Greg Vanney has warned his LA Galaxy players they cannot afford to be “casual” if they are to avoid successive losses when they head to Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.
The Galaxy produced arguably their worst display of 2021 at the weekend as they squandered an early lead to lose 2-1 against lowly Vancouver Whitecaps at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Vanney accepts his side underestimated the Caps – who had gone eight games without a win – and will be out to avoid a repeat against an RSL side sitting just outside the playoffs.
“I thought we got casual against Vancouver because we thought the game was going to be easier than it ultimately was, which cost us,” Vanney said.
The Galaxy will have had six days to acclimatise to both the weather and temperature in Salt Lake by the time Wednesday’s game comes around.
“Over time, at altitude, in the heat, we hadn’t played in 10 days, keep turning over the ball… those kinds of things turn against you over time,” Vanney added of Saturday’s setback.
“All the little mistakes and losses in possession where we get bullied off the ball or just lose things… Again, those things cost you over 90 minutes.”
Real Salt Lake lost 2-1 to Los Angeles FC last time out and have won just one of their last five games, leaving them five points off the Western Conference playoffs.
Only three teams in the division have lost fewer games than RSL this term, however, and Freddy Juarez’s side were boosted this week with news that forward Rubio Rubin has penned a four-year contract extension.
“I’m happy for Rubio,” head coach Freddy Juarez said. “With his quality of play, I think it’s deserved.
“Not only did we get a good soccer player locked up for a few years, but we get a good human being that can continue to lead the culture in the right direction.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Real Salt Lake – Rubio Rubin
Since joining RSL on an initial loan basis in January, Rubin has chipped in with four goals and two assists in 12 appearances – albeit each of those goal involvements coming in his first five outings. He has started in 11 of his side’s 12 matches this term, totaling 955 minutes on the field, and tying the forward down to a long-term deal will be considered a huge coup.
LA Galaxy – Rayan Raveloson
While the Galaxy suffered disappointment last time out with defeat to the Whitecaps, there was a big positive to come out of the game as Raveloson converted Victor Vazquez’s cross to make it two goals in three games since joining. Madagascar international Raveloson, who arrived from French side Troyes, will make himself an instant fan favorite if he can register for a third match running.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Both sides have kept just one clean sheet in the last 12 meetings between them (including playoffs) dating back to the start of the 2016 season. There has been an average of 4.3 goals scored per match in that time (52 total goals).
– Real Salt Lake’s 2-1 defeat to Los Angeles FC on Saturday was just their fourth defeat of the season. All four of RSL’s losses in 2021 have come by one-goal margins, including two against LAFC.
– The Galaxy are the only team in MLS that has not played a draw this season (13 games). Los Angeles has not drawn any of its last 14 matches dating back to the end of last season, the club’s second-longest streak in the post-shootout era (since 2000) after a 17-match run from April to August 2019.
– Aaron Herrera scored his first MLS goal in his 83rd appearance for Real Salt Lake, doing so against LAFC on Saturday. Only Tony Beltran (254 games) and Chris Wingert (89 games) played more games in an RSL shirt before scoring their first goal for the club (including playoffs).
– The Galaxy are the only team in MLS that has not conceded a goal in the opening 15 minutes of a match this season. Real Salt Lake are one of five teams to allow just one goal in the opening quarter of an hour this season.