It’s halftime between Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy and Jason Kreis’s Real Salt Lake in the 2013 MLS Western Conference Semifinals. The Galaxy hold a precarious 1-0 advantage heading into the second leg on Thursday, Nov. 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
Goals, cards, drama and fun. This is what it’s all about. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for Thursday night’s clash between Real Salt Lake and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
1. Back to the tried-and-true for Real Salt Lake
This just in, Jason Kreis: experimentations are not going to work against the Los Angeles Galaxy. Forget the 4-5-1, it’s ineffective. The View from Avalon predicts that Real Salt Lake will go back to the 4-4-2 and make this a game worth not missing.
2. Under five saves for Jaime Penedo
Anchored by a resilient backline of Omar Gonzalez, Sean Franklin, Kofi Opare and Todd Dunivant, Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo won’t have to do a lot of saves, but he will have to make some just in case. Under five saves will be made by Penedo.
3. Robbie Keane with a goal and an assist
The Keanovan pair couldn’t have picked a better time to clean up their act than on the road against Real Salt Lake. As is always the case, Robbie Keane’s finishing will be key in this match, as well as the communication between him and Landon Donovan. Keane gets a goal and an assist for his troubles.
4. Landon Donovan with a goal and an assist
On the flip side, Landon Donovan should be able to find his scoring touch. He’s done so before against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto, and this will be more of the same. Donovan gets a goal and an assist.
5. Under five saves for Nick Rimando
Real Salt Lake’s backline of Chris Wingert, Chris Schuler, Tony Beltran and Nat Borchers acquitted themselves on Sunday night at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. and are expected to shoulder the load off of Nick Rimando. Rimando only made one save all match, and he will make under five once again on Thursday.
6. No goals or assists for Alvaro Saborio
The Galaxy did well to hold Alvaro Saborio at bay, and he is going to be held at bay once again. If Sabo doesn’t have the creative flair, it will be hard for him to put one through Jaime Penedo. There will be no goals or assists for RSL’s No. 15.
7. Luis Gil will score for Real Salt Lake
The one player that really threatened at times for Real Salt Lake was Luis Gil. He had a few shots miss wide, but he had power, and if he combines power with accuracy, you can expect Gil to give some hope to a team that has struggled to deliver in big matches at Rio Tinto.
8. No goals or assists for Javier Morales
I’m not sure what happened to Javier Morales on Sunday. Either he intentionally tanked his efforts for the second leg, or the Galaxy defense put the clamps down on him. I’ll call the bluff and say it’s the latter and suggest that the Galaxy defense will put the clamps down on Saborio and Morales in RSL’s 4-4-2.
9. At least 30 fouls and three yellows
We had a physical, tough first leg, with a few cards issued. Juninho and Rafael Garcia will have to be careful not to put themselves in a situation where they could miss the first leg of the Western Conference Final. In any case, at least 30 fouls will be whistles and three yellows will be issued.
10. Los Angeles moves on
If Los Angeles actually click with their finishing, they’re moving on to the Conference Finals. If not, the dynasty ends on Thursday. As this is a Galaxy blog, the View from Avalon called for Los Angeles to do the work.
As an aside, watch as this bold prediction crumble faster than the Kingdome in Seattle. But will it? You’ll have to find out in Thursday’s Live Blog, which begins at 4:15 p.m. PT/7:15 p.m. ET on the View from Avalon and the Fansided Network.
Los Angeles Galaxy 2, Real Salt Lake 1
Los Angeles Galaxy advance 3-1 on aggregate