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Real Salt Lake-FC Dallas Preview
By MATT BEARDMORE
(AP) -- FC Dallas won't have its leading scorer as it looks to rebound from its first shutout of the season.
Real Salt Lake could be in an even worse position with its top scorer and defender out due to red-card suspensions.
Playing without suspended striker Blas Pérez, Dallas looks to extend its regular-season home point streak in this series to 10 on Wednesday night when it faces RSL, which will be without Fabian Espindola and Jamison Olave.
"We all have our issues, whether it's cards, whether it's suspensions or whether it's injuries," Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman told the team's official website.
After losing 1-0 to Vancouver on Saturday to drop to 0-3 on the road, Dallas (3-3-1) should be excited about returning home for four of the next six matches. The club has outscored opponents 6-3 at FC Dallas Stadium this season.
Dallas' last five-game home point streak to begin a season was in 2006 when it started 5-0-1.
"We're getting 100 percent effort from all the guys, and hopefully we get the ball to bounce our way come Wednesday against Salt Lake," midfielder Daniel Hernandez said.
Dallas, though, will not have Pérez, the team leader with three goals and three assists, after the MLS announced Tuesday that he was suspended for one game for elbowing Jordan Harvey in the first half Saturday.
Without Pérez and Ricardo Villar (foot), who is expected to miss a third consecutive match, Hyndman will need captain Ugo Ihemelu, Brek Shea and others to step up if Dallas is to maintain its home-field edge versus RSL (5-3-0).
Salt Lake is 0-8-1 at Dallas in regular-season play, and also fell short there during the 2010 MLS Cup playoffs and in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal in July.
Being without two key suspended players will likely make ending that drought all the more difficult. Salt Lake lost 3-1 at San Jose on Saturday after being down two players for more than 20 minutes.
The Earthquakes scored twice in second-half injury time after Espindola, who has a team-high three goals, and Olave - the former MLS defender of the year - were sent off.
It was the first time in RSL history that two players picked up red cards in the same match.
"We fought back from an extremely difficult circumstance - a man down, a goal down," coach Jason Kreis told MLS' official website. "You go two men down and fight, fight, fight and come really close (to getting a result), so let's try to look at the positives."
One potential positive for RSL in this match is that it may not have to face Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. The league's all-time wins leader with 174 is questionable after missing Saturday's game with back spasms.
If Hartman can't go, Chris Seitz, the fourth overall pick by RSL in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft, will get a second consecutive start.
Real Salt Lake's Nick Rimando has shut out FC Dallas in three consecutive matches, the most recent a 2-0 victory in Utah on July 9.
RSL, which hosts Dallas on May 26 and Aug. 18, picked up its first road point in the series in a scoreless draw May 22.
Updated April 24, 2012