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LAFC, RSL look to regain momentum

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Real Salt Lake and Los Angeles FC will meet for the second time in two weeks Saturday after both teams had a bit of momentum stunted because of the 10-day break at the start of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

LAFC (5-4-3, 18 points) earned a 1-0 victory at Real Salt Lake (4-3-4, 16) points on July 3 when Jose Cifuentes scored in the 69th minute and goalkeeper Tomas Romero made three saves to finish off the shutout.

Both teams emerged from that game to find success. LAFC followed with a 2-0 victory over Austin FC on July 7, with Romero again earning the shutout. In four career MLS starts, the 20-year-old Romero has kept a clean sheet in three of them.

“I have said over and over this year that we have not given up too many (scoring) chances in any games and the concentration and mentality in (the last) two games has been at a higher level,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “That’s how you get shutouts. It means you are eliminating as many mistakes as possible.”

It was the first time this season LAFC has earned back-to-back victories, with both coming on the road. LAFC is 3-1-2 at home this season but have not played at home since June 23 when they defeated FC Dallas 2-0.

None of those three home victories have come in succession.

Real Salt Lake came out of the defeat to LAFC to earn a solid 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 7. It was technically a road game, but it was played at Sandy, Utah, where the Whitecaps have been playing their home games because of Canadian COVID-19 restrictions.

Damir Kreilach’s two goals in the victory led to his nod as the most recent MLS player of the week. His first goal came just 43 seconds into the match when he chipped a ball over the head of Vancouver goalkeeper Thomas Hasal.

It was the third fastest goal to open a game in RSL history.

Kreilach, whose seven goals are tied for third most in MLS, helped his team end a three-game winless streak.

“I think the team has more of an understanding of what we want to do in the attack,” head coach Freddy Juarez said about his team’s better play of late, including the competitive defeat against LAFC.

“There have been great performances from the guys and good service. I think we are starting to serve the ball more than we have in the past and we are getting more numbers in there.”

–Field Level Media

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