Salt Lake (8-8-2) scored three times in the final 10 minutes of the first half en route to a 4-2 victory over Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night at RSL’s Rio Tinto Stadium, knocking Sporting off its perch atop the standings in the process.
The victory moved the Claret and Cobalt into a tie for fourth in the Western Conference standings with Portland, which holds three games in hand.
It also marked Salt Lake’s seventh win in nine matches at home. In the last of three matches in eight days, they’ll aim for an eighth victory against a Dallas squad has lost just one of its last 10 games.
“We know they’re flying high on a lot of confidence, and they’re another team that’s been together for a while with the same coach,” Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. “It’s going to be tough. We know it’s going to be a hot one, and it’s going to take everything we’ve got.
“We’ve got to finish our chances. We’ve got to be stingy in front of goal. And if we can do all that, and the fans give us the boost that they always do, we’ll be just fine.”
Meanwhile, FC Dallas (10-2-5) is beginning a new era after selling influential playmaker Mauro Diaz to a Saudi Arabian club earlier this week.
It began well on Wednesday night, when Tesho Akindele scored twice in the final five minutes to lift FC Dallas to a 3-2 victory over Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta United. The win brought Dallas within two points of Atlanta in the race for the Supporters’ Shield, awarded each season to the team that posts the best regular-season record.
Dallas also has the most points per game (2.06) in MLS entering the weekend, and has a 4-2-1 record on the road, winning three of its last four away from Toyota Stadium.
“We’ve had some good ones on the road, we’ve had some bad ones on the road, so we need to be more consistent,” Dallas defender Matt Hedges said. “They’re coming off a big win, so we need to be aware that they’re going to be on a high just like us.”
New signing Marquinhos Pedroso won’t be able to make his debut yet for Dallas, because the secondary transfer window in MLS doesn’t officially open until next Tuesday.
Dallas and Salt Lake drew 1-1 in Texas in both teams’ season opener in March.