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Scouting Report: How do FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake match up?

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Dallas couldn’t be playing RSL at a better time.

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake are coming off of a demoralizing 5-1 defeat to the Dynamo. RSL will travel north from Houston to play take on FCD at Toyota Stadium Saturday night.

Timing

If you read our Quick Burn this week, then you know that there is no consensus on whether Dallas fans should be freaking out right now. If you are freaking out right now, this is a great game to help you regain your senses. RSL look like one of the worst teams in the west and we have to thank Houston for knocking them around earlier this week. RSL are down, as are FCD, but now is a great game for Dallas to regain confidence.

Potential RSL Lineup

They played on Wednesday and they aren’t going to be expecting to get three points away against Dallas, or probably even one point with the way they’ve been playing. They’re also missing four players to the U20 world cup.

Key Match-Up

With Walker Zimmerman out 4-6 weeks and Matt Hedges on national team duty someone is going to have to step up in the Dallas back line and it sounds like it’s Atiba Harris. He should slide in and partner with Hume this week. Atiba looked capable last week when he was subbed in, but without Hedges this should be a challenge for the right back. RSL certainly aren’t the offensive power house that Houston or Chicago are so it should be more manageable for Atiba this week than it was for Hume against Chicago. Atiba is now being asked to be the leader of the back line without Hedges, instead of just being his partner. We’ll really get a chance to see what Atiba and Hume are made of this week. They have some big shoes to fill against a heating up Joao Plata.

Keys to Success

Unleash Mauro

Are you ready boys? Mauro’s first start of the season (hopefully). I wouldn’t expect fireworks early after he looked slightly hesitant in his first game back. But this game will mark a return to the 4-2-3-1 and hopefully FCD can look as menacing as they did when they hit their stride last year.

RSL must play aggressively

RSL looked apathetic last game. Their effort has to improve if they don’t want to get their coach fired (unless they do want Mike Petke out). To stop their slide they have to rally back this game and show a sense of pride. This game could easily end as bad as their last outing if they don’t find some heart on the plane from Houston to Dallas.