Sandy • The way Jeff Cassar looks at it, facing FC Dallas is a six-point outing Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium. Three points on the line between the Western Conference rivals? Try doubling that, said Real Salt Lake’s coach.
"When you can get three points against the Western Conference, it opens up the game," Cassar said after training Tuesday in Sandy.
FC Dallas at Real Salt LakeSaturday, 7:30 p.m.
TV » Ch. 4
Still-unbeaten RSL (6-0-5) currently sits in second place in the West with 23, two points shy of the league-leading Seattle Sounders. But even as FC Dallas has struggled mightily the last five weeks, going 0-4-1, the club sits third in the West, six points behind RSL.
An FC Dallas win propels them into striking distance of RSL.
"Dallas is right behind us in the table. I think we’re a lot more cognizant of that," defender Tony Beltran said while discussing RSL’s 11 consecutive matches without a loss. "Just the fact that if we get three points this weekend, us and Seattle can distance ourselves from the rest of the West."
FC Dallas plays Wednesday night at the L.A. Galaxy and heads to Utah soon after for the first meeting between the clubs in 2014. Despite its scorching start to the campaign, Dallas has cooled off significantly.
It hasn’t won since April 19 and recently snapped a four-game skid with a 1-1 draw at home with Chivas USA. Without star Mauro Diaz and perhaps leading scorer Michel, Dallas still demands respect.
"A lot of attacking speed," Beltran said. "They’re not going to put 20 passes together and play through you, but they are going to expose you if you’re not in good spots defensively when the ball turns over."
Grossman feeling comfortable
After working through his first start in Major League Soccer since July 2012, Cole Grossman is still in search of ideal game shape.
Starting at the base of RSL’s diamond midfield in place of Kyle Beckerman — off with the U.S. men’s national team in preparation for this summer’s World Cup — Grossman said he was hurting at the end of RSL’s 2-1 victory over Colorado.
The 25-year-old said he’s been biking, rowing and running on his own in search of ideal fitness while still battling a case of the shin splints.
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