Sandy, Utah (July 7, 2018) – Saturday night featured an intriguing matchup. A Real Salt Lake 7-1-1 home record versus a 4-2-1 FC Dallas road record. Both sides played their third game in less than 10 days as well, so conditioning would be put to the test.
FC Dallas Road Record Takes a Hit in Loss to Real Salt Lake
Oscar Pareja led his side into dangerous territory Saturday night. Real Salt Lake have been horrendous on the road, but at home, they are nearly impossible to beat. Both sides were victorious midweek and knew this matchup would be crucial.
Home Team Domination
Both teams earned a point in the first game of the season in Texas. RSL actually scored both goals that game, as Dallas forced an own goal late on to salvage that point. Since that game, both sides have been solid at home with only one loss in 19 home matches combined.
Saturday would be no exception to RSL’s home record. Granted both sides being mentally and physically exhausted from matches recently, but Dallas just looked out of it from the start.
RSL utilized what Dallas normally relies on: speed. Jefferson Savarino wreaked havoc on the Dallas defense for 90 minutes, and Corey Baird was a constant presence on the Dallas back line. RSL would dominate the wings and stretch out the Dallas defense without hesitation.
The biggest factor in this match was the midfield. Dallas started out in a 4-3-3 formation but were unable to control anything in the midfield. Pareja eventually switched things up and asserted a 4-4-2 formation, but it still fell through.
Kellyn Acosta did his best to push forward in the attack, but RSL forced numerous bad passes and took advantage. Carlos Gruezo and Victor Ulloa could not close gaps fast enough defensively and were unable to slow down RSL’s quick pass-and-move attack. Even in the 4-4-2 with Gruezo and Acosta in the middle, RSL was able to pick them apart and drag them apart to create gaps to push forward.
Positives for Dallas
Despite being outplayed Saturday, Dallas can still hold their heads high. Considering the fallout of 2017, this team has already won more games on the road than all of last year. Looking at historical data, it’s easy to see that MLS is a league dominated by home teams.
2010 was the last time we saw an FC Dallas road record with more wins than losses (4-3-8 record). On top of that, looking at data from 2010 until now, the most wins Dallas has had on the road in an MLS season is six (2011). So, considering they have nine more road games ahead of them, albeit stiff competition in most, they can definitely eclipse that six-win mark.
Both teams will look to relax and recover from a hectic week. Neither side will play until July 14th, allowing coaches and players to study and prepare for the week ahead. Dallas will host Chicago Fire while Real Salt Lake heads to Minnesota. Both sides will look to remain strong contenders in the Western Conference playoff hunt.