FC Dallas-Real Salt Lake Preview

Real Salt Lake has been outstanding the last two years at Rio

Tinto Stadium, setting an MLS record for a home unbeaten streak

last month. FC Dallas, meanwhile, has the league’s longest

single-season unbeaten streak.

Both clubs will be trying to extend those records Saturday night

when they meet in a possible first-round playoff preview.

Just two points separate RSL (14-4-10) and FC Dallas (12-2-14),

which will likely meet in the first round of the playoffs. Dallas

defeated Salt Lake 2-0 on July 17 in a rare loss for the club. The

teams are a combined 25-2-20 since May 1.

RSL has been especially dominant at home. It’s 10-0-4 there this

year and unbeaten in 24 matches at Rio Tinto Stadium. It returns

home Saturday after a two-game road trip in which it posted a 2-1

victory over New England on Oct. 2 and a scoreless draw against New

York last Saturday. This weekend will be the team’s home

finale.

While Salt Lake is unbeaten over its last 12 games (5-0-7),

defender Robbie Russell still thinks the team could play better.

The defending MLS Cup champs have scored five goals in their last

seven games and unlikely to catch Los Angeles for the Supporters’

Shield. With two games remaining, four points separate the

teams.

“We’re a team that’s played a lot of games and done all kinds of

traveling,” Russell told RSL’s official website. “It’s great that

we’ve qualified for CONCACAF already. That gives us a little more

time to rest over this last phase. We’re a team that’s going to

start building for how we’re going to perform for the

playoffs.”

The club will be looking for a better offensive effort after

last weekend’s scoreless draw, but it’s RSL’s defense that has been

showcased all year at home. In its last five home games, Real Salt

Lake has conceded one goal.

As tough as RSL has been, it could be argued that FC Dallas

(12-2-14) has been even more so, going 10-0-9 over its last 19

games since a 1-0 loss to Los Angeles on May 20. Dallas also hasn’t

lost in its last 12 road contests, going 4-0-8.

The club set a new league mark for consecutive games without a

loss, previously set by Columbus over the 2004-05 seasons, after a

2-all draw against Colorado on Saturday. David Ferreira and Milton

Rodriguez each scored as the team also set a new single-season mark

for draws.

Jeff Cunningham entered as a substitute in the 72nd minute but

failed to score, remaining tied with DC United’s Jamie Moreno for

the most career goals in MLS with 132.

Coach Schellas Hyndman said he would like his team to be more

aggressive, concerned that they were complacent in last weekend’s

draw. Dallas was outshot 11-5 by the Rapids.

“I think they had worked so hard to get there, now that they got

there, sometimes it’s a normal thing to back off a little bit,” he

said.