Hernan Grana - FC Dallas

 FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake
2017 MLS Match Preview
Toyota Stadium – Frisco, Texas
Saturday, June 3 – 8 pm ET

The long summer months of the MLS season are here, and both FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake are feeling the effects of the long season in their recent outings.

After starting the MLS campaign on a nine-game unbeaten run, Dallas are winless in their last three games in league play. Their last game was a draw, a 0-0 rivalry result against the Houston Dynamo, but although the team welcomed back Mauro Diaz from his Achilles injury, they also saw defender Walker Zimmerman go down with a knee injury that will keep him out several weeks.

Meanwhile, RSL's form continues to vacillate back and forth week to week, with a 5-1 drubbing on Wednesday at the hands of the Dynamo a tough pill to swallow after a tight win at the weekend. Missing a slew of contributors makes this latest road test a big ask for a team that has won just once away from home this season.

FC Dallas

There's never a good time for Zimmerman to go down injured, but this timing was particularly bad, as central defensive partner Matt Hedges is off on US national team duty, leaving a massive question mark for Oscar Pareja. Rookie Walker Hume got his MLS debut last week in Chicago and played reasonably well, and will likely be back in the XI with Maynor Figueroa, who has played spot CB duty in the past.

But even with the necessary defensive shuffling and the absence of Kellyn Acosta, also due to USMNT duty, Dallas' attacking corps is intact, and with Diaz becoming integrated into the team again, the game could be a good boost despite the recent winless run against an RSL side that is certainly reeling at the moment.

  • Suspended: NONE
  • Int’l Duty: M - Kellyn Acosta (USA; WCQs), D - Matt Hedges (USA; WCQs)
  • Injury Report: OUT: M - Paxton Pomykal (knee surgery), D - Walker Zimmerman (left MCL strain)

Projected Starting XI (4-4-2): GK: Jesse Gonzalez – Hernan Grana, Walker Hume, Maynor Figueroa, Atiba Harris – Michael Barrios, Victor Ulloa, Carlos Gruezo, Roland Lamah – Cristian Colman, Maxi Urruti

Notes: FC Dallas have won five of the last seven games against Real Salt Lake, including a 3-0 win over RSL in Utah earlier this season (1L-1D). FC Dallas have kept clean sheets in six of the last seven meetings...FC Dallas are unbeaten at home in their last 10 matches, including last season’s playoffs (7W-3D). However, all three of those draws have come in their last four home games (1W).

Real Salt Lake

If Dallas have hit a rough patch and will be missing some key players, RSL are encountering the same issues, on a much larger scale. Their midweek stop in Houston was essentially a disaster, as they conceded a goal minutes into the game and were down two 15 minutes in. And although midweek road games are a special kind of obstacle, one where the results don't always tell the story beyond one night, this game seemed especially demoralizing.

“Tonight was an embarrassment. Everyone on the field should be embarrassed ... I don’t care how hot it is,” defender Tony Beltran said immediately after the game on Wednesday, summing up the lackluster performance for the visitors.

Add to that the six players who are missing due to international duty and the injury bug being a persistent issue for the team all season, and even facing a weakened FC Dallas side may not raise spirits.

  • Suspended: M - Sunny (Disciplinary Committee Decision)
  • Int’l Duty: F - Jefferson Savarino (VEN; Friendlies), GK - Nick Rimando (USA; WCQs), D - Danny Acosta (USA; U-20 World Cup), D - Justen Glad (USA; U-20 World Cup), F - Brooks Lennon (USA; U-20 World Cup), M - Sebastian Saucedo (USA; U-20 World Cup)
  • Injury Report: OUT: F - Chad Barrett (knee surgery); OUT: D - David Horst (knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: M - Jordan Allen (right quad strain), D - Demar Phillips (hamstring); OUT - F Luis Silva (marriage nuptials)

Projected Starting XI (4-3-3):  GK: Matt van Oekel -- Chris Wingert, Aaron Maund, Chris Schuler, Demar Phillips -- Kyle Beckerman, Luke Mulholland, Albert Rusnak -- Ricardo Velazco, Yura Movsisyan, Joao Plata

Notes: Real Salt Lake enter this weekend on a four-game road losing streak that has seen the club be outscored 13-1 in those matches. Wednesday’s 5-1 loss at Houston was the eighth time in franchise history the club allowed 5+ goals in an away game...Without Nick Rimando between the posts, Real Salt Lake are conceding 3.0 goals per game this season. With him, that number drops to 1.4.

All-Time Series

  • All-time: FC Dallas 17 wins (46 goals), Real Salt Lake 11 wins (39), 6 draws
  • At Dallas: FC Dallas 12 wins (27 goals), Real Salt Lake 1 win (10 goals), 2 draws

Referee: Nima Saghafi
Assistant Referees: Adam Garner, Jose Da Silva
Fourth Official: Alan Kelly