After a disappointing result in Seattle, Real Salt Lake turn their heads towards league-leading FC Dallas.
The Texas based side is still in with a possibility to win the first ever domestic treble in MLS by securing a berth in the U.S. Open cup final, as well as leading in Supporter’s Shield standings and looking to lock a playoff spot for MLS Cup.
However, FC Dallas did suffer a big loss before the MLS transfer window slammed shut. Colombian wide-man Fabian Castillo secured a last minute loan transfer to Turkish club Trabzonspor with a club option to make the move permanent. Though this was a big loss for FC Dallas, they have not let their results derail staying unbeaten through 3 games after Castillo’s transfer.
FC Dallas has beaten Real Salt Lake in the previous three match-ups between the sides, but RSL remains unbeaten at home during the 2016 campaign. Something will have to give come Saturday night.
Chris Seitz looks to be the man between the sticks when Dallas comes to Rio Tinto. Averaging a lowly 1.16 goals against average, many attacks find it hard to put up a crooked number against Seitz and this steady FC Dallas defense. The FC Dallas shot stopper hasn’t had to make too many saves either, only facing 72 shots in 19 games compared to league leading David Ousted facing 135 shots in 25 games. Seitz will hope the men in front of him continue to minimize scoring opportunities against the opposing attack.
The solid FC Dallas back four has been able to maintain familiarity and put together impressive results all year. Having obtained nine clean sheets on the year, FC Dallas will always be looking for a 0-0 result on the road at the very least. The stars of the defense are center backs Matt Hedges and Walker Zimmerman.
Hedges wears the captain’s armband for the Hoops from Frisco and does an excellent job of leading by example. He was able to head home an extra time equalizer versus Los Angeles Galaxy a week and a half ago in the US Open Cup semifinal.
Hedges is not the only one on the defense who has a goal tally, though: Zimmerman and right back Atiba Harris have combined for three goals of their own in MLS play. Former Honduras international Maynor Figueroa will play the left back role to round out the Dallas defense.
Even with Fabian Castillo’s departure, FC Dallas still doesn’t lack midfield creativity. Mauro Diaz is the playmaker in the middle who has supplied 10 assists in MLS play on the year, 4th among league leaders. Michael Barrios is the electric winger to look out for with Castillo gone. Getterson: The man on loan from Brazil is favorite to occupy the opposite wing position. FC Dallas manager Oscar Pareja will find himself having a selection headache he won’t mind as he chooses between two of: Carlos Gruezo, Victor Ulloa and Kellyn Acosta to hold the defensive midfield spots.
The lone man likely to lead the line for FC Dallas is Maxi Urruti. The 25 year old Argentine hasn’t scored a too many goals with seven being his season tally. But what Urruti hasn’t done in goals, he’s made up for in work rate. Urruti will press when Real Salt Lake are in possession to attempt to win the ball back quickly for his side. Tesho Akindele will probably be the man off the bench to partner or replace Urruti depending on how the game is going.