RSL aims to rebound vs. FC Dallas (Jun 03, 2017)
Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas will meet for the second time in less than a month on Saturday at Toyota Stadium in the north Dallas suburb of Frisco and things have sure changed for both sides since the last time they squared off.
Back on May 6 in Salt Lake City, Dallas was the league's top team and ran through RSL, winning 3-0 to extend its unbeaten streak to nine matches. But that was FC Dallas last victory, and it is currently mired in a four-match winless streak that has produced two losses and two draws, the latest of which was a 0-0 defensive battle against Houston on Sunday.
That draw produced the fifth shutout of the season for FC Dallas (5-2-5, 20 points). Despite his team's recent winless streak, FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja coach said his charges are not pressing.
"It would be great to get three points this week against Real Salt Lake, but we are not concerned about the way the past month has played out," Pareja said. "We are evaluating everything and we are a team that's going to be winning again soon.
"We are creating options but we just haven't converted those option. But I'm patient and they are patient and things are going to bounce our way -- we just have to keep working."
Saturday's contest is the only MLS home match in June for FC Dallas. The team will hit the road for games at Portland, Vancouver and Houston before returning to Toyota Stadium on July 1. FC Dallas has won five of the last seven games against Real Salt Lake.
"I'm confident in our group," We haven't won in a while but we are preparing well and know things will turn," FC Dallas defender Atiba Harris said. "Salt Lake has a lot of technical players that look for shots outside the box, so we have to step up and close out their chances. If we can do that, we can find three points and get back to winning."
Real Salt Lake (4-9-12, 14 points) has two wins, both at home, and two losses since it last played Dallas. The latest setback was a debilitating 5-1 defeat at Houston on Wednesday when it surrendered three goals, including an own goal -- in the first half and never seriously challenged the Dynamo.
"Listen, I could give you cliches and I could make something really quirky up and innovative but I guess I'll just crumple it up like a piece of paper and look forward to Dallas," Real Salt Lake coach Mike Petke said after the loss to Houston. "That's really all that I can think to do. There's really not much to take from this game. Myself and the guys have some looking in the mirror to do tonight and hold ourselves accountable, for sure."
Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran called the loss at Houston "embarrassing" and had to look hard for any positives his team gained for such a dismal showing.
"The way we played in the first half is just not acceptable," Beltran said. "I don't care where we are playing or how hot it is. It's just not good enough. If there is a silver lining it's that we get another opportunity in three days. We don't have to wait a full week."
Real Salt Lake enters this weekend on a four-game road losing streak that has seen the club be outscored 13-1 in those matches. Wednesday's 5-1 loss at Houston was the eighth time in franchise history the club allowed five-plus goals in an away game.
Both FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake will be missing key players for the match due to international call-ups.
The visitors will be without Venezuelan forward Jefferson Savarino and American goalkeeper Nick Rimando for the match, with the U.S. and Venezuela scheduled to play a friendly Saturday ahead of two World Cup Qualifiers for the Americans.
Dallas will be missing Kellyn Acosta and Matt Hedges, who joined Rimando with the U.S. National Team after the draw with Houston.