Defender Tony Beltran would like to think that Real Salt Lake will enjoy a bit of an edge against FC Dallas in its quarterfinal game in the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday night, after beating the Hoops at home last weekend. But teammate Andy Williams is not so sure.
"Never," he said. "Never down there."
That's because RSL has never beaten FC Dallas on the road, and its challenge in the heat and humidity hardly diminished with the decision to leave forward Alvaro Saborio and goalkeeper Nick Rimando home from the trip.
While Rimando stayed back because of a mild ankle sprain he could return to play at Vancouver on Saturday the decision on Saborio appears to be disciplinary. The Costa Rican made a scene by stalking past the team bench and straight to the locker room while appearing to exchange words with coach Jason Kreis after Kreis subbed him off late in a 2-0 victory over the Hoops on Saturday night.
It's not known why Saborio seemed so angry; he left the stadium without speaking to reporters, and Kreis declined to comment after the game. General manager Garth Lagerwey said Monday the incident comprised "an internal matter that will be handled internally."
Even if it had Saborio and Rimando in the lineup, though, RSL would face a tall order.
The team is 0-9-1 against the Hoops in Texas, and needs to win in order to advance to the semifinals and keep alive its hopes of winning the entire tournament to claim a new berth into the CONCACAF Champions League. If RSL does reach the semis, it will play host to either the Los Angeles Galaxy or the Seattle Sounders at Rio Tinto Stadium on Aug. 30.
On its bright side, RSL will get defender Nat Borchers back from suspension the Hoops figure to have midfielder and captain Daniel Hernandez back, too, after leaving him home last weekend and it's coming off not only the victory the other night, but also its first draw ever at Pizza Hut Park on its last visit earlier this season.
Kreis said he knew that beating the Hoops at home "would be a positive statement to make, to get a little confidence" for the upcoming game. But he also said he doubted the outcome at Rio Tinto would have much effect on the return trip.
"We have a real solid opinion about how Dallas plays," he said, "and I don't think they really change it, whether they're home or away."
The Hoops remain one of the highest-scoring teams in the league, while RSL is the best defensively. Back-up goalkeeper Kyle Reynish will get the start, with Rimando sidelined. The fifth-year pro earned a shutout in his only league appearance this season, a 2-0 home victory over New England. But facing the Hoops on their home turfs figures to be another story.
"We know what kind of firepower they have," defender Chris Wingert said.
Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas
P At Pizza Hut Park, Frisco, Texas
Kickoff • Tuesday, 7 p.m. MDT
TV • None
Radio • 700 AM, 1600 AM, 106.1 FM
Records • RSL 8-3-6, FC Dallas 10-5-4
All-Time Series • FC Dallas leads, 11-6-2
Last Meeting • RSL 2, FC Dallas 0 (July 9)
About RSL • Riding a six-game unbeaten streak in league play, the team has scored 10 goals in its past four games in all competitions. … Forward Fabian Espindola leads the team with six goals. … It has never won both or lost both of its previous four back-to-back games against teams, outside the Major League Soccer playoffs. … It defeated the minor league Wilmington Hammerheads to reach the quarterfinals. … Goalkeeper Kyle Reynish is 1-1-1 all-time in U.S. Open Cup games, with five goals allowed. He will start in place of injured Nick Rimando.
About the Hoops • They're 7-2-2 at home in league play only eight goals allowed and defeated minor league Orlando City 3-2 to reach quarterfinals. … Midfielder Brek Shea has scored eight league goals and was voted into the First XI for the MLS All-Star Game. … During a 10-game home unbeaten streak against RSL, they have a 20-6 goal differential. … Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman has a 1.00 goals-against average and 49 saves in league play, but made a crucial mistake that allowed a goal by RSL last weekend.