Three things to watch: RSL vs FC Dallas, MLS Week 1

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Kyle Beckerman
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Kyle Beckerman /

Real Salt Lake heads to FC Dallas for their MLS 2018 Season opener. After an impressive offseason, RSL will be put to the test early on.

Finally, the wait is over, the 2018 MLS Season is officially here! After an impressive offseason, RSL is set for one their most intriguing seasons in the club’s history thanks to the roster that has been assembled.

Real will face an FC Dallas side that is coming off a midweek loss in CONCACAF Champions League. Dallas lost both legs in disappointing fashion and looked to be in disarray. RSL will have fresh legs to go along with their first choice XI as they head to Frisco, which gives them an advantage in trying to earn points on the road.

Here are three things to watch for ahead of RSL’s trip to Texas:

Position Battles

The offseason saw several additions who likely will see significant playing time this season. Along with the new faces, the club is also relatively healthy, meaning Petke will have plenty of options to consider when putting together a lineup. While some positions are more clear than others, it will be interesting to see how Petke divvies up minutes at fullback, the midfield, and up top.

Luis Silva came on strong at the end of last season and has had an impressive preseason. He will likely get the nod over newcomer Alfredo Ortuño to start the season, but the question will be how long will Silva keep getting starts. The spot seems to be Silva’s moving forward, but he will have to keep producing at a high level to keep it with Ortuño coming from a strong season in Spain.

Left-back Demar Phillips looks primed for a return to form while Danny Acosta looks to build on a strong first season and right-back Adam Henley will be pushed by academy graduate Aaron Herrera.

The next question is who starts next to the captain, Kyle Beckerman, as either Luke Mulholland, Sunny, or major addition Damir Kreilach will link up the staunch defense with the potent RSL attack.

The Attack

Speaking of the attack, the impressive combination play of Albert Rusnák, Jefferson Savarino, Joao Plata, and Luis Silva filled RSL fans with optimism while just coming up short on a postseason appearance.

FC Dallas is built on being a staunch MLS defense, but Dallas looked out of sorts against Tauro FC as they adjust to life without Matt Hedges’ regular partner, Walker Zimmerman. Dallas gave up three goals over two legs to the Panamanian side (then had to throw everyone forward to try and make up the goal difference). They will also be without standout midfielder, Kellyn Acosta, which all bode well for Real Salt Lake to get rolling early.

Damir Kreilach should be one of the better-attacking box-to-box mids that has ever donned the Claret & Cobalt. Adding another powerful cog to the attacking engine will be even more beneficial. The question now is how are they going to blend together.

Getting the RSL attack back up to where they left off in 2017 early in the season will help the club avoid a disappointing start that cost them a playoff spot last season.

Carryover from 2018

Along with the prolific and fluid attack, Nick Rimando and the RSL back line were just as impressive. The Justen Glad and Marcelo Silva pairing proved to be one of the best in MLS, and a revitalized Demar Phillips along with an inspired Adam Henley should only help make the club better.

If RSL can get off on the right foot in 2018 and build on their momentum, while also implementing new assets into the squad, the new season could be a very special year for the Salt Lake City-based club. The first step in making it a special year is taking advantage of a very winnable match on the road.


How to Watch

When: February 3, 2018. 8:00 pm EST

Where: Toyota Stadium. Frisco, TX

Watch:, KMYU/, TXA-21