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FC Dallas looks to lock up a top seed against Real Salt Lake

Two FC Dallas games bookend this edition of the Hat Trick. How scandalous.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After a 2-0 victory against the Vancouver Whitecaps, it's nice to know that Canada hasn't completely stolen all of Dallas sports' dignity.

Looking Back

As our own Jason Poon put it, Wednesday's game was one of the most compete FC Dallas has played this season and I have to agree. The team played effectively both offensively and defensively and it's nice to see Ryan Hollingshead getting back into the offensive mix. Plus, that hair.

Jesse Gonzalez really hasn't had a bad game yet since coming into the starting goalkeeping role, but he had one of his best games Wednesday. He's looking very mature in the back and obviously leading the defense well. Come playoff time, Papi will have a tough choice between the current success (Gonzalez) and the seasoned keeper (Dan Kennedy). The defense shutout Vancouver in back-to-back games and Zach Loyd knows how vital those points were.

Loyd Quotable

Looking in Between

As we sit between these two games, the main topic of discussion around Dallas has been the Supporter's Shield race. Drew Epperley had a great layout of the situation surrounding it and what needs to happen for FC Dallas to bring it home, but in the end, it comes down to winning the remaining two games and hoping the Red Bull fail to win one of their final two against Chicago and Philadelphia.

On the injury landscape, it's tough to hear about Rolando Escobar's facial fracture late in Wednesday's game, but given how bad it swelled up after the impact, its hard to be surprised. He won't be back this season, so the team's bench attacking options dwindle slightly. I'm looking to see more Blas Perez as these games turn into pressure cookers.

Looking Ahead

Saturday, the team faces another one of these games that it should absolutely win, yet fans are left seriously worried that the team won't come through with full points, for good reason. Against the last place teams in each conference, FC Dallas is 0-2-2, dropping 10 possible points. Real Salt Lake isn't in last place, but FC Dallas has struggled against lesser competition in general. On the other hand, RSL is really struggling this season, maybe in ownership more than anything.

That being said, Jeff Cassar might be coaching for his life in these final two games and motived coaches often lead to motivated teams.

The lineup can go a lot of ways this weekend, but I'm hoping to see Ulloa get the start with Cirigliano and I hope that Michel can sub in for Ulloa during the final game. I think its crucial that the young Argentine can get all the minutes he can before the playoffs begin and that Ulloa gets some rest, knowing that depth is a difference maker down the stretch.