Real Salt Lake (West No. 2) will host LA Galaxy (West No. 3) in the decisive second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium. Thursday’s match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, and locally on ESPN 700 AM and 102.3 La Gran D FM/1600 AM.
Thursday’s match is the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals series between Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy. The Claret-and-Cobalt dropped the first leg of the series on Sunday, conceding early in the second half to fall 1-0 to the defending MLS Cup champions at StubHub Center in California.
Real Salt Lake must win the series’ second leg on Thursday at Rio Tinto Stadium in order to have a shot at advancing to the Western Conference Final. If the teams are tied on aggregate at the end of regulation in Thursday’s second leg, there will be two, 15-minute extra time periods. If the teams remain tied following extra time, the series will be decided by a penalty kick shootout.
RSL enters Thursday’s match relatively free of injury concerns. Midfielder Ned Grabavoy (left hamstring strain) is the only regular carrying a knock into the second leg, listed as questionable after picking up an injury in the second half of Sunday’s first leg. Forward Joao Plata and defender Lovel Palmer — both of whom missed Sunday’s first leg due to injury — are healthy and will be available for selection on Thursday.
Thursday’s second leg contest will be Real Salt Lake’s fourth-ever playoff match against LA Galaxy. The Claret-and-Cobalt is 1-2-0 all-time against the California side in postseason action. Preceding Sunday’s loss in LA, RSL beat the Galaxy in penalties in MLS Cup 2009 in Seattle and lost 3-1 to LA in the 2011 Western Conference Final in Carson, Calif.
Real Salt Lake is 10-12-6 all-time against LA Galaxy in MLS regular season and playoff action, posting a 5-3-4 all-time home record in Utah. The Claret-and-Cobalt is 1-2-2 all-time in the second leg of playoff series, advancing past those second legs on three of five occasions.
In the 2013 MLS regular season, Real Salt Lake went 1-2-0 against LA. The Galaxy took the first match between the sides, scoring two early goals to beat RSL 2-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium on April 27. The Claret-and-Cobalt took a measure of revenge in the second meeting, downing the Galaxy 3-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 8. RSL dropped the final meeting between the sides, falling victim to a hat trick from Galaxy forward Robbie Keane to lose 4-2 at LA on Aug. 17.
A limited amount of tickets are still available for Thursday’s RSL-LA Galaxy contest and can be purchased at the Rio Tinto Stadium box office, online at www.RealSaltLake.com/Tickets or over the phone at 801-727-2700.