SANDY, Utah – It’s just that time of the season for FC Dallas. A 1-0 loss at Real Salt Lake on Saturday was missing that extra spark to find a goal and come away with at least a draw on the road.

“We didn't have too many ideas tonight,” FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja said. “We tried to get in behind and we did a few times, but not with the characteristics or the frequency that we have been.

“We tried to be more muscles than brain and that's not us.”

FC Dallas face games in three different competitions over the final two months of the season as they attempt to hold onto first place in the Western Conference. They’re in the midst of three games in seven days after finishing a similar stretch over nine days.

And while Saturday night may not have been ideal, Pareja believes his team is ready for the stretch run and the opportunity to chase the Supporters' Shield, U.S. Open Cup championship and a place in the CONCACAF Champions League knockout rounds next spring.

“This group is generous. This group is fit. This group is ready to absorb the competition,” Pareja said. “It's not going to be easy, we knew that. It's not going to get any easier, but we'll be better.”

To try and help his team along, Pareja switched up his attackers and for the first half, moving Kellyn Acosta out wide to get him in behind the RSL defense. That lasted for 45 minutes before Pareja went looking for more ideas.

“The plan was just have him give us a little bit more range there and try to collapse Salt Lake,” Pareja said. “[In the second half], we brought Acosta into the middle in his regular position. In the end, we got what we wanted in the first half, but I can't say anything else, because we lost the game and it's hard to [say] that the game plan worked.”

FC Dallas are back in action on Wednesday against Real Estetli FC (10 pm ET) in CCL play.