RSL plays L.A. for position in playoffs

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Real Salt Lake aims to end L.A. Galaxy’s seven game win streak this Saturday at the Home Depot Center. This is the third time these two teams have played this season. The first encountered was a win for RSL at L.A. 3-1 and the second was a win for L.A. 3-2 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

As it currently stands in the Western Conference, Real Salt Lake is second and L.A. is third. The top three teams of the conference advance to the playoffs and the fourth becomes a wildcard where they are entered into a one-game elimination round with fifth place. With only three games left until the playoffs, maintaing one of the top three positions is crucial.

Fabian Espindola and Real Salt Lake face off with the L.A. Galaxy on Saturday

“These last three games are hugely important for us,” Tony Beltran, defender for RSL, said. “We want to fight for the second or third place spot to avoid the wildcard.”

Although RSL is in a great position in the conference, their standings can quickly change.

“Right now everyone is so close in the table it doesn’t really matter if your second or fourth,” Nat Borchers, defender for RSL, said. “You have to be aware of what’s happening and fight for a playoff spot.”

The fight will be difficult, because L.A. has a large fan base and key players.

“It going to be tough at L.A. because there is a lot of energy in that stadium,” Borchers said. “They have one of the best striker tandems in the league, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan.”

These two striker tandems could pose a problem for RSL; however, last week’s game against Chivas may give RSL the boost they need to come away with a win.

The match last week ended with a 4-0 victory for RSL, three goals from Alvaro Saborio and three assists from Fabian Espindola.

“It was a great offensive outburst from us,” Beltran said. “We need to keep focusing on what got us our recent success and keep playing good soccer.”

Depending on RSL’s placement at the start of the playoffs, this may not be the last match against L.A.

“There’s a huge possibility that we might see them in the first round of the playoffs,” Beltran said.

Real Salt Lake will play L.A. at 7 p.m. on Saturday. It will be broadcasted live on NBC Sports channel.

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