Friday, May 25, 2012
Preview: FC Dallas-Real Salt Lake
By ESPN.com news services
Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis will be missing a number of key players due to injuries and international call-ups.
His club is still in better shape than FC Dallas.
RSL will try to extend its home winning streak to five Saturday night when Dallas looks to end its eight-match winless stretch.
Playing for the first time since a 1-0 victory at Seattle on May 12, Real Salt Lake (8-3-2) will be without goalkeeper Nick Rimando, Alvaro Saborio, Will Johnson and Kyle Beckerman on Saturday as they're all on international duty. The club also could be missing defender Chris Wingert (hamstring) and midfielder Javier Morales (quadriceps).
Kyle Reynish is expected to make his second start of the season in goal for RSL, while midfielders Yordany Alvarez and Luis Gil and defender Chris Schuler could see plenty of minutes against Dallas.
"We want to try to rotate the team in a way that we keep a strong spine or core group of players," Kreis told RSL's official website. "We will certainly hope for the same throughout the rest of the season."
Real Salt Lake, one point back of MLS-leading San Jose, is hoping to maintain its edge at Rio Tinto Stadium, where it is 5-1-0. The club's last five-game home winning streak was May 1-June 9, 2010.
RSL is 4-0-1 at home against Dallas since Rio Tinto Stadium opened. Real Salt Lake holds a 12-4 scoring edge in those contests.
That does not bode well for an FC Dallas club that's 0-5-1 on the road in 2012. Dallas (3-7-4) joins Portland and Toronto as the only teams without a victory away from home.
Dallas doesn't have a win on any field since a 2-1 victory over expansion Montreal on April 14. A 2-1 loss in Chicago on Wednesday stretched the team's winless streak to eight, two shy of the franchise record.
"We need to get points any way we can, a win, a tie, whatever," rookie defender Matt Hedges told the Fire's official website after scoring his first MLS goal Wednesday.
If the club is going to pick up any points Saturday, it will have to do so without midfielder Brek Shea, who will complete his three-game suspension after kicking the ball at an assistant referee in a 2-1 loss to Columbus on May 12.
Shea scored on a penalty kick in first-half stoppage time in a 1-all draw against visiting RSL on April 25.
Dallas played that match without suspended striker Blas Perez, while Real Salt Lake did not have forward Fabian Espindola and defender Jamison Olave available after both were red-carded in a 3-1 loss at San Jose on April 21.
Real Salt Lake is on a season-best 3-0-2 run since ending a two-game losing streak in last month's match with Dallas.
RSL's last six-game point streak was a 3-0-4 stretch June 11-July 23.
These teams conclude the season series Aug. 18 in Utah.