Real Salt Lake focuses on tie — not 9 losses — in Dallas
FRISCO, Texas — Real Salt Lake's failings at FC Dallas have been well-documented — zero wins in 10 tries.
Therefore, when the teams meet tonight here in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match, Dallas should be the obvious favorite to prevail and advance to the semifinals.
Unlike the previous 10 encounters, though, tonight's match might not be so cut-and-dried. Less than 72 hours ago, RSL did well to frustrate Dallas' attack on its way to an impressive 2-0 league victory at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Even though Dallas is back home for the rematch, and the temperature at kickoff will be approaching 100 degrees, there's no telling how that stinging loss Saturday might affect the players' confidence in such a big match.
It might not be an issue at all. Despite losing in Utah, Dallas knows it is 9-0-1 all-time at home against Real Salt Lake. That lone tie did come earlier this season, a result RSL is putting a lot of stock in.
"You can look at it in the grand scheme of things, or you can try and build off the point we got last time. This is a good opportunity to take it a step further," said RSL midfielder Will Johnson.
The match kicks off at 7 p.m., and even though it won't be televised, it will be streamed live at fcdallas.com. It will also be broadcast on the radio at AM700 and AM1600.
This is the seventh meeting between the teams in the past 360 days, a series that is deadlocked at 2-2-2 with RSL clinging to a plus-one goal differential.
"We've played each other enough times over the past six months to a year to know what the other team is about," said Johnson.
In last weekend's 2-0 win, RSL enjoyed the better of the time of possession most of the night and prevented Dallas' potent attack from ever getting going. Possession will be even more important at Pizza Hut Park.
The heat and humidity is going to be unlike anything RSL's players have seen this season. Coming off just two days' rest, RSL needs to try and slow the game down as much as possible with quality possession to converse energy. Otherwise, a similar fate may unfold as it often does.
In RSL's five losses in Dallas since Jason Kreis took over as head coach in 2007, RSL has conceded the winning goal after the 81st minute on three occasions.
Some have suggested that Dallas was poised for another late winner when these teams met in May. RSL benefited, however, from a lightning delay in the 83rd minute that lasted nearly two hours. When play finally resumed, the players had plenty of energy to kill off the final seven minutes for RSL's first tie in Dallas.
"I'm pretty sure if we can just do what we did last time, I think we'll be fine," said RSL's Andy Williams.
If Real Salt Lake pulls out its first win in Dallas, it would advance to the U.S. Open Cup semifinals and would host the winner of Seattle/Los Angeles.
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