RSL looking to thrive against playoff-desperate FC Dallas

USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake will try to right their course tonight after recent falterings have seen their league position slip and a cup final ceded.

Their opponents, FC Dallas, are trying to right their own course - or to at least set out on a new one as they make one final stab at a playoff opportunity.

And we're trying to make one final stab at the Supporters Shield. That's the long and the short of it: If everything goes our way around the league, and we win, we could end the regular season with silverware. It would go some way toward mending the broken hearts of the US Open Cup - and surely then some.

But after Tuesday, Jason Kreis is looking at the lineup with eyes toward solidifying something moving in to the playoffs. If our starting XI is to change, today is the day to do it. But he's a strong believer in rewarding players in training, and that's got to make things difficult. Is he simply looking to motivate at a time like this, or is he really thinking about changing the lineup significantly? It's the million-dollar question.

I'd put my money on something not radically changed, but a new defensive pairing - perhaps McDonald and Schuler - and the re-introduction of Robbie Findley to the forward pairing.

Tactically, there's little reason to think we'd abandon our strategies now, but it remains the case that we have a weak point that less adventuresome sides are imminently capable of exploiting.

FC Dallas come with their own sets of tactical nuances with which we will find ourselves tasked, and we'll need to watch out for the counterattack like we rarely have to deal with. It's something with which we can cope, but if we're not entirely focused, or if we venture too far forward, the match will be all the more difficult.

But an early goal will see the game really open up: FC Dallas will want only a win. A draw will not do, and a loss would be even worse.

And when do we thrive? When the match is open, and the opponent needs a win.

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