Real Salt Lake-Galaxy Preview
Greg Vanney says LA Galaxy have "not even scratched the surface" of what they can achieve this season as they look to close the gap at the top of the Western Conference.
The Galaxy ended a frustrating run of three games without a win with an impressive 4-1 victory at home to Portland Timbers at the weekend.
That victory, coming on the back of a 4-0 loss to FC Dallas, moved Vanney's side up to third and within four points of leaders Seattle Sounders, who have played an extra game.
With games against Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps to come before the end of the week, Vanney insists there is plenty more to come from his side.
"There have been learning curves yet we're still near the top of the league which is impressive," he said. " We've not even scratched the surface of what we are capable of doing.
"But we have to get out of the mindset of being good enough and instead get the mindset of being great. We need to be the best possible version of ourselves."
RSL make the trip to Dignity Health Sports Park on the back of a goalless draw against Houston Dynamo, though three games without defeat has moved them into the playoffs.
The Claret and Cobalt are playing the second of three road games in a week and head coach Freddy Juarez is worried about burning out his players.
"There's a potential that Galaxy could make changes, but we will also adjust," he said. "I've been pleased with the roster and how we can still have quality that allows us to rotate.
"I don't want to make a lot of changes, but we have to make sure that we manage the guys this week and for the longer term.
"We can't run these guys into the ground. We need to make sure we get the most out of the players not only on Wednesday but also in the next games."
LA Galaxy - Rayan Raveloson
Madagascar international Raveloson was on target again for the Galaxy in their win over Portland Timbers, making it four goals in his first six appearances for the club. That's good news for Vanney, who confirmed Javier Hernandez will again miss this game. Incredibly, 24-year-old midfielder Raveloson never scored more than four goals in any of his seven seasons in Ligue 2 with Troyes or Tours.
Real Salt Lake - Zac MacMath
An injury sustained by David Ochoa opened the way for MacMath to make just his second start of 2021, which he marked with a clean sheet in the stalemate with Houston Dynamo. On what was his 150th MLS appearance, the former Vancouver Whitecaps keeper made four saves, including one in the final moments of stoppage time to preserve a point for a side.
- The Galaxy have lost just one of their last 10 home matches against Real Salt Lake (W8 D1, including playoffs) dating back to July 2014. RSL scored six goals in the lone win in that time (6-2 in July 2017) but have managed just six goals in the other nine matches combined.
- LA's 4-1 win over Portland last Friday was their ninth win of the season, tied for second-most in MLS behind only New England (11).
- The Galaxy have scored and conceded 27 goals this season, putting them in the top five for most goals scored and most goals conceded in MLS in 2021.
- Real Salt Lake have kept clean sheets in back-to-back games for the first time since September 2020 against the Galaxy and Minnesota United. RSL have not gone three straight matches without allowing a goal since a four-match run in October-November 2014, a streak that also included a shutout against LA Galaxy.
- Half of the 16 goals Real Salt Lake have conceded this season have been scored in the final 15 minutes of matches, the highest percentage in MLS. RSL have failed to win three times when leading in the 75th minute or later this season (D2 L1), with only Atlanta United doing so more often (four times - D3 L1).
Updated August 3, 2021