FC Dallas vs Real Salt Lake: Preview, Scouting and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

RSL is coming into this match after the shock of losing in the USOC final.

The month of October kicks off for FC Dallas as they head to the Rocky Mountains to face the Western Conference co-leaders in Real Salt Lake.

Jason Kreis' club is coming into this match after losing out on winning the 2013 US Open Cup at home on Tuesday against D.C. United. RSL lost the match 1-0 despite outshooting United 19-6 in the match.

FC Dallas Notes:

27. We're now up to 27 different lineups in 30 games. I fully expect that number to go up one more after this match.

Quick transition. Mauro Diaz has three goals and two assists in just 366 minutes of action for FC Dallas this season. He is averaging 0.74 goals per 90 minutes.

Brused. FC Dallas is once again the most fouled team in MLS. Dallas finished the 2011 season having been fouled a league‐leading 456 times. FC Dallas finished second in the league in fouls suffered last season, with 504 fouls against, just six behind the Vancouver Whitecaps FC (510). This season FC Dallas (435) is leading the way by a large margin having suffered 35 more fouls than Toronto FC (400).

Scouting Salt Lake:

Tuesday was certainly a shocking game for RSL as they lost to D.C. United. I won't get into that match all that much but there will certainly be some hangover effects for RSL in this one. Not only will it be a double-duty week for them, but the amount of energy spent late in the game to get a goal could cause issues for them at the beginning of this game.

Then again on the flip side of that Kreis and his club could come out and look to vent their frustrations from losing out on Dallas. RSL is a solid home team and typically does not lose back-to-back games at Rio Tinto Stadium.

RSL is currently tied for the lead in points in the conference and gaining three points here in this match will go a long way in getting this club a Supporters' Shield trophy, a possible consolation prize for them after not getting the US Open Cup title.

In the last game against RSL, Dallas struggled use to a lack of offense and a big time performance out of the RSL midfield. Dallas has yet to face RSL at its very best too this season. In the two previous games, Dallas did not see Alvaro Saborio up front, nor did they face Nick Rimando in goal or Kyle Beckerman in the midfield. Those three will likely make a big impact in this game for RSL at home.

RSL is a team that controls the ball well in their own attacking third of the field. They don't give up a ton of turnovers either in the midfield. Teams that have done well against them tend to hold back and wait for their chances on a counter attack.

Kreis continues to use his same 4-4-2 diamond formation. The only question will be, does he change it much from the group that lost on Tuesday.

Lineup projection:

Goalkeeper: Nick Rimando; RB: Tony Beltran, CB: Nat Borchers, Carlos Salcedo, LB: Chris Wingert; RM: Ned Grabavoy; DM: Kyle Beckerman; AM: Javier Morales; LM: Luis Gil; FW: Alvaro Saborio, Joao Plata

Keys to Three points:

Smart possession. Like I mentioned above, RSL is good on the ball, as they create some of the best chances on goal in the league. Dallas will need to be smart with the ball when they have it as RSL will put them under some pressure to turn the ball over. Teams know how easy Dallas likes to give up the ball and RSL will feed on it if Dallas isn't careful.

Spread them out. In the first game against RSL this season, Dallas got their two goals from Fabian Castillo and Jackson when they pulled RSL wide and made them defend from the wings. The speed up front in that game was too much for RSL to deal with and that is something that Dallas should take advantage of in this one as well.

Be smart going forward. One thing that has killed Dallas over the last month is the fullbacks going forward and not having proper cover from the midfield. Kellyn Acosta and Zach Loyd need to be smart in going forward, picking their runs out, and making sure that Erick or Andrew Jacobson is available to check back for them.

Prediction:

There is no easy way to put this other than the fact that I don't expect a good result out of FC Dallas in this one. They haven't proven enough this season away from Frisco that they can get the job done when they need to most. I do think Dallas will go up early on RSL due to the USOC hangover but Kreis will make better adjustments than Schellas Hyndman will and it will pay off in the end.

RSL 2, Dallas 1

More from Big D Soccer:

What are you predicting for Saturday's game? Let's hear it below.

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