RSL gets look at first-place FC Dallas this week

By and

When Real Salt Lake (1-1-1, 4 points) takes the field at the Cotton Bowl this Saturday, the MLS expansion franchise will face the first-place team in the Western Conference. FC Dallas (2-0-1, 7 points) has a cadre of offense, including U.S. national team star Eddie Johnson (2 goals), who is rumored to be headed to English power Manchester United soon.

When FC Dallas recently acquired Guatemala international Carlos Ruiz (1 goal, 1 assist), he gave opposing coaches nightmares, as has FCD’s 4-3-3 formation. Also, FC Dallas midfielder Ronnie O’Brien is playing well of late (1 goal, 2 assists), making pinpoint passes into space for Johnson and Ruiz to chase.

MLS veteran Greg Vanney has thrived at center back for the club formerly known as the Burn. FCD goalie Scott Garlick has played every minute this season, allowing two goals and a 0.67 goals-allowed-average in three matches.

RSL has had two solid days of training as they have welcomed back several players from the injury list (Evan Whitfield, Chris Brown) and corrected some difficulties at left midfield. With ex-Rapids midfielder Seth Trembly joining the team this week, RSL believes they now have enough depth in the middle of the park to compete with anyone.

For Real Salt Lake, it will take a monumental defensive effort to earn one point, or perhaps three.

RSL center back Eddie Pope will have his hands full with Johnson and Ruiz on the prowl. The key for RSL will be to slow down FC Dallas attack, maintain possession in midfield, and wait as they did last week for good scoring chances on set pieces and long balls. If RSL midfielder Clint Mathis disrupts O’Brien’s creativity, MLS’s newest expansion team may pull a shocker in Big D.

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