Sat, 22 Sep 2018

LAFC stays on the road to take on Real Salt Lake

Sports Xchange
09 Mar 2018, 13:38 GMT+10

A victory last weekend became a historical moment for Los Angeles FC.

With a 1-0 win over Seattle, LAFC became the first expansion team to win in its MLS debut since the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2011. It also became just the second team in the league to win its debut match on the road after the Chicago Fire did it in 1998.

Keeping the momentum going won't be easy with another tough road match on the horizon. This time, LAFC will travel to Utah to face Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

RSL came on strong toward the end of last season and traditionally enjoys one of the best home-field advantages in Major League Soccer.

Playing at altitude can be a killer for teams not used to the thin air.

"Salt Lake is like 4,000 feet, you feel it a little bit, but you have to run through it. Whenever a team has to go and play at altitude, there, Denver, Mexico City, or whatever, unless you have time to acclimate, which takes literally two weeks, you go in late," LAFC coach Bob Bradley told the team's official website.

"You'll feel it a little bit. But when you go in late, it still gives you a chance, if the mentality is right, to deal with it on the day."

One thing that could level the field for LAFC is the presence of dangerous attacking duo Diego Rossi and Carlos Vela. Rossi netted the game's lone goal against the Sounders when he blasted a shot home from just outside the 18-yard box in the 11th minute.

Both players have extensive experience for their respective national teams. Rossi has scored 10 goals in 39 appearances with Uruguay's U-17 and U-20 teams. Vela has appeared in 63 career matches with Mexico, including the 2010 World Cup, and has 18 goals.

RSL will try to ease the sting of a late draw against FC Dallas in its opener. Salt Lake settled for a 1-1 result after giving up an own goal in the 85th minute.

"It's hard to swallow that late goal," RSL coach Mike Petke told reporters after the game. "Having said that, they had their opportunities, but we did as well. Perhaps 1-1 is a fair result, but our guys, they worked hard. For a first game with a long way to go, it's a good start."

Before that happened, Salt Lake showed flashes of how dangerous it can be on both ends of the pitch.

RSL got on the board in the 25th minute when Albert Rusnak set up Joao Plata for his first goal of the season. Rusnak had 14 assists a year ago.

Salt Lake made the 1-0 lead stand until late behind clutch play from Nick Rimando. The veteran goalkeeper had five saves in the first half.

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