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Galaxy meet Real Salt Lake, each with something to prove

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The Los Angeles Galaxy are mired in a seven-match winless stretch and Real Salt Lake is coming off a crushing defeat as the two Western Conference teams tangle on Wednesday night at Sandy, Utah.

The Galaxy have dropped into fifth place in the West due to the 0-4-3 slide that includes shutout losses to Minnesota United and Austin FC in the past two games. Los Angeles (11-10-5, 38 points) has been outscored 14-7 during the slide.

“We need to keep working,” midfielder Jonathan dos Santos said after the 2-0 loss to Austin on Sunday. “This is not the end of the world. We know that we are one of the best teams in the league and I think the fans of the club, of course, deserve more.”

Real Salt Lake (10-10-6, 36 points) is in seventh place in the West — the final spot above the playoff line — but was steamrolled 6-1 by the host Portland Timbers on Saturday.

The whipping came after Real Salt Lake won three of their previous four games.

“It’s not going to be perfect every time, you are not always going to win from behind,” RSL midfielder Albert Rusnak said. “We can’t afford to go behind almost every other game and be chasing games.”

It is a crucial match with the Galaxy just two points ahead of Real Salt Lake, with Minnesota United (37) between the teams in sixth place.

There are three teams that are three points behind Real Salt Lake in a tightly bunched race — Los Angeles FC, the Vancouver Whitecaps and the San Jose Earthquakes.

Real Salt Lake was playing well before the disaster in Portland and interim coach Pablo Mastroeni is expecting a solid bounce-back performance.

“We’ve got to make sure that we get over this quickly and digest it, but more importantly look forward and think about this moment and how we can improve ourselves as a whole moving forward,” Mastroeni said.

Galaxy coach Greg Vanney has similar thoughts with his club’s victory drought now at 6 1/2 weeks.

“Are there alarm bells? For sure,” Vanney said. “Everybody feels some urgency to obviously shift the momentum to get that result that we need to keep going. But as I said to them, we keep fighting.”

Forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez leads the Galaxy with 11 goals, while midfielder Damir Kreilach paces RSL, also with 11.

–Field Level Media

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