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What we’re watching in RSL vs. FC Dallas

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RSL will look to bounce back after a tough loss in Houston.

MLS: FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake just suffered their worst loss of the season in a mid-week game in Houston. They now travel to Dallas to take on a team whose last win came against RSL in May. RSL is without Sunny in midfield, star goalkeeper Nick Rimando, and striker Luis Silva, plus several younger players with the U20 U.S. National Team. Can Real pull something out of this game?

Up Top

Plata was the only player to score in Wednesday’s match as well as last Saturday’s game. However, it was far from a spectacular performance from him. Since Silva is out, Yura Movsisyan is likely to start if not play a full 90. Yura still hasn’t looked great, and he hasn’t scored since the middle of April. Jefferson Savarino will be back at the Riot playing against the USMNT. We’re likely to see players such as Ricardo Velazco and Jose Hernandez get a change in the attack. Overall, the story remains the same: we need to see more from our attackers, especially our big money strikers. That or some of these promising bench players need to start banging in goals.

Luke in for Sunny

Since Sunny is out with a suspension, Luke Mulholland should be getting the start in the midfield. Sunny has started to look like his old self and he’ll be missed in the middle. Luke’s work rate is one of the best on the team, however, his passing completion is one of the worst in the league. The thing is, Luke is a skilled player but often he tries to do a little too much a little too fast, and turns the ball over. A cool, composed Luke can produce some great results and great goals. Watch to see how comfortable the English midfielder is in this match.

The Back

There’s no way around how abysmal Real’s defense looked in their last game. What makes this harder to swallow is how well they performed in the match before that. We have defenders that can play better than what we last saw. It’ll be interesting to see who gets the start at left back; I doubt it’ll be Schmidt. It might be that Rimando is the lynchpin that holds the whole backline together because we’ve suffered a great deal without him. Van Oekel is between the sticks again and we need to see the whole defense work together. Look to see who tracks back, who supports each other, and who covers their man effectively.