RSL look to improve playoff positioning, host Dallas FC

Sep 16, 2023; San Jose, California, USA; Real Salt Lake defender Andrew Brody (center) attempts a shot against the San Jose Earthquakes during the first half at PayPal Park. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake will kick off a critical two-match home swing that could determine their postseason fortunes when they face FC Dallas in Sandy, Utah, on Wednesday night.

Salt Lake (11-10-7, 40 points) finds itself facing a must-win scenario after a recent slide. Only eight points separate second-place LAFC from 11th-place Dallas in the Western Conference. RSL are in sixth, but they can move inside the top four by protecting their home turf against Dallas on Wednesday and Vancouver on Saturday.

“There’s just a couple points that separate the top from the bottom,” Salt Lake coach Pablo Mastroeni said. “We’ve got to take advantage of home, and we’ve got to win these games.”

Winning hasn’t come easy for Real Salt Lake in recent weeks. The club has lost three of its last four matches, getting outscored 7-2 in those setbacks. Losing Pablo Ruiz to a knee injury has robbed RSL of the offensive punch they had during June and July, and Danny Musovski has also been away from the club in a contract dispute, further limiting scoring options.

Cristian Arango accounted for the only goals over Salt Lake’s three recent losses.

Dallas (9-10-8, 35 points) is in an even more desperate position after Seattle forced a 1-1 draw on Saturday. It was the second consecutive home draw for Dallas FC.

The Sounders scored early in the second half to negate a 14th-minute goal from Jader Obrian. Dallas struggled to create chances after halftime, putting little pressure on the attacking third.

“I’ll have to analyze the details of the game because we were a completely different team in the second half,” Dallas FC coach Nico Estevez said. “There was a lack of quality and connection.”

Earning points in Utah will be a challenge, as Dallas hasn’t won on the road since May 13 and is just 2-7-4 away from home this season.

–Field Level Media

Mentioned in this article:

More About: