Having steadied themselves in recent weeks, Real Salt Lake welcome LAFC to Rio Tinto Stadium on Sunday evening (9:30pm ET). Can the hosts take advantage of a visiting side that continues to look shaky?
Keep reading for our full MLS game preview with RSL vs LAFC predictions and concluding picks against the betting lines from the American offshore sportsbooks and bookmakers we trust.
Salt Lake toughening up
Salt Lake were looking somewhat shaky a few weeks ago, after losing to both Colorado and Vancouver Whitecaps. However, it appears that Freddy Juarez has got his men to toughen up. Following what was a very disappointing home defeat to Vancouver, who have done anything but flourish in recent times, Claret and Cobalt recorded a pleasing home win against LA Galaxy. They went away from home and scrapped for a draw a Minnesota last time out. Four points from their last two is a good return, but what is most impressive is that they’ve kept back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since playing at the MLS Is Back tournament in July.
While the hosts have tightened up of late, LAFC continue to be in and out. One week, they look something like their old imperious selves, then the next week, they’re all over the place conceding goals for fun. Sunday’s visitors have now not won consecutive matches since March, when they followed up success in the CONCACAF Champions League with a home win against Inter Miami. It’s probably no coincidence that their inconsistency has coincided with the absence of their talismanic Carlos Vela, who scored no less than 36 goals in 33 MLS appearances last term.
LAFC have managed to win games of late, beating both Vancouver and Portland in the last three weeks or so, scoring an impressive ten goals in the process. That said, it is important to note that both of those wins have come at home. On the road is where their problems lie. LAFC have now gone four traveling matches without tasting victory. Not only have they failed to collect three points during that time, but they’ve picked up a grand total of zero, losing each of their four away games since the resumption of the regular campaign.
In addition to collecting no points away from home, Bob Bradley’s have scored just a single goal, failing to score in any of their last three on the road. To make matters worse, they’ve conceded three goals in each of those three, shipping a total of 12 traveling goals since regular-season play got back under way.
Uplifting recent result
This isn’t the first time that the pair have met since the MLS Is Back Tournament concluded. A little under a month ago, Real Salt Lake defeated LAFC by three goals to nil at this venue. On that occasion, both teams looked to attack, but it was the hosts who showed their superiority in terms of end-product.
The score-line on that occasion probably wasn’t the truest reflection of the overall balance of play, though if we look at what each team created, it’s still easy to see that Real Salt Lake were the better side, as they created 1.9 expected goals, while LAFC posted a total of 1.3.
Hosts deserve more respect
The betting ahead of this match has the visiting side as the favorites, which based on what we’ve seen of late, seems a little excessive. Make no mistake about it, LAFC still have lots of quality, so much so that it would be a surprise if they were beaten by as a great of a margin as they were when they visited Rio Tinto Stadium last time. Their recent traveling efforts simply haven’t been good enough for them warrant a price of +110. Similarly, RSL look too big at +234.
Support the hosts
Those looking for a value play ahead of this fixture will be hard pushed to do better than the home win at the current odds. The consensus seems to be that LAFC will awake from their traveling slumber at some point, but their recent exploits cannot be ignored. Not only have they lost with regularity away from home, but they’ve started to get outplayed too. Last time out in Seattle, they created just 0.8 expected goals and conceded 2.4. They were also bettered in terms of expected goals when they visited Seattle prior to their disappointing effort at this venue last month. Such facts don’t exactly bode well for the visitors, while the hosts come here off the back of a strong performance at home last time out, where they not only scored twice and kept a clean sheet, but allowed LAFC’s city rivals just 0.5 expected goals.
All in all, there is plenty to like about the home win at what appear to be very generous odds. LAFC’s away form is a big problem, while they remain without not just their best player but one of the best in MLS.
So the culmination of this preview’s analysis and our Real Salt Lake vs LAFC predictions, is to get involved with this pick:
- Take Real Salt Lake to win on the moneyline @ best odds of +234 with BetOnline.