For the second time this season Real Salt Lake played a match following a stunning loss.
The first was when they traveled to Portland following the the heartbreaking mid-week defeat in the CONCACAF final to Monterrey.
They lost to Portland 1-0.
After just a few weeks, RSL once again is fighting to regain it's confidence and composure after suffering the loss of it's best player and play-maker Javier Morales to a needless and reckless tackle from Chivas USA player Marcos Mondaini.
A Look Back
Real Salt Lake went into week nine of the Major League Soccer Season feeling shocked, confused and a little bit lost.
After losing Javier Morales for what could be the rest of the season, there were a lot of question marks in the mid-field.
Fortunately they would be hosting the Houston Dynamo at Rio Tinto Stadium, a place where they had a 28 match regular season unbeaten streak.
Although Real Salt Lake was favored in the match, the emotions of the situation took over and they came out playing a bit flat and did not show the dominance that many expected early in the season.
Both teams had good scoring opportunities late, but the result was a scoreless draw.
Collen Warner, who has played well this season, started in place of the injured Morales.
Following the match head coach Jason Kreis critiqued his play by saying, “It wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t good either. He didn’t check the box and answer his questions. He didn’t put the flag in the ground and say this position is mine, either.”
The biggest positive for this team is that they got past the emotional first match following the big injury.
A Look Ahead
Real Salt Lake has a full week off before traveling to play at FC Dallas next Sunday night. They will no doubt take advantage of the extra day of rest and training time to prepare for the rematch of the playoff game last season that sent Real Salt Lake home for the season.
Both teams are doing well in the Western Conference with FC Dallas leading by just one point, but they have played three more games than RSL. Both teams are also dealing with injuries to key players.
FC Dallas comes into the match with a five match unbeaten streak, including a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union.
At 5-1-1, Real Salt Lake has the best record of any MLS team through seven games. They trail the Galaxy by three points but have played five less matches.
They will have a good opportunity to move on without Morales and give others a chance to step up and perform.
A result for Real Salt Lake on the road would be a very positive step in the right direction.
News and Notes
Real Salt Lake leads the league in goals allowed with just two all season.
The also lead in off side calls, and rank high in number of corner kicks taken per game. They had nine against Chivas USA.
RSL reserve players Luis Gil and Donny Toia both saw action in the U-20 International Match against France this week. Gil scored in the 54th minute and played the full 90 minutes.
Sundays match against FC Dallas starts at 5:00 MST and can be seen locally on KMYU 2.2 (Comcast 22 / Dish Network 12)
It can also be heard on ESPN 700 in Utah.