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Match preview: Real Salt Lake vs. FC Dallas

RSL returns home to host a youth-filled FC Dallas in hopes of pulling off their second straight win at Rio Tinto Stadium.

MLS: FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a well-fought 2-1 loss in Los Angeles last week (thanks to Walker Zimmerman’s stoppage time goal), a nearly full-strength Real Salt Lake will return home to host FC Dallas with hopes of staying undefeated at home this season.

Series history

RSL has a rocky past with FC Dallas, with only 12 wins throughout 38 games in MLS regular season play against the Hoops. Dallas boasts 19 wins while both teams have shared seven draws over the years, dating back to Real Salt Lake’s debut MLS season in 2005.

In more recent match-ups, RSL has only come up with one victory in their last five meetings with Dallas, a 2-0 win last year at Rio Tinto Stadium. Aside from that, they split the other four games with two losses and two draws.

Real Salt Lake

Record: 1-2-1 (4 points)
Table: 8th place (west)
Points per game: 1.0
Most goals: Albert Rusnak (2)
Most assists: Corey Baird (1)
Clean sheets: 1
Form: DWLL

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Los Angeles FC Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, RSL may have lost last week, but they looked nothing like the team that got steamrolled by DC United just two weeks ago. In Los Angeles, they were without a huge chunk of important players — Albert Rusnak, Corey Baird, Sam Johnson, Jefferson Savarino, Marcelo Silva, Joao Plata, and Justen Glad were all absent — and still nearly came out of Banc of California Stadium with a point. They would have earned it, also, if not for Walker Zimmerman’s wild stoppage time goal from outside the box.

Last week also saw the MLS debut for some homegrown players, including Erik Holt, Tate Schmitt, and Luis Arriaga who subbed in later on in the game.

Now with Rusnak, Baird, Johnson, Savarino, and Silva all returning from international duty and suspensions, they’ll return home to face fourth-place FC Dallas and look to win their second-straight game at home this season.

Joao Plata and Justen Glad will both miss this match as well, still out with their respective injuries. That won’t stop Mike Petke from fielding a strong lineup, though, as he’ll have his pick with Damir Kreilach, Jefferson Savarino, and Sebastian Saucedo who can all play on the wings, while Marcelo Silva and Nedum Onuoha will pair up in central defense again.


OUT: Justen Glad (toe), Joao Plata (ankle), Jordan Allen (knee; out for season), Justin Portillo (red card suspension)
DOUBTFUL: Tony Beltran (knee)

Projected lineup

Rimando; Lennon, Onuoha, Silva, Herrera; Beckerman, Luiz; Savarino, Rusnak, Kreilach; Baird

FC Dallas

Record: 2-1-1 (7 points)
Table: 4th place (west)
Points per game: 1.75
Most goals: Michael Barrios (2)
Most assists: Paxton Pomykal (1), Dominique Badji (1)
Clean sheets: 1
Form: DWLW

MLS: Colorado Rapids at FC Dallas Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas is coming off a win at home against the Colorado Rapids, thanks to a late game-winning goal from defender Ryan Hollingshead. Dallas, who made some significant moves in the offseason, is under new management as they parted ways with coach Oscar Pareja after the 2018 season. Luchi Gonzalez was his replacement, and he looks to keep the tradition of “playing the kids” alive much like his predecessor.

Paxton Pomykal, a 19-year-old homegrown player who has been with FC Dallas since 2016, looks to be on track for a potential breakout year as he seems to have solidified a starting spot for the time being. He’s played in every game so far this season while starting and going the full 90 minutes in three of those games, and already has an assist to his name.

The Hoops also picked up striker Dominique Badji from Colorado to fill the void that Maxi Urruti left after Dallas sent him to Montreal in the offseason. Unfortunately for them, Badji has yet to find the back of the net through their first four games, although he has notched one assist. To add to that, Badji came up with a hamstring injury during training this past week and will have to sit out against Real Salt Lake.

Michael Barrios looks to be the main scorer for Dallas thus far, tallying two goals.


OUT: Dominique Badji (hamstring), Cristian Colman (ACL), Francis Atuahene (ruptured pectoral)

Projected lineup

Gonzalez; Cannon, Hedges, Ziegler, Hollingshead; Cerrillo, Pomykal; Barrios, Aranguiz, Ondrasek; Ferreira

Match info

When: Saturday, March 30, 2019, 7:00PM MT

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium — Sandy, UT

Weather: 52 degrees, partly cloudy

Broadcast: KMYU, KSL TV app (streaming), ESPN+ (streaming), ESPN700 (radio)

Referee: Baldomero Toledo