Los Angeles FC are top of the Western Conference, and the overall MLS standings, and are going full throttle for the Supporters’ Shield.

Having already added Giorgio Chiellini and Gareth Bale to sprinkle stardust into their squad, LAFC announced Friday that they had signed Denis Bouanga as a Designated Player.

The forward, who scored nine goals in Ligue 1 last season – albeit Saint-Etienne did not avoid relegation – adds further firepower to a team that will be confident of pushing for MLS Cup success this season.

“Denis is a proven attacker in the prime of his career and is an excellent complement to our group,” said LAFC co-president and general manager John Thorrington said of the 27-year-old.

“He is a player in high demand, and we are grateful he and his family have chosen to continue his career in L.A. in order to help us achieve our ultimate goal of winning trophies.”

Saturday’s match against Real Salt Lake will come too soon for Bouanga, though LAFC’s next opponents also had a signing of their own to announce.

Bryan Oviedo, a former Everton, Sunderland and FC Copenhagen full-back, has arrived on a free transfer to bolster RSL’s options. They sit fifth in the West.

“Bryan is a left back who brings a wealth of experience and ability to our backline,” general manager Elliot Fall said in a release

“He’s a well-rounded player who is excellent on the ball and has physical attributes that will translate well to our league. In adding him to our roster, we now have one of the best groups of outside backs in MLS.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Real Salt Lake – Justin Meram

Justin Meram has contributed to five of RSL’s last seven goals (one goal, four assists). Meram has 10 goal contributions this season (three goals, seven assists), his most since recording 20 in the 2017 season.

LAFC – Carlos Vela

Bale and Bouanga may have arrived, but Carlos Vela is still arguably LAFC’s main man. The Mexican scored the winner against the Seattle Sounders last time out, taking his tally of MLS goals for the season to seven.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– LAFC has won eight of their 10 MLS meetings with Real Salt Lake (L2, including playoffs), including the last four in a row.

– RSL have never lost five straight matches to a single opponent in the club’s MLS history.

– Real Salt Lake avoided their first losing streak of the season thanks to a stoppage time goal by Jefferson Savarino to earn a 2-2 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday. Still, RSL have just one win in its last seven games (D3 L3) after winning five of its previous seven (L2).

– LAFC’s 2-1 win over Seattle on Friday night took them to 48 points through 22 games this season. The only two teams to have as many points at this stage of a season were LAFC in 2019 and the New England Revolution last season (49 each).

– LAFC have won their last two away matches, recording victories at Nashville SC and Sporting Kansas City. This is the eighth time LAFC has recorded consecutive road wins, though they’ve never won three in a row on their travels.