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The expectancy is high among the Black and Gold faithful, can the defending champions repeat last year’s success? The LAFC vs Real Salt Lake predicted lineups show the hosts at full strength and a win on Sunday night could clinch a playoff place.
The last meeting at the BMO Stadium was a 4-0 blowout in favour of LAFC, that was in this year’s Leagues Cup in August. But history hasn’t been kind on Real Salt Lake, they have lost the last six contests and conceded 18 in that run.
LAFC vs Real Salt Lake predicted lineups and news
The home team were in competitive action in midweek, they took on Liga MX side Tigres in the Copa de Campeones Final on Wednesday. It was the Monterrey-based side that took the honours, in a well-fought game that was decided on penalties, after a 0-0 draw.
Real Salt Lake had the week off, this is just their fourth road game since losing to Los Angeles in the Leagues Cup. The previous three matches have all been defeats, despite the Utahans scoring in each of those games.
Team news: LAFC
Steve Cherundolo has the luxury of a fully fit squad, something of a rarity at this stage of the MLS regular season. Although he boasts one of the leagues leading scorers, Denis Bouanga, his team are currently on a 276 minute goal drought in all competitions.
However, it is worth noting that only one of those games was at the BMO Stadium, where they have averaged an impressive 2.07 goals per game this year.
In midfield the young German, Timothy Tillman, scored at the end of El Tráfico, the club’s biggest rivalry, and he has regained his starting spot in recent weeks. That has seen Mateusz Bogusz spend more minutes on the bench, but either could start this game.
In defence Giorgio Chiellini is being used sparingly and might be rested for this game having played the full 90 minutes against Tigres. The central defensive partnership is likely to be Jesús Murillo and Aaron Long.
LAFC predicted lineup: 4-3-3
Crépeau- Hollingshead, Murillo, Long, Palacios- Tillman, Sánchez, Acosta – Bouanga, Vela, Olivera
Team news: Real Salt Lake
The visitors travel with an almost full squad, the only doubt is over Jasper Löffelsend who left the field injured in the win against Vancouver Whitecaps. Paraguayan international midfielder Braian Ojeda replaced him, and the South American is in line for his 20th start of the season.
Cristian Arango will be facing his former club, the Colombian attacker spent two season in Los Angeles and he scored five times in this fixture while at the Falcons. He has been on target for Real Salt Lake in their last two away games, and if anybody can spring a surprise at the BMO Stadium it is the 28 year old.
Real Salt Lake predicted lineup: 4-4-2
MacMath- Brody, Glad, Vera, Oviedo- Savarino, Ojeda, Palacio, Luna – Musovski, Arango
Will Denis Bouanga play today?
LAFC have been lacking goals and the best solution is to keep playing Denis Bouanga, the Gabonese striker has 14 goals so far in the regular season. He also found the net twice in the Leagues Cup meeting and the previous MLS matchup, that was a 3-0 win in Salt Lake City. In his last league match at home he netted twice against LA Galaxy to seal the derby win.
Denis Bouanga pounces on the mistake to get his brace. 😎 pic.twitter.com/DgurxsNIJ3
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 17, 2023
The only doubt as to whether Bouanga would be out of the LAFC vs Real Salt Lake predicted lineups is if Cherundolo wants to give him a rest. By October 7th they will have played eight games in just 28 days, so the technical staff have to perform a juggling act to maintain fitness ahead of the playoffs.
Tonight, it seems likely he gets the go ahead to play, but should LAFC clinch their playoff spot early we can expect him to have reduced minutes until the postseason.
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