In the last two matches, Real Salt Lake has played some of its best soccer of the season in falling 1-0 to the Portland Timbers and winning 2-0 over Seattle Sounders FC at Rio Tinto Stadium. Statistically, they were some of the top passing and possession matches of the season and last week that meant allowing just one shot on goal for a very potent Seattle attack.
That upward trend for the visitors comes in stark contrast to the trend with FC Dallas, who has lost three straight matches and now will likely play without master playmaker Mauro Diaz as well as goalkeeper Dan Kennedy due to injury.
RSL fans spent weeks wondering whether or not Juan Manuel Martinez would sign with their club. In some moments it looked like he was destined to join Real Salt Lake after two seasons with Boca Juniors in his native Argentina and others it looked like it might be time to move on. All the while, fans on Twitter used the hashtag #BurritoWatch to keep tabs on the latest news (and snark) about the possible signing.
Now that “El Burrito” has arrived, it’s time to see how he fits in with the Claret-and-Cobalt. Already in training he has gelled quickly with his new teammates and after watching from the bench last week in a 2-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC, he is more prepared for his MLS debut this week against FC Dallas.
Deep In The Heart Of Texas
After going winless in the first eight matches against FC Dallas (and the Dallas Burn), RSL has now earned points in three of the last five matches. And while the clubs 1-10-2 record all-time in Dallas is nothing to boast about, the club has managed a 1-2-2 record there in its last five matches.
Overall, RSL is 2-18-3 in the State of Texas, with the lone victory in Houston coming last season in convincing fashion when Javier Morales netted a hat trick in a 5-2 win on May 11, 2014.
Castillo’s Rising Star
Since arriving in MLS at 18 years of age in 2011, FC Dallas winger Fabian Castillo has seen his stock rise with each passing season. Now in his fifth MLS campaign, Castillo has earned a call-up to the Colombian National Team after compiling 28 goals and 22 assists in 130 matches for Dallas. Despite recent struggles that have seen him remain off the score sheet for the last four matches, Castillo has eight goals and six assists this season – on pace for his best MLS season yet.
So, will the 23-year-old be boosted by his newfound accolades with the national team or will his struggles continue against a stifling RSL defense that has rounded into form in recent weeks?