Frisco, TX – FC Dallas came into their match against Real Salt Lake looking to maintain their undefeated record against RSL at home (8-0-2 all-time). Both teams entered the match missing multiple players to international duty: FCD was without starting goalkeeper Raul Fernandez (Peru), Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica) and Blas Perez (Panama), but RSL was particularly hard-hit with starters Nick Rimando (USA), Kyle Beckerman (USA), Tony Beltran (USA), Alvoria Saborio (Costa Rica) plus regular contributor Abdoulie Mansally (The Gambia) all playing with their national squads.
FC Dallas was the stronger side for the majority of the first half and found success moving the ball through their attacking left in particular. In the ’15, Fabian Castillo sent in a great cross that found an onrushing David Ferreira in the middle of the area. The crowd erupted after Ferreira’s shot shook the net, but unfortunately for Dallas it was outside of the post.
The ’22 minute saw an even more impressive piece of ball movement from the Hoops. Jackson brought the ball up the left side and found Kenny Cooper alone at the top of the box. Kenny nutmegged his defender to send the ball to a completely unmarked Zach Lloyd on the right flank. Lloyd took a couple of touches to draw Salt Lake keeper Josh Saunders out of his goal and then squared the ball back to Cooper. Kenny volleyed the ball at what he thought was a wide-open net, but RSL defender Nat Borchers made a great effort to bet back and keep the ball from going in. Chances dried up for both teams in the last 15 minutes of the half and the match went to the break 0-0.
Dallas continued to bring wave after wave of attack in the second half, but Josh Saunders repeatedly was up to the task in what was looking like a man of the match performance. Then in the ’71, Fabian Castillo had a moment of complete brilliance. He received the ball from Jackson just inside the 18-yard-box to the left of goal. He took two deft touches and used his speed to create space past RSL right back Lovel Palmer. He then unleashed the dragon with a powerful left-footed shot that crossed the goal mouth past Saunders and went into the top right of the net.
Everything came unraveled for Salt Lake in the ’77 when Palmer sent a lazy pass back to keeper Josh Saunders. Jackson charged the ball and Saunders took a clumsy touch to his left. Jackson then dived out at the ball with his feet and tapped the ball into net to give Dallas the 2-0 lead. Minutes later, Alvarez received his second yellow card for a foul on Kenny Cooper and RSL was down to ten men with a two goal deficit and barely 10 minutes left in the match.
FC Dallas held on for the victory and with the win they moved into first place in the standings in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference.