Longtime rivals Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake will clash for the first time this season in Sandy, Utah, on Wednesday night, a welcome opportunity for both clubs to put some recent struggles in the rearview mirror.
Los Angeles (8-5-0, 24 points) is suddenly looking vulnerable after dropping two of its past three matches. The Galaxy play in Utah for the second time in four days after falling to the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday.
Rayan Raveloson put the Galaxy ahead 1-0 in the fifth minute. But Los Angeles, playing without Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, did not have enough offensive punch to keep up with the Whitecaps when they struck back with a pair of second-half goals. Hernandez has been sidelined with a calf injury and hasn't appeared in a match since the end of June.
His absence offered no excuses for what Galaxy coach Greg Vanney characterized as a lackadaisical effort following the early goal.
"I think our inefficiencies and our lack of intensity, sometimes on the defensive side especially, cost us over 90 minutes," Vanney said. "I thought we got casual because we thought the game was going to be easier than it ultimately (was) and it cost us."
Salt Lake (4-4-4, 16 points) has only two wins in its past 10 matches, both against Vancouver.
RSL has two persistent issues, both of which re-emerged in a 2-1 road loss to Los Angeles FC on Saturday. Salt Lake is struggling to finish scoring chances and it fades defensively over the final 15 minutes of matches.
LAFC punched in a game-winner from Carlos Vela in the 79th minute, handing Salt Lake its second loss in three matches -- both to LAFC.
"The fighting spirit was very good from the guys," RSL coach Freddy Juarez said postgame. "We were not the sharpest with the ball today."
--Field Level Media