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Real Salt Lake: RSL, down 12 first-teamers, limps into match at FC Dallas

Published June 2, 2017 10:06 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Two days before Mike Petke was reduced to issuing apologies to Real Salt Lake fans, ownership and its front office staff on live TV, he sat on a water cooler table on the pavement at Rio Tinto Stadium and laid out his plans for the conclusion of the team's two-game road trip in Texas.

"I'm giving them some time off because they need it — mentally and physically," Petke said.

That was before RSL was smoked in Houston, 5-1. Time off is coming — and certainly needed — as the FIFA international window gives RSL a two-week break in league play. But RSL has an opportunity to erase some of the sting from Wednesday night's loss in Houston. That would make the time off that much more relaxing.

That, however, demands a result at FC Dallas, where the club has won once in its 13 seasons in Major League Soccer. Following the loss at Houston, RSL dropped to 3-23-3 all time in Texas.

"I guess if there is a silver lining, it's we get another opportunity here in a few days," right back Tony Beltran said postgame. "[We] don't wait to have a full week."

So enters the usual storyline: RSL's struggles in heat and humidity — the forecast calls for high 80s and 80 percent humidity in Frisco, Texas — but above all else, Petke needs to see a bounce-back performance.

"Just have to man-up," he said when asked about the adverse conditions, "and no excuses."

RSL limps north across Texas down 12 first-team players.

Brooks Lennon, Justen Glad, Sebastian Saucedo and Danny Acosta are with the U.S. U-20 national team and into the U-20 World Cup quarterfinals in South Korea. Nick Rimando and Jefferson Savarino are set to face off Saturday when the U.S. men's national team and Venezuela tangle at Rio Tinto Stadium in an international friendly.

Jordan Allen, David Horst, Chad Barrett and Demar Phillips remain sidelined with injury.

Sunday Stephen is suspended due to yellow-card accumulation.

Luis Silva is getting married this weekend, an event scheduled around the Liga MX calendar before the 28-year-old forward returned to RSL from Mexican club Tigres this offseason.

RSL will have 14 available field players at FC Dallas, which is right at the league's requirement. A club can file an extreme hardship submission with the league and bring up players from its USL affiliate if it has less than 14 players available. It's guaranteed to be a bare-bones crew at Toyota Stadium.

But if there is an ideal time to head to one of the most difficult places to play in MLS, it might be this weekend. FC Dallas will be without young stars Kellyn Acosta and Matt Hedges, both of whom are with Rimando and the USMNT as they prepare for World Cup qualifying matches in the next two weeks. Hedges' center back partner, Walker Zimmerman, is sidelined for as long as two months with an MCL strain.

And soon after topping RSL 3-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 6, FC Dallas' run as the last unbeaten team in the league ended at home. FC Dallas is 0-2-2 in its past four but did see the return of star playmaker Mauro Diaz, who returned after an eight-month hiatus due to an Achilles injury.

Can RSL, thinned to the core with its slew of absences, utilize the lingering anger from the 5-1 loss in Houston to snag a result in Dallas? Or will Saturday become loss No. 15 all time in Big D?

"The Western Conference is good, and if we're not careful, we're going to be left behind," Beltran said. "We're too good of a team. We've got too good of players to be in that scenario."


Twitter: @chriskamrani —

Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas

At Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas

Kickoff • 6 p.m. Saturday


Radio • 700 AM

Records • RSL 4-9-2, FC Dallas 5-2-5

Last meeting • FC Dallas won 3-0 (at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 6)

About FC Dallas • After its 5-0-3 unbeaten start to 2017, FC Dallas is 0-2-2 in its last four matches. … FC Dallas will be without national-team call-ups Kellyn Acosta and Matt Hedges. … Center back Walker Zimmerman is out 4 to 6 weeks with an MCL strain. … Forward Maxi Urruti, who had two goals in the 3-0 win at RSL, leads the team in goals scored with six. … Former RSL midfielder Javier Morales has started four matches this year, but he did not see time at RSL on May 6.

About RSL • Will be down 12 first-team players due to injury, national-team duty, suspension and personal reasons. … RSL has a league-worst minus-16 goal differential entering this weekend. … Of the 29 goals conceded in 2017, 11 of them have come in the first 20 minutes of a game. … Twenty of RSL's 29 goals allowed have come on the road. … RSL is 1-14-2 all-time at FC Dallas. … Forward Joao Plata has scored in consecutive games after going the first three months of the year without a goal.






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