SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Just a few weeks ago, Real Salt Lake was considered a shoe-in for home field advantage in the first round of the MLS playoffs. Now RSL is concerned about just making the postseason.
FC Dallas scored three unanswered goals to beat Real Salt Lake 3-1 Wednesday night, as RSL dropped its fourth MLS match in its last five games, and six of seven across all competitions.
After RSL took a 1-0 lead on Chicho Arango’s fifth MLS goal, Paul Arriola scored to tie the match in the 56th minute and help spark the rally. Jesus Ferreira chipped in a brace over a nine-minute span to put the Texas club ahead for good.
“What we need in this moment is guys to step up, guys to really show their character, and guys to put the team on their back,” said head coach Pablo Mastroeni. “We haven’t had that.”
Dallas (10-10-8, 38 points) won just its third road match of the season and moved into ninth place in the Western Conference standings — the last postseason position.
Arango scored in the 43rd minute to give RSL the first lead. Arango has tallied one goal in four consecutive matches. He has five goals in eight regular-season matches for Salt Lake.
It wasn’t enough to save RSL, however, after the Utah club surrendered three unanswered goals over a 15-minute stretch. Real Salt Lake (11-11-7, 40 points) lost for the fourth time in five matches and dropped to sixth in the Western Conference.
“We’re obviously going through a real tough time,” Mastroeni said. “We’ve got five games left, and we’ve got to win three of the five probably. I know we can do it. There’s no doubt in my mind we can do it.”
Real Salt Lake got on the board when Arango scored on a snap-down header, threading the ball inside the left post. Braian Ojeda crossed the ball to the unmarked forward just outside the 6-yard box.
Dallas equalized on Arriola’s goal in the 56th minute. Arriola nestled in between two defenders and latched onto a pass from Paxton Pomykal. He redirected the ball and tapped a right footer across the line.
FC Dallas took a 2-1 lead in the 62nd minute on a penalty kick from Ferreira. It ended up being the first penalty kick of the season for Dallas and the first one since March of 2022.
Jefferson Savarino came close to scoring an equalizer for RSL in the 64th minute but Maarten Paes swatted the ball away before it passed the post.
Ferreira ended hopes of a comeback with an insurance goal in the 71st minute. He blasted a right footer inside the right post to finish off a counterattack.
Real Salt Lake stays in sixth place in the Western Conference standings, but is just three points from falling below the playoff line.
RSL next hosts Vancouver Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.