FRISCO, Texas — For FC Dallas, Tuesday’s US Open Cup quarterfinal match against Real Salt Lake can’t come soon enough (9 pm ET; WATCH LIVE: FCDallas.com).
Just 72 hours after losing to RSL in Utah 2-0, FC Dallas are looking to rebound at Pizza Hut Park and advance to the Open Cup semifinals for the first time since hosting the final in 2007.
“After a loss, as a player you want to get back on the field,” defender Zach Loyd told MLSsoccer.com. “Not only to prove yourself as an individual, but as a team we want to get back there and have a good result.”
Against RSL at Rio Tinto, FC Dallas struggled to collect the ball and maintain possession. The result was a lack of scoring opportunities — and without their captain Daniel Hernandez, a lack of communication between the defense, midfield and attack.
“It’s different, but it's something that we’re adjusting to, so hopefully, it will be better,” said midfielder Eric Alexander.
The bitter after taste of defeat was something FC Dallas had not felt since June 12, a 4-1 defeat at home to Sporting Kansas City.
It also marked the first time since May 22 — against none other than Real Salt Lake — that FC Dallas went 90 minutes without tallying a goal.
While RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando wasn’t particularly active Saturday night in registering only one save, center back Jámison Olave was matching Brek Shea step for step and using his 6-foot-3, 225-pound frame to knock down the FCD attack time after time.
RSL also played without their other star center back, Nat Borchers, who sat out with a suspension.
Alexander knows that the home side will have to make changes Tuesday night.
“We just need to move the ball, really, and try not to play in the air because we aren’t as big of a team as they are,” said Alexander, who often dribbles into tight spaces to release players off the ball. “We have to keep the ball on the ground and just try to move the ball around and keep them running.”
FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman admitted Monday that at one point during Saturday’s match the possession was 75 percent in RSL’s favor, and that FCD were generating very little attack.
Manning the right back position, Loyd knows where FCD must improve.
“I think a big thing [is] we need to pressure as a unit instead of getting stressed out individually,” said Loyd. “At Salt Lake there were times when we were stretched out from our forwards to our backs, and I think it's very important that once we decide to press, that we all press instead of giving them so much time on the ball.”
Fortunately, Loyd, Alexander and the FCD attack will be playing in front of their home crowd at Pizza Hut park — a place where Real Salt Lake have only collected one point in nine previous matches.
“Being at home is always great opportunity," said Loyd, "so hopefully we can come back in this Open Cup and get a good result."
Robert Casner covers FC Dallas for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @FCDallasBeatGuy