There are a lot of reasons why I like the fact that RSL is hosting the LA Galaxy on Saturday. The two clubs have a lot in common this year, none the least of which is their records (RSL: 0-3-1, LAG: 1-2-1) and the lack of goal scoring production (both tied for the league worst of 3).
While voices from either side are generally upbeat and can be heard speaking of being very close to being very good there is a distinct difference in the tone from Salt Lake then there is in LA...at least in what is being said to the press.
After last weeks overdose of Tang, RSL team members continued to uplift each other in the press. Even reserves such as Nelson Akwari showed their support to the level of it being publicly praised by several of his team mates.
On the other side of the coin there is LA who have been let their frustrations vent about their team mates to the press.
After allowing Chicago to equalized on a freekick in the 86th minute at home Landon spoke his mind about his team.
"I honestly feel like I'm on a high school team sometimes with the decisions people are making and the things people are doing. You don't go sliding into a tackle on the edge of the box against Justin Mapp. It's just stupid. You get away with that in college. You get away with that in high school because guys aren't good enough."
The following line from Landon is my favorite, and another reason why the ployoff system needs to be rethought.
"We were able to hide things a lot last year because we put together four good games at the end of the year but it doesn't hide the fact that we have some issues," (Soccer America).
Then after losing to the Crew on another late freekick Kevin Hartman let his voice be heard.
"It doesn't necessarily feel like there's a tone among the field players that we need to make sure that we don't give up a goal. I'm not sure if we're mature enough as a team yet in terms of decisions that we make and tactically how we play," (MLSnet).
Add this negative attitude inside the team with the whole Lalas-Sampson fiasco being egged on by Eric Wynalda and it spells a distracted LA Galaxy coming to Rice-Eccles Stadium, a place where RSL has shown that they can play well.
Like I said before, I'm optimistic for Saturday.