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Real Salt Lake Preparing For Potential Season Defining Game Versus FC Dallas This Weekend

Photo courtesy: Real Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake is still sitting outside the playoff cutline despite just four games remaining on the 2020 MLS regular season.

A Well Rested RSL Expected

This Saturday, RSL hosts FC Dallas, a team that currently sits in the sixth position on the MLS standings; three points and four spots ahead of the Claret and Cobalt.

Nonetheless, RSL is well-rested following a 10-day break between matches after RSL’s home encounter versus Colorado, which was scheduled to be played last Saturday, was cancelled by the league due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the Rapids organization.

The players are fresh and manager Freddy Juarez has “nearly a full roster” available for selection. Chris Garcia remains on the injured list while Giuseppe Rossi is in the midst of requesting a second opinion on a knee injury that has sidelined him for the majority of the season.

“I thought it was good for a lot of guys to start feeling more healthy,” RSL captain Kyle Beckerman said. “We have been able to go over a lot of video this week to really prepare for Dallas, we were even able to watch a game that they played on Tuesday,” he added.

Possession Is Key For FC Dallas

FC Dallas lost 3-0 to Nashville on Tuesday evening despite controlling 58 percent of the possession and creating 11 shots. Dallas is a team that prides themselves on controlling the football and attempts to break down their opponents by combining short to intermediate passing combinations.

The defensive structure and communication from RSL will need to be at a premium if the hosts hope to pick up three points this upcoming Saturday.

“We are definitely going to have to be smart about when we decide to press,” right-back Aaron Herrera said. “They are a team that if you press and you are not together doing it then they will just play right through you. So, you definitely have to pick your times to go and if we are not able to go then we cannot force it.”

Recent Form

Real Salt Lake is coming off a very impressive victory against Portland Timbers, and have had plenty of time to bask in the glory of beating one of the best teams in the league. Whereas, FC Dallas is hoping to put the disappointing midweek loss to Nashville behind them and get back to their winning ways on the road at Rio Tinto Stadium this Saturday.

With just four games left in the regular season, time is running out for RSL to solidify themselves as an MLS Cup contender in 2020. Of those four games remaining, two of them are at home and two of them are on the road.

It is no secret that picking up results at home is a much easier task than doing so on the road, which puts added pressure on RSL to secure a victory in front of home fans this weekend. But Juarez does not believe his players need to be reminded of the importance of the FC Dallas fixture.

“Guys, if you go in there (the locker room), they (the players) know 100 percent how important this game is,” Juarez said.

Rusnak Ready

Albert Rusnak is expected to be available following a return from international duty. Rusnak will likely not be able to train with the first team prior to the match on Saturday but Juarez is not concerned stating “Rusnak is in good form.” Rusnak has missed the previous five matches for RSL while playing for Slovakia in the Nations League and EURO Qualifiers.

The return of RSL’s number 10 brings more attacking threats just as the season enters the final stretch.

Game Info

Kickoff for Saturday against FC Dallas is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

You can stream the game for free on KSLSports.com or on the KSL 5 TV app.