RSL faces tough challenge at FC Dallas Friday night

RSL faces tough challenge at FC Dallas Friday night

SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Real Salt Lake is unbeaten in its last six matches and is in first place in the Western Conference, but FC Dallas is unbeaten in its last nine contests and is just three points behind.
SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - After beating Seattle 2-1 this past Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium, Real Salt Lake moved into sole possession of first place in the Western Conference.

But that doesn't mean the team is satisfied by any stretch of the imagination. 

"Anytime you get a win against such a good team, we were pretty happy about it," said defender Chris Wingert. "But we're right back after it. We know we have another tough one this weekend, so no time to gloat about it."

"We've got ten games to go in the season with a lot of soccer to be played," added defender Nat Borchers. "We're not going to celebrate anything until we have a tangible cup in our hands."

Now unbeaten in its last six matches, including three straight wins, Real has a league-leading 42 points and is playing its best soccer of the season right now.

"At the beginning of the year, we were getting up on teams and maybe taking the foot off the pedal and allowing teams to back into it," said head coach Jeff Cassar. "But now it seems we're keeping the ball, really frustrating teams. They're really playing at a high level right now."

But the team isn't eyeing the Supporters' Shield just yet.

"No, not yet," said Wingert. "I'm more worried about earning points to make the playoffs first. That's the first goal. Then once you establish that, you start setting your sights a little higher. If we're still in the running for the Supporters' Shield with a few games to go, then we'll be gunning for it."

The only team hotter than RSL is FC Dallas, Real's opponent Friday night. Dallas trails Real by just three points in the standings and hasn't lost since May, unbeaten in its last nine contests. And speaking of high levels, Real is not looking forward to a forecast in the upper 90's with brutal humidity.

"I'm never good with 90 percent humidity or 100 degree weather in Dallas," said Borchers. "Nobody likes that. Then to have a nice cool week in the 70's like it is here before we go down there is not ideal."

"You go there with the humidity and the heat, it's going to be tough," added Luke Mulholland, who had a goal and an assist against the Sounders. "But we'll do OK if we manage the clock. If we keep the ball, let them do the running, then we'll be OK."

"We just have to start hydrating now," said Wingert. "But you're never going to be fully prepared to play in the humidity in August down there."

Real Salt Lake's best playmaker Javier Morales didn't play against Seattle and isn't going to be rushed back from a hip injury. His status for Friday night's match is uncertain.

"I saw him in the training room today and I asked him if he was in today," said head coach Jeff Cassar. "He said not today, so it's a day by day thing. Obviously, we're going to be cautious."

Because Luis Gil played so well last Saturday, Cassar may sit Morales for another match.

Meanwhile Argentinian forward Sebastian Jaime is expected to arrive in Utah on Friday, if all the paperwork is processed in time. But again, there isn't a great urgency to get Jaime on the field.

"There's no rush to get him into the fold," said Cassar. "We want to make sure he acclimates well. Our forwards are playing great right now, so it should be an easy transition for him. When the time is right, we'll put him in."

RSL plays FC Dallas Friday night at 6:00 p.m.
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