Frisco – Real Salt Lake came to Frisco looking to notch their first ever victory at FC Dallas Stadium (0-9-2 entering Wednesday night’s match) and the head-scratching suspension by Major League Soccer of FC Dallas striker Blas Peréz less than 24 hours before kickoff gave RSL confidence that their winless streak might come to an end.
The incredibly late notice of the suspension put Coach Schellas Hyndman in a tough spot when filling out his lineup card. As a result, forward Scott Seally, who had only made one appearance all year to date, received his first start of the season. Backup goalkeeper Chris Seitz also got the starting nod as Kevin Hartman was still recovering from a back injury.
Real Salt Lake controlled the early action in spite of their ridiculous-looking asymmetrical uniforms. FC Dallas did not even get out of their own half for the first ten minutes of the match. But once FCD got into the flow of the game, forward Fabian Castillo once again was the most dangerous player on the field. He consistently made deep runs into the Salt Lake 18-yard box and chased down loose balls all over RSL’s end.
Dallas had a glorious chance in the ’22 minute that started off of a slick 1-2 back heel from Brek Shea to Daniel Hernandez. Hernandez sent the return pass deep down Salt Lake’s left side and Shea corralled it while completely unmarked. He casually dribbled to the edge of the penalty area and sent in a perfect pass to Castillo, who was wide open on the penalty spot. Castillo calmly collected and shot the ball at the open right side of the net, only to have Seally inexplicably flash in front of him and block the shot.
The Toros deserved to be ahead at the break after creating nine shots on goal during the half, but they took the lead on a most undeserving penalty call. Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran watched a Daniel Hernandez free kick from midfield bounce in the box and then graze his left arm. Referee Geoff Gamble called the rather soft penalty and Brek Shea struck his left-footed shot into the right bottom corner. 1-0 FC Dallas at the break.
An awkward fall by midfielder Carlos Rodriguez in the ’53 resulted in a nasty looking left arm injury. It was serious enough that Daniel Hernandez immediately and vigorously called for the trainers to come onto the field. After several minutes of treatment, Rodriguez was taken off on a stretcher and recently reacquired Brazilian midfielder-defender Jackson was subbed on for him.
RSL controlled the action for the better part of the next twenty minutes and had multiple chances on Chris Seitz’s goal. The defense finally broke in the ’72 when RSL midfielder Will Johnson split the Dallas center backs with a perfectly placed through ball. Substitute Emilio Bonfigli slotted home his first Major League Soccer goal to Seitz’s right. Minutes later, RSL striker Alvaro Saborio had a clean breakaway after a botched FCD free kick from just outside the Real Salt Lake penalty area. Brek Shea hustled from way behind the play to cause Saborio to cut back at the very last second. That gave Seitz just enough time to make a move and he grabbed the ball right off of Saborio’s foot to save what looked like a sure RSL goal.
Neither team had any significant chances the rest of the way and the match ended in an appropriate 1-1 draw. FC Dallas (3-3-2) is now in 4th place in the Western Conference and travels to Los Angeles this weekend to face the Galaxy.