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Los Angeles Football Club vs. Real Salt Lake | 2018 Knockout Round Preview

LAFC vs. Real Salt Lake
Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs — Knockout Round

Banc of California Stadium — Los Angeles
November 1 — 10:30 pm ET

LAFC look to extend a storybook first season in Major League Soccer when they host Real Salt Lake in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs Knockout Round on Thursday night at Banc of California Stadium.

The expansion side had a chance to finish atop the Western Conference and earn a Knockout Round bye, but they fell to Sporting Kansas City, 2-1, on MLS Decision Day presented by AT&T.

Real Salt Lake, meanwhile, had to sweat out Decision Day after concluding their season a week earlier with a 3-0 loss at Portland. Mike Petke’s side, though, got the help they needed when the Houston Dynamo rallied to defeat the LA Galaxy, 3-2, securing the sixth and final berth in the postseason.

LAFC won both regular-season meetings, handing RSL one of their two losses at Rio Tinto Stadium, cruising to a 5-1 win on March 10. Diego Rossi struck fo a brace and Latif Blessing, Benny Feilhaber and Carlos Vela added one apiece after Joao Plata put the hosts in front on 20 minutes. On August 15, Christian Ramirez scored twice in a 2-0 victory at Banc of California Stadium. 


After seven points in the three games prior, LAFC ended the regular season with a 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday.

Vela leveled from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute after Seth Sinovic was sent off for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity, canceling out Roger Espinoza’s first-half golazo for the hosts. But Daniel Salloi scored the decisive goal against the run of play, combining with Khiry Shelton for the 72nd minute winner.

While LAFC are disappointed not to earn the top seed in the Western Conference and the Knockout Round bye that comes with it, they are encouraged to play the game at Banc of California Stadium, where they are 9-1-7 this season.

“I don’t think we were any good today, so actually I’m pretty angry, but I also understand its the end of the regular season and the playoffs are coming very quickly,” said head coach Bob Bradley. “The focus turns immediately towards recovery and getting ready for Salt Lake.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: GK - Quillan Roberts (right fibular fracture), M - Mark-Anthony Kaye (fractured ankle), M - James Murphy

Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3, right to left)
GK: Tyler Miller — Steven Beitashour, Danilo Silva, Walker Zimmerman, Jordan Harvey — Benny Feilhaber, Eduard Atuesta, Lee Nguyen — Carlos Vela, Adama Diomande, Diego Rossi

  • Notes: Vela scored nine left-footed goals for LAFC this season, tied for the the third-most in the league. Real Salt Lake conceded 22 left-footed goals, tied for the fourth-most of any team in the league. … LAFC lost just once at home in MLS play in 2018 (9-1-7). After their 2-0 home loss to Sporting Kansas City on August 11, LAFC scored 2-plus goals in five of their next six home games (4-0-2).

Real Salt Lake

As the odd team out on Decision Day, Real Salt Lake had to just sit back and await their fate, hoping the Dynamo upset the Galaxy at StubHub Center. It didn’t look good early, with Ola Kamara scoring a pair of goals in a three-minute span in the first half.

But after Romell Quioto pulled the Dynamo back a goal, Mauro Manotas struck for a brace in a six-minute span late in the second half to beat the Galaxy, ending their playoff hopes and securing RSL’s spot in the postseason.

“It felt good because we deserve it,” Petke said. “We deserve it. We had more wins than them, I feel we have a better team than them, we’ve played better than them so to come down to the last day, I thought it was justified in my opinion. We had done enough point-wise. We had a target of points and we got our target points. The issue is that the line raised from last year.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Tony Beltran (right knee surgery), M - Jordan Allen (knee surgery), GK - Alex Horwath (Achilles surgery), D - David Horst (Achilles surgery)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Nick Rimando — Brooks Lennon, Marcelo Silva, Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera — Kyle Beckerman, Sunny — Jefferson Savarino, Albert Rusnak, Joao Plata — Damir Kreilach

  • Notes: Real Salt Lake’s Albert Rusnak is one of 10 players this season with 50-plus chances created from open play (52), 20-plus chances created from set plays (24) and 10-plus big chances created (13). … Real Salt Lake allowed an average of 2.0 goals per league road game in 2018, tied for their second-highest average in a season since 2010.

All-Time Series (Regular Season)

  • LAFC were victorious in both regular-season contests, winning 5-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 10 and 2-0 at Banc of California Stadium on August 15.


Referee: Mark Geiger
Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson, Logan Brown
Fourth Official: Baldomero Toledo
VAR: Kevin Stott

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Season Stats

Los Angeles Football ClubReal Salt Lake
34Games Played34
52Goals Conceded58
204Shots on Target198
361Fouls committed373
449Fouls suffered374

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