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image Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran battles Los Angeles Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes for a header during Sunday’s first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals. RSL must win Thursday to have a chance to advance in the playoffs Gus Ruelas/Associated Press

November 7, 2013
RSL must win Thursday’s second leg against LA

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.

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