After securing another three points to retain an undefeated home record, Real Salt Lake set their sights to Saturday as they travel to Texas to take on FC Dallas. This will be a game of significance for both sides as they sit beside each other in second and third in the MLS Western conference standings. A road point on Saturday would see RSL leapfrog FC Dallas on goal difference.
In goal for the Frisco-based side will be former RSL draft pick Chris Seitz. After bouncing around for the first three years of his career, he found a home in Dallas in 2011. The 29 year old net-minder has secured most of the starts for Dallas this season and has only conceded 14 goals in his 12 matches played. Seitz impressed Dallas officials enough in the offseason to get the starting nod ahead of HomeGrown Player Jesse Gonzalez.
FC Dallas consists of a back-line built on physicality. The center of that physicality will be none other than their captain Matt Hedges. At 6’4 Hedges is an aerial force on set pieces on both sides of the pitch. Standing besides Hedges will be the 6’3 Walker Zimmerman. Also at 6’3 stands their right back Atiba Harris. The shortest on the defense is probably the most experienced though, the left back will be 33 year old Honduran international Maynor Figueroa. Figueroa has collected over 100 caps for his country and was a member of the Wigan Athletic squad that won the English FA Cup in 2013.
The Dallas midfield usually contains a packed midfield to support their lone striker, among the biggest threats is winger Fabian Castillo. The 24 year old Designated player has been with Dallas since 2011. The Colombian has been cap tied by his country since joining MLS and is among the best wingers in the league. His Colombian compatriot on the opposite wing is no slouch either. Michael Barrios joined last year and has contributed with five goals this season. In the playmaker role for Dallas is yet another dynamic Argentine playmaker, Mauro Diaz is cut from the same cloth as Javier Morales, Diego Valeri and Ignacio Piatti. The advantage Diaz has to the others is his age, Diaz is only 25 whereas all of his fellow countrymen are into their 30’s. The defensive midfield roles will belong to young homegrown players Kellyn Acosta and Victor Ulloa.
The lone forward will likely be an 2015 MLS Cup champion in Maxi Urruti. After playing a part for the Portland squad that won the cup last year, the Timbers declined his option for the 2016 season. FC Dallas then made him the number one pick in the 2015 Re-Entry Draft. Urruti started off with his new team in hot form as he scored three goals in his first four appearances. He has since struggled to add to his tally on the season. An alternative or additional option for FC Dallas at forward is Tesho Akindele. The 2014 MLS Rookie of the year has represented Canada internationally and is a goalscoring threat when he is on the field. Akindele is the joint-leading goalscorer on Dallas with five.