similar looking lineup from that night with midfielders Luis Gil and Luke Mulholland on the outside and Argentine playmaker Javier Morales at the top of the diamond.