Sandy, UT – FC Dallas is in the midst of its best stretch of play this season, but the club will face a major test on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium against Real Salt Lake.
With seven points from its last three games Dallas has been able to revive its dwindling playoff hopes.
But just as quickly as those hopes have grown, they could be cut back down with a setback at RSL.
A 2-0 win at Vancouver on Wednesday helped Dallas move a bit closer to playoff contention, but according to head coach Schellas Hyndman, the win came at a cost.
"[Vancouver] kept on getting frustrated and it turned out to be 24 fouls and six yellow cards...24 fouls are you kidding me? And that's just the ones he called," Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com. "You don't want a game like that and we're right now doing rehab and we're hurting. We're physically banged up and hurting."
Not only is Dallas beat up, but Hyndman knows the challenge that playing at Rio Tinto presents for his team.
"It's always tough here. They deserve a lot of praise on how well they've built this team," Hyndman said. "They have a lot of similar players that have been kept around and obviously they play here in a wonderful environment and the altitude has an effect on you."
Salt Lake will benefit from not only playing at home but also from the fact that the team will have had a full week to prepare the game.
After seeing his team lose its last two matches, head coach Jason Kreis will be eager for the side to return to the win column.
And one player who could have a big effect on RSL turning things around would be striker Fabian Espindola, who is in the midst of a 10-game scoreless drought.
Despite his struggles, Espindola does not seem to be overly concerned with his form.
"It doesn't matter how well you play, people are only going to ask if you score or not," Espindola said. "I don't care. I will just keep working for my team, trying to improve my game and help them, and if the coach decides to play me, I'm going to give everything I have. If I have to be on the bench, I'm going to cheer on my team."
Espindola is also not worried about the slump his team finds itself in, and he believes that a few small improvements will help RSL start collecting points once again.
"We are playing good, but it is just a lot of small mistakes," said Espindola. "If we can find the goal first, we find our rhythm, we are fine, and we are not finding any of that right now. The other teams are good, too, you know. If they find the goals, it is getting too hard for us to tie the game and then go forward."