With a long break for the World Cup on the horizon, both Real Salt Lake and the Los Angeles Galaxy have one final chance to add to their recent momentum.
Saturday’s match in Carson, Calif., between the two Western Conference rivals pits a pair of clubs who have been able to reverse their fortunes in recent weeks. RSL comes to Los Angeles nursing a three-game winning streak. The Galaxy (5-7-2) are unbeaten in three of their last four matches.
Improved defensive play has been a key factor in the rise for both clubs.
Salt Lake (7-6-1) has won three games in a row for the first time since 2016. In those three matches, RSL has allowed a single goal. The team shut out Seattle twice in seven days. The second clean sheet — a 2-0 result last weekend — occurred when Salt Lake did not allow a single shot on frame.
It marked the second time RSL has accomplished such a feat this season. Salt Lake also held Colorado without a shot on goal in a 3-0 win on April 21.
“It feels great, especially with not the greatest start to the season,” forward Corey Baird said. “Got a road win, two quick wins here at (home) and now we’re feeling it, feeling confident, looking forward to the next game.”
The Galaxy battled to a 1-1 draw with Portland last weekend after a particularly strong effort from goalkeeper David Bingham. Los Angeles salvaged a point after Bingham recorded nine saves. It was the third most for any MLS player in a single game so far this season.
It isn’t a fluke either. The Galaxy also earned back-to-back shutouts a couple of weeks earlier.
“David had a good game, he saved what he should have saved,” Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid said. “He came up with a couple of big saves, but you know he held on to everything else that he should have.”
Los Angeles leads the all-time series 14-13-9. Salt Lake went unbeaten in two games at the StubHub Center a season ago, winning 6-2 on July 4 and then battling to a 1-1 draw on September 30.
—Field Level Media