Published January 13, 2015
Sandy, UT (SportsNetwork.com) - Real Salt Lake must turn its attention back to league play on Saturday as the club welcomes FC Dallas to Rio Tinto Stadium, the site of RSL's latest disappointment.
Salt Lake was a heavy favorite to win its first U.S.Open Cup crown on Tuesday when the club hosted lowly D.C. United in the final.
But like it has many times in recent years, Salt Lake came up short in a big spot, losing 1-0 to United.
"It is extremely tough," defender Chris Wingert said following his team's defeat on Tuesday. "It feels a little bit surreal, like a bad dream right now. I can't believe it. I'm shocked. I thought for sure we were going to win.
"I can't believe we had to sit there on the field after the game and realize we came up short - again. I don't know if I have the words to describe how tough this is."
Wingert and his teammates will certainly still be feeling the sting of that defeat, which is just the latest in a series of letdowns for the club.
RSL lost in the 2008 conference final to Red Bull New York before falling to FC Dallas in 2010 after failing to get the necessary result at home.
Maybe the most crushing setback came in the final of the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League against Monterrey, when the club earned a 2-2 draw in Mexico only to lose 1-0 at home in the second leg.
RSL head coach Jason Kreis must now find a way to put that negativity behind him and focus on the final three games of Salt Lake's season.
Dallas, meanwhile, cannot afford to take anything less than three points from Saturday's contest with the club sitting in eighth place and five points adrift of the final playoff spot.
A run of three straight defeats has left FCD's playoff hopes in peril, but head coach Schellas Hyndman refuse to write his team just yet.
"I will always think we can do it until mathematically we're out, because I really do believe we're a talented team," Hyndman said. "We showed it in the first part of the season. Was that because we were playing more as a unit, was that because the ball was bouncing right for us, was that because we weren't giving up as many goals? - I think it's probably a combination of all those things."
With just four games to go Dallas has no margin for error.