LEHI, Utah — Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis insisted this week that hopefully revenge is on the minds of his club when they visit FC Dallas (Sunday, 7 pm ET, MatchDay Live).
It was FC Dallas, after all, who stunningly bounced RSL from the postseason last year, thanks in large part to a 2-1 win in the opening leg of the Western Conference semifinal series at Pizza Hut Park.
And considering that RSL have never in club history earned a point against FC Dallas on the road, there’s extra motivation for RSL to make a statement this time around.
"We’re going down there hopefully with a little chip on our shoulder, and something to prove,” Kreis said this week at training. “We need to improve week by week, right now in our situation.”
Added midfielder Will Johnson, “Hopefully there’s a little extra motivation for the guys. I sincerely hope so.”
Kreis did, however, play down the notion that a solid result at Pizza Hut Park will suddenly rescue RSL from their unfamiliar current predicament. They’re coming off a scoreless draw against Houston in which they clearly missed injured playmaker Javier Morales, and they need to rediscover the offensive flow that has made them one of the top teams in MLS this season.
“It’s so early in the season that we need to focus on us, and playing well and doing the things that we do best, because that’s what’s going to get us results,” he said. “The revenge factor against Dallas is not going to help us to get where we want to go over the long run.”
He also said that while RSL is clearly dealing with the loss of Morales, FCD’s loss of star playmaker David Ferreira changes the dynamic of the defending Western Conference champs.
“It’s a different look, because if you look at Ferreira and his body of work since he’s been here, the majority of the good things — the offensive things for Dallas — have come through him, and so it is a little bit of a different look,” explained Kreis. “A little bit of a different tactical shape without him.”
“I think all in all,” he added, “we’re a little bit of a different looking team as well."
Other than the long-term injury to midfielder Javier Morales, all of the injury concerns for Real Salt Lake are currently at the forward spot. The one bright spot this week is that Fabián Espíndola has returned to full training after missing the match against Houston with a hamstring injury.
Unfortunately the rest of the news for the week is not positive, as Paulo Jr. continues to sit out due to his hamstring injury. And newly acquired striker Cody Arnoux had a setback in his road to recovery. As he continues to rehab his left knee after surgery earlier this year, he managed to strain the MCL in his right knee while going through some fitness drills in training.
GM Garth Lagerwey surmised that this has put the timetable for his return back from June to July with this development.