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RSL seeks to make history in Dallas

Posted on 22 May 2011 by kali

Real Salt Lake has faced a series of challenges over the past few weeks — however, Sunday’s match at FC Dallas (5 pm MT, KMYU) might represent one of the biggest yet.

Not only will RSL be looking to get its goal-scoring momentum back after a disappointing 0-0 draw at home against Houston last week, but the team will be doing so in a city where it has never earned so much as a single point.  Real has lost all nine of its previous matches in Dallas, including a tough 2-1 loss in the 2010 playoffs that ultimately led to elimination.

With FCD currently sitting in second place in the Western Conference, an RSL win would prove to be tremendous as the team looks to reboot itself after a difficult few weeks.  In order to win, however, Real will need to find its attacking form once again in the wake of Javier Morales’ long-term injury and minor injuries to strikers Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio, and Paulo Junior.

Defender Nat Borchers said last week of the team’s scoring struggles, “It’s frustrating because I think that in a couple of those situations we are just so close. We are chomping at the bit right now to get goals and I think they will come. We’ve just got to keep fighting.”

Fortunately, RSL’s defense has been stellar as of late.  Central defenders Borchers and Jamison Olave, along with goalkeeper Nick Rimando, turned in excellent performances in shutting out both Houston and Chivas USA in consecutive matches.  That defensive mettle will certainly give the team confidence as it seeks to defeat a Dallas side that is unbeaten in five matches despite losing David Ferreira to injury.

Real coach Jason Kreis gave his players some extra rest this week after noting that some looked like they had run “out of gas” in the second half of the Houston match.  Injury management continues to be a concern for Kreis — although Espindola returned to training during week, Paulo Junior’s hamstring has not yet sufficiently recovered, leaving him few options at striker.  Midfielder Nelson Gonzalez made his 2011 debut last week after a slow start to the season, however, providing another option to help cope with Morales’ absence.

Despite the challenges, Kreis told MLSsoccer.com that the team should remain optimistic this early in the season.  “We need to look at the glass as half full right now, for sure,” he said.

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