FRISCO - The month of August hasn’t been a kind one for FC Dallas, but as the calendar prepares to turn there’s one final chance to grab a win on Saturday night before moving into the final two months of the campaign.
It has certainly been a roller coaster this summer which has seen FCD post a five-game winning streak as well as the three-game losing skid they carry into Saturday’s match, but keeping on an even keel through wins and losses is something head coach Oscar Pareja preaches to his side.
“It’s the same mentality as always. We are positive and the boys are in a good spirit,” said Pareja after practice on Wednesday evening. “They understand the nature of the league and where we are and where we’re going. To see bumps on the road are normal and we wouldn’t like to have them but when you do you have to overcome.”
FC Dallas heads into Saturday’s match in a still solid position in the Western Conference only a couple points out of third place with two games in hand on most of their rivals while Real Salt Lake sits three points out the sixth and final playoff spot desperate for wins to keep their season alive. With ten games left, it’s a scenario that will play itself out nearly every match for the rest of the year.
“As a player this is the time you love,” said defender Zach Loyd. “Everything becomes a little more intense, games become a little more important, points become a little more tough to get, so any time you can get an opportunity at home you have to take advantage of it down the stretch.”
Saturday’s matchup is the first of two this season against their Utah rivals who split last year’s season series 1-1-1 including an emotional 2-1 win for FC Dallas almost a year to the day of this weekend’s game. Eight of the final ten games of the season are against Western Conference challengers and with just 16 points separating first from last place, every match is bordering on do-or-die.
“It’s time to grind and get the points at home and away,” said midfielder Kellyn Acosta. “We can’t dwell on the past, we can only look to the future to give our all and get as many points as possible.”