Frisco, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - FC Dallas will aim to continue a scintillating run of form on Friday when the club hosts Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake in a crucial matchup at Toyota Stadium.
FC Dallas enters Friday's clash riding a season-best nine-game unbeaten streak in league play and coming off an impressive 5-0 thrashing of the San Jose Earthquakes in which rookie forward Tesho Akindele netted his first professional hat trick and Fabian Castillo added a brace and an assist.
Dallas got off the mark 30 minutes in as Castillo latched on to a ball played over the top of the San Jose defense, wriggled free of a few 'Quakes defenders and chipped a lovely shot over the on-rushing Jon Busch.
Akindele doubled FCD's advantage in the 43rd minute when he turned toward goal and lashed a slow-rolling shot that trickled past Busch and hit the post on its way into the back of the net.
Akindele made it three in the 58th minute when he tucked home a rebound conceded by Busch and Castillo added to the lead the 74th minute with another superb solo effort, easing past the San Jose defense before cutting inside to his right foot and slipping a shot past Busch.
Akindele then wrapped up the comfortable win four minutes from time by turning home another rebound.
"Today we were solid defensively, more organized tactically and that helped us," said FCD head coach Oscar Pareja. "It's one of those nights where we put everything together, but as they said in the locker room we're moving on. Everyone here is thinking about Salt Lake already."
"I have more confidence in myself. The coach gives me more confidence to play," Castillo said. "Every year I get better and I'm doing a lot of individual work with the coaches. One is always trying to get better and I think I'm practicing hard and getting better every year."
Real Salt Lake, meanwhile, will be aiming for a second consecutive win in league play following a 2-1 result over rivals Seattle Sounders FC last Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
After a scoreless first half, RSL struck first just prior to the hour mark when Joao Plata eluded his mark and got to the back post to head home a free kick from Luke Mulholland for his team-leading 11th goal of the season.
The hosts doubled their advantage three minutes later when Mulholland raced to a through ball in the area and locked horns with Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso. The two battled for the ball and the final touch went off Alonso and past Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei for the own goal.
The Sounders pulled one back in the 72nd minute as Clint Dempsey was stopped by Nick Rimando from point blank range. Andy Rose then headed one off the right post, but Chad Barrett was there to smash it home from close range to make things interesting down the stretch, but it wasn't enough.
"We're doing a really good job of getting excellent service," said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar. "We're getting excellent, committed runs. Sometimes there's a little element of surprise, with people showing up in different spots. It was a great finish."
This will be the second meeting of the season between the sides, which played to a scoreless draw at Rio Tinto on May 25.