Real Salt Lake finally earned its first-ever road point this year with a 0-0 draw at FC Dallas Sunday Night at Pizza Hut Park, and that is good news for RSL fans.
The bad news, however, is RSL was still anemic in the offensive third of the field and created only three shots on goal.
In the 83rd minute, just before two-hour rain and lightning delay, RSL looked sluggish and it seemed it would only be a matter of time before Dallas would score the game-winner. However, RSL hung on for the draw.
With the draw, RSL fell to third place in the Western Conference, one point behind Dallas.
The fact that many of the top teams in the league are showing better form lately may be even harder for RSL fans to handle.
Los Angeles Galaxy, that continues to show it can get valuable points whether it is at home or on the road, is one team that is playing better.
In its last 10 games since losing to RSL at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 26, L.A.'s only loss is to the same Dallas team that outplayed RSL for much of the match Sunday. Also, Los Angeles appears to be finding its offensive stride with an eight-goal differential during that time (15 goals, 7 allowed).
In addition to Los Angeles and FC Dallas, which is moving up the Western Conference standings, Seattle is playing better.
The Sounders, who play RSL in their next match, managed a last-minute game-winner at home on Saturday when Jeff Parke scored in the 90th minute to preserve the full three points. Seattle is 2-1-2 in its last five games, but struggled against Sporting KC, one of the worst teams in the league.
Seattle's offense hasn't been nearly as crisp as it has the past, but Freddy Montero and Nate Jaqua have caused RSL problems in previous games, so it will be a tough test for the Claret and Cobalt this weekend at Rio Tinto.
The Eastern Conference appears to be less dominant than the Western Conference with the Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls battling at the top of the table. Philadelphia seems to be moving in the right direction, while New York appears to be regressing as it struggles to maintain results and get maximum points.
RSL has played five fewer MLS games than L.A., so the Galaxy's schedule will get busier as they try to juggle the CONCACAF League later this year along with their MLS slate.
If RSL doesn’t find its confidence and offensive form, it may be difficult for it to keep pace with other teams in the standings.
Getting healthy from injuries will undoubtedly help, and RSL should still have no problem making it into the playoffs later this year if the defense can keep opponents from scoring like it has been doing all year.
Landon Walters is a history and political science major currently studying at Salt Lake Community College and is an avid sports fan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter at www.twitter.com/LandawgDew
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