SANDY -- The wounds are still fresh, but there is no time for Real Salt Lake to feel sorry for itself.
Having let its surest path to the CONCACAF Champions League slip away with a 1-0 loss to D.C. United in the U.S. Open Cup final on Tuesday, the Claret-and-Cobalt returns its focus to Major League Soccer action when it hosts FC Dallas tonight at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the match will be televised live on CW30.
"We'll see. I think there's some points where coaches have a lot of answers and there's some points where coaches look to the players for answers," said Real boss Jason Kreis when asked how he expects his side to rebound from the Open Cup loss. "This will be a moment I look to the players for answers.
"I believe this team has what it takes to win all our remaining matches to put ourselves in the very best possible situation to win the Supporters' Shield. Now I don't control what Seattle does and what New York does and I don't actually control what my players do either. But I believe and hope they still do as well."
Despite Tuesday's loss, Real comes into tonight's match with a boost of momentum after capturing a road result at Vancouver next weekend, gaining three valuable points and pulling into a tie with Seattle atop the Western Conference. As of now, Salt Lake owns the tiebreaker between the two teams based off goal-differential, meaning that it just needs to finish the season even with the Sounders to claim the top spot from the west.
"There's only one way to rebound," RSL outside defender Tony Beltran said. "This game is devastating. Let's be honest, this is devastating. We had a huge opportunity to get back into Champions League and win a trophy for this club. Now it's gone.
"There are still two trophies to play for. As hard as it is to put this game aside, we will have to do that."
Dalllas, which looked to be the team to beat in the opening weeks of the MLS season, has all but faded from the playoff picture.
The Hoops (10-10-10) have dropped three consecutive matches are currently in eighth place in the Western Conference, five points behind fifth-place Colorado for the final post-season position with just four matches to make up the difference.
"I think we've just got to bounce back as fast as we can," RSL midfielder Sebastian Velasquez said. "We have another game on Saturday -- hopefully we can get a win here, and then continue on. The playoffs are pretty close, and hopefully we can clinch a spot in the playoffs, then hopefully win the MLS Cup. We're still fighting for the Supporters' Shield."