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Saturday Aug. 22 MLS rivalry matches

MLS rivalry matches: El Trafico, Miami-Orlando and Rocky Mountain Cup

August 22, 2020 By Juan Aguerrevere
MLS wants you to grab something to snack on, sit back, relax and turn on FOX Sports App/ESPN+ to live through three rivalry matches on Saturday, Aug. 22. LAFC and LA Galaxy kick off at 6 p.m. ET, Inter Miami and Orlando City play after at 8 p.m. and long-time rivals Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake close the night at 9 p.m.

After a Friday that only saw four goals scored across four games, Major League Soccer is back with plenty to be excited for Saturday evening. 

Los Angeles FC vs LA Galaxy – 6 p.m. ET 

One of the league’s most exciting and modern soccer rivalries will kick off Saturday’s MLS action when LAFC host LA Galaxy for the eighth-ever El Trafico.  

There is a lot to play for as the series record sits even with both teams winning two games apiece and drawing three. Forty goals have been scored across seven games, meaning each game averages 5.7 goals. This might just be the most exciting derby match the MLS has to offer at this time. 

Los Angeles FC arrive as favorites after thrashing their rivals 6-2 during MLS is Back group play without 2019 MLS Landon Donovan MVP Carlos Vela. The Mexican forward is expected to return for this match and join Bradley Wright-Phillips and Diego Rossi in the LAFC’s attacking line of three.  

Rossi had an outstanding showing at the MLS is Back Tournament winning the Golden Boot award for his seven goals in five matches and the Young Player of the Tournament award. Colombian midfielder Eduard Atuesta will miss due to a right foot injury and Uruguayan Francisco Ginella is set to start for him.  

LA Galaxy is in a tough position again as Mexican stars Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Jonathan Dos Santos are still dealing with injury. Dos Santos seems to be the fittest one out of the two and is in contention for some minutes.  

The Galaxy signed Colombian winger Yonny Gonzalez from Portuguese giants Benfica on loan with targeted allocation money on Wednesday. However, it is uncertain whether the 26-year-old will get minutes against LAFC. 

The only positive for the Galaxy going into this match is that they will not have to deal with the fearful LAFC supporters at the Banc of California Stadium. 

Inter Miami vs Orlando City SC – 8 p.m. ET 

Inter Miami was supposed to play their home-opening match against LA Galaxy on March 14 in front of 18,000 South Floridians in the new Inter Miami CF Stadium. However, COVID-19 shattered all the plans and possible celebrations. Now, Miami’s first home game will be played on Saturday night against state rivals Orlando City SC in front of fan cardboard cutouts. 

This is not the way David Beckham pictured his club’s first match, but the Englishman and Sporting Director Paul McDonough have been making positive transfer moves to keep fans interested. Ex-Atlanta United center back Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez signed with Inter Miami in July, and World Cup winner Blaise Matuidi signed on a TAM contract in early August leaving a DP slot open for a world-class striker.  

Such business was much needed given Inter Miami’s 0-5 season start. A mix of lack of chemistry, quality, discipline and experience alongside the roadblocks created by the pandemic have left Inter cornered. Head Coach Diego Alonso will look to prove that his team can take down one of the league’s best-performing sides this season in Orlando City. 

As for Orlando City, they lived an exciting MLS is Back Tournament experience reaching the final. It all started with 2-1 against none other than Inter Miami in the tournament’s opening match. Luis Nani scored the decisive goal in added time to set the Lions up nicely for a long tournament run.  

Manager Oscar Pareja has worked wonders so far in his short time at the club. His side enters Saturday’s rivalry game boasting a 5W-2L-2D record. 

Colorado Rapids vs Real Salt Lake – 9 p.m. ET 

Last in Major League Soccer’s Saturday schedule is the oldest of the three rivalry matches, the Rocky Mountain derby.  

Having played their first game in 2005, the Rocky Mountain rivals have met 47 times with Real Salt Lake leading the series record 22W-16L-11D. In terms of Rocky Mountain Cup wins, RSL leads 11W-4L. Real Salt Lake also defeated Colorado 2-0 in their last meeting during the MLS is Back Tournament. 

The Colorado Rapids have been good in attack, scoring eight goals in five matches. But those goals have not been able to make up for poor defending, conceding nine goals. The Claret-and-Cobalt sit in a mid-table position with seven points. 

On the other hand, Real Salt Lake has six points after five matches. Their only win came against Colorado in Orlando. They will have to play without defender Marcelo Silva and midfielder Kyle Beckerman, who was sent off for kicking a ball at a referee after the final whistle.  

These two will meet again after just over a month to settle their differences at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. 

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