Win or lose, Real Salt Lake has really tried to remain even keeled this season. With upwards of 45 matches on the docket, coach Jason Kreis has stressed the importance of not getting too high or too low based on results.
Following back-to-back road losses to two of the best teams in MLS, it might not necessarily be a bad thing for RSL to play with a bit of a chip on its shoulder Wednesday night in Dallas.
"I hope that we maintain an even keel, but I also hope we still feel a little bit of disappointment and a little bit of anger in ourselves," said Kreis. "Trying to stay even keeled is just not as easy as I think everybody thinks it is, it's certainly not as easy as I thought it was.
"It's easier to stay even keeled when you win. When you lose, I'm a competitor and I just don't take well to that."
Coming off losses at Kansas City and San Jose on consecutive weekends, a midweek game at Dallas with temperatures expected to be in the 90s isn't exactly what Real Salt Lake needs. In its brief eight-year history, RSL has never won in Dallas in 11 tries over all competitions. It's only draw was a 0-0 result last year.
Considering how last weekend's match unfolded, the players would be thrilled with a similar scoreless draw on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. (Ch. 30).
"On the road, you have to look for results. A scoreless draw would be very favorable to us and it would be good for our confidence defensively," said defender Nat Borchers.
RSL's center back said it's important not to concede anything early to a good team like FC Dallas. More than anything though, he wants RSL to settle in and play its brand of soccer.
"We've got to see if we can get that possession game going, keep the ball away from them, possess in their end of the field and create chances. If we can do that I think we're going to have some success," said Borchers.
Consistent possession wasn't RSL's strong point in Kansas City, and then last weekend at San Jose two red cards spoiled any hope for attack consistency.
Will Johnson said discipline is another key to surviving the Dallas heat and getting a result.
"We've got to be more disciplined, cut out the individual errors, and then I think we'll be just fine no matter if we're playing in Dallas or Montreal or wherever we play on the road," he said.
Real Salt Lake can't afford to have anybody lose their marks on corner kicks like Alvaro Saborio did in Kansas City, or have anyone go into a challenge two-footed with studs up like Fabian Espindola did in San Jose.
Regardless of what's happened the past two weeks, Johnson said it's important to only look forward.
"You just hope those things even themselves out throughout the year, that's the only thing you can do. If you let that beat you up, you'll be beating yourself up all year long cause I'm sure that won't be the last time we fault into tough circumstances, by our own admission or by somebody else's doing," said Johnson.
Following Wednesday's match, Real Salt Lake continues its busy three-game stretch in eight days when it hosts Toronto FC at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night. Toronto doesn't have a win or tie all year, so if history repeats itself in Dallas, it's unlikely that a four-game losing streak is in RSL's future.
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