Well given RSL's 0-15-2 history in Texas you have to consider a 1-1 draw a decent result, don't you? Given back to back loses, a draw on the road isn't that bad, is it? Yeah, when you consider that the match was in fact decided on a very, very soft/questionable handball call on Tony Beltran in stoppage time of the first half that is the 9th PK in 11 matches from Geoff Gamble, something that simply doesn't surprise me that it happened. Well Brek Shea steps up and finishes the PK, and FC Dallas ends up with a 1-0 lead heading in at the half.
So if you look at the numbers, RSL had 471 passes to FCD's 299, RSL completed 80% while FCD had just 75%, that resulted in RSL having 59.9% of the possession. Both teams took 11 shots, RSL had 5 on frame, while FCD had 4. Yeah it was one of those kind of nights, RSL dominated the first 15 minutes, FC Dallas came back and really was probably the better team the final 30 minutes of the first half. In the second half RSL made some adjustments and were simply the better team in every aspect of the match, it was the fresh legs of Emiliano Bonfigli, the RSL rookie that leveled the match in the 72nd minute.
The final 1--15 minutes looked as if both teams were simply out of gas and content with what work they had done in the match. so that match ends 1-1 as RSL picks up a point, their 16th in 9 matches, but for me it just seems wrong to suffer another very questionable call as the deciding factor in the match. I guess the ball hitting a falling down Tony Beltran in the armpit is a handball, so while FIFA doesn't even offer up a definition of "handball" in the rules of the game, it is often quoted as "handball occurs if any player, other than the team's goalkeeper within his own penalty area, deliberately handles the ball when in play". If that is the case, well I just don't see it.
more thoughts after the jump:
OK, time to take a look how RSL did position by position, and let's start at the back with Nick Rimando. Nick stopped very shot from the run of play, a stellar night with some great saves, it was only the guess wrong on the PK that kept him from another clean sheet.
Our back line, let's start with Chris Schuler filling in for suspended Jamison Olave, I thought he had a great match, he was confident on the ball, solid with his marking and reminds me why I think the kid is going to be a star for RSL going forward. Nat Borchers had one moment where I thought he might have made a mistake on the ball, yeah one, but he was able to get back on the play and nothing came of it. Chris Wingert, did what he does best, cover a lot of ground and make solid plays, you can't expect too much more from anyone than that. Tony Beltran, was in a battle all night long as he was often matched up with Brek Shea who has a lot of size on him, but I thought he did fairly well all night long, he made a couple of good run and unfortunately was called for a handball which lead to the PK. I am not going to hold that against him, I mean the guy put is arm out to try and regain his balance as he was falling down and the ball hit him in the armpit, not a handball in my opinion but it was called and there is nothing we can do about it.
In the midfield the guys looked great the first 15 minutes of the match as they out hustled and out played Dallas, the guys were able to take their time completing passes and looked really good. After the first 15 minutes it became more of a battle as FC Dallas started to pressure the ball more. I though Javier Morales looked good, created some good chances with his passing, a very solid effort for 90 minutes. Will Johnson was once again a work horse, he covered a ton of territory and was often there to help Tony deal with Brek Shea, a very good night that included a shot that wasn't but a few inches off. Kyle did what he needed to do all night, break up plays and be there as an outlet for others to get the ball to when they came under pressure, he also provided a physical presence without picking up a yellow card that would have been his 5th of the season. Luis Gil had a couple of good runs, but I still think that he is thinking just a bit too much with the ball, which caused his passes to be a bit late and also allowed Dallas to put pressure on him , he needs to be a bit more confident and quicker with the ball. It was great to see Ned Grabavoy get back into action after his dislocated rib and he looked good with the ball, sharp passes and good decision, can't wait to get him back to full fitness. Jonny Steele came on for a few minutes as RSL looked for some late match magic on the road, but he was very limited with just a couple of touches.
Up top I have to say that I thought the work rate of both Paulo Jr. and Alvaro Saborio was good, they moved a bit, they both applied some pressure on the defenders and they forced them to work hard and they kept the center backs from being able to go forward too often. I thought Sabo needed to do better with the ball, he lost possession too many time for my liking and Paulo Jr. looked like he was trying too hard to make something happen and it cost him in the end. Coming on for his first real minutes of the season was Emiliano Bonfigli and he provided the fresh legs and speed that the RSL attack had lost late in the second half, and boy did it pay off, just 3 minutes after coming on he was able to find some space and took a great ball from Will Johnson and simply put it past Chris Seitz before he knew what happened. Emiliano looked dangerous with his speed and confidence on the ball, I don't think that will be the last goal we see from him this year.
Overall not a bad effort from RSL on short rest after a physically and mentally exhausting match on Saturday, now they can come home with a point from Dallas and get ready for Saturday when Toronto comes to town.
OFF MY SOAPBOX