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Real Salt Lake vs FC Dallas: What We’re Watching

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A struggling RSL host the last undefeated team in MLS.

MLS: FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend’s match will see Real Salt Lake host a very good FC Dallas. This game will surely be an emotional one, as a club legend returns, but is on the other side of the ball. Our team is injured as ever, however, fewer players are listed as Out and are moving into the Questionable column. We’ve even seen a few coming off the injured list entirely. The focus of this week seems to be less about tactics and more about relationships.

Javier Morales

I know everyone has already had something to say on this, so I don’t expect to add anything new. Javi returns to Rio Tinto, and for the first time ever, he will not be in a Real jersey. It’s the main thing I’m thinking about ahead of this match, besides wondering if we can break Dallas’ undefeated streak. There are so many unknowns here. His departure from the club was so bizarre. We don’t know if he’ll start, but I imagine he’ll gets some minutes. I am excited to see how he plays, but what is more interesting will be his posture and the RSL faithful’s response to him. I hope Javi gets major applause. I don’t want him to score, but if he does, I wonder what his reaction will be.

Plata

It’s been an odd week for Plata. He missed a flight and was late to training earlier in the week, so was relegated to running on the sideline for that day. Head coach Mike Petke had no problem discussing the issue. Plata also seems to have missed the organization picture that featured the first team, Monarchs, head coaches, and owner Dell Loy Hansen. He only has one assist and no goals so far this season. It’s hard to tell if things are strained between Plata and the club or if this has just been a rough start and a missed flight. His attitude at the match might provide some insight.

The Backline

We’ve seen some consistency up front and in the mid field, but the back line feels like a revolving door. Justin Schmidt is back from injury, Maund played in part of the last Monarchs match, so we could see them as the central backs, but Schuler is suspended for this match. Glad is still injured and it seems unlikely he’ll see the field before the U20 World Cup. Acosta is likely to start in right back, and I hope that one day we actually see him play as a left back in an RSL shirt. With Phillips, that’s not likely to happen too soon. Beltran is listed as questionable. If we’re going to win matches, we need to get healthy and gel as a defensive line.