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SOCCER

RSL tangles with Dallas in clash of Western leaders

Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas are the top two teams in the Western Conference, but they are headed in opposite directions at the moment.

RSL sits atop the conference, three points clear of Dallas, and the club is riding a seven-game unbeaten streak in league play, while posting a 7-1-2 mark in its last 10 contests.

Dallas, meanwhile, is winless in its last six games, dropping the team from the top spot down to second place.

Head coach Schellas Hyndman saw his team lose 2-0 to the Los Angeles Galaxy last weekend, but it wasn't so much about tactics as it was about work rate.

"I think the reality is that they basically outworked us. And by outworking us they caused us a lot of problems. So, before we get too complicated with the scoring chances we have to get better, we have to get some work done," said Hyndman after the Galaxy defeat.

In addition to putting in better effort, Dallas must also find a way to get its scoring touch back.

The team scored at least one goal in each of its first 14 games this season, but has been blanked three times in the last five fixtures.

Dallas might be struggling at the moment, and will be without forward Blas Perez because of international duty, but Hyndman's team can at least lean on the fact that RSL is 0-9-2 all time at FC Dallas.

The current form of RSL would indicate that the club is poised to end that streak of futility, but head coach Jason Kreis has been hit hard by the Gold Cup as he has lost four players to the competition.

Goalkeeper Nick Rimando, defender Tony Beltran, midfielder Kyle Beckerman and forward Alvaro Saborio will all miss out on Saturday's game, although RSL was able to survive a difficult match with Philadelphia last weekend without that group.

The club twice came from a goal down with 10 men to earn a point, and Kreis felt the result was a testament to the spirit of his team.

"We have to be very comfortable to send out a group like that, that has that much fight and that much spirit to come back in this game," Kreis said. "It says a lot about them; it says a lot about their character. Tonight wasn't the best night for some guys, soccer-wise, particularly in the first half. What they did give was everything they could, and that's really appreciated."