Real Salt Lake
Starters: Robbie Russell, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran, Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman (Capt), Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborio, Fabian Espindola, Nick Rimando-GK
Bench: Jean Alexandre, Paulo Araujo, Jr., Robbie Findley, Rauwshan Mckenzie, Collen Warner, Andy Williams, Kyle Reynish-GK
Coach: Jason Kreis
Starters: Heath Pearce, George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez, Jackson Goncalves, Dax McCarty, David Ferreira, Daniel Hernandez (Capt), Marvin Chavez, Milton Rodriguez, Dario Sala-GK
Bench: Atiba Harris, Eric Alexander, Jeff Cunningham, Zach Loyd, Ruben Luna, Brek Shea, Chris Sharpe-GK
Coach: Schellas Hyndman
One of the biggest games of the 2010 season is being held at Rio Tinto Stadium as Real Salt Lake takes on FC Dallas. RSL is riding an MLS-record 24-game home unbeaten streak and haven't lost in their last 12 games. But FC Dallas haven't lost in 19 games - matching the MLS all-time record set by the Columbus Crew in 2004-05. It will also be a key match for Western Conference playoff positioning, with both teams still having a chance of winning the Supporter's Shield.
Real Salt Lake extended their unbeaten streak to 12 games, playing to a scoreless draw with the New York Red Bulls last Saturday evening at Red Bulls Arena. Real are in second place in the Western Conference, with 52 points from 28 games, four points behind 1st place LA Galaxy.
Coach Kreis is going with his usual 4-4-2 lineup. Some changes than usual are Beltran playing Chris Wingert's position; Ned Grabavoy playing in Andy Williams position and Fabian coming on strong in the final month of the season...he is starting over Robbie Findley tonight.
Let's get onto the match...
At '15 mark...
RSL comes out strong (as usual) to put pressure on Dallas' backline. The ball has been on Dallas' side of the pitch for most of the first 15 minutes. Dallas is starting to control the middle of the field and the ball. A Dallas corner kick at '8 mark saved by Rimando. Dallas gets a set piece at '12 mark which Rimando cannot handle and nearly goes in, but Sabario saves the day and boots the ball out of the box. Dallas is really pressing hard in the first '15. Don't know if they can keep this intensity up for the entire match.
At '30 mark...
RSL has had two (2) missed opportunities in corner kicks to capitalize. RSL needs to start playing with a little more zest. Dallas is doing a pretty good job of controlling the middle of the pitch. Dallas should have had a Yellow Card pulled on one of their midfielders knocking javi down but it was not called. Nice heads up play by Sala the goalkeeper for Dallas. After an RSL corner kick, Dallas counter attacks and loses the ball at midfield. Will Johnson blasts a shot from near center pitch that just misses going in. Another long strike by Will that the goalie saves. Beautiful pass by Javi to Saborio that Sabo barely misses.
At '45 mark...
The ball is just moving back and forth to both teams in the last 15 minutes before the half. Something has to give here soon. Nice save by RSL's backline to extinguish Dallas opportunity to score. Some shotty passing by RSL has slowed down many opportunities to penetrate Dallas' goal box. Very little action in this part of the game. Looking like both teams want to go in at halftime with not making any mistakes.
Coach Kreis needs to get on our guys and get them to pass more efficiently within the middle of the pitch. We have wasted too many opportunities with shotty passing. I have liked our intensity so far in the game. This is the first time that i have seen Dallas in person this year and they are really, really good. I can see why they have a 19-game unbeaten streak. I wonder who Coach Kreis is going to sub at the beginning of the 2nd half. Maybe bring in Robbie Findley, but Fabi hasn't really hasn't run himself ragged thus far.
At '60 mark...
At '46 mark, Dallas substitutes Jeff Cunningham for Milton Rodriguez. Dallas just barely misses a strike on goal from 20m out. RSL gets a corner kick at '51 mark and cannot capitalize on it. now Dallas is getting an opportunity with a corner kick to take a lead in the game. Dallas cannot capitalize either. Counterattack by Dallas and an even more beautiful save by Rimando. Great passing by Fabi to Sabo and back to Fabi to nearly score on Dallas at '56 mark. A beautiful header by Grabavoy at '59 mark from Morales puts RSL up 1-0!!!!!
At '75 mark...
Rio Tinto is rockin' after the header by Grabavoy. Looks like RSL is playing with a whole lot more zest and spirit now being up 1-0. Let's see if they can keep the intensity up for the final two-thirds of the 2nd half. Olave knocks over a Dallas player and Dallas receives a set piece on the left side of the box . Beckerman heads the ball away and RSL nearly counterattacks and puts the ball into the back of Dallas' net. RSL is really pressing the ball deep into Dallas' box right now. It won't be long til RSL may get another goal in this match. At '71 mark, Dallas substitutes again bringing in Atiba Harris for Dax McCarty. Also, RSL substitutes Andy Williams for Ned Grabavoy. I must say that Beltran has been playing a very solid game on the backline tonight. Fabian receives a Yellow Card at '74 mark. He will miss the last regular season game at Colorado next Saturday.
At '90 mark...
RSL is really pressuring Dallas hard now to try and get that second goal. Robbie Findley comes in for Fabian Espindola at '78 mark. The game is getting quite physical now. Dallas doesn't want to leave here with their first loss in 20 games. Yellow Card is given out to Heath Pearce at '88 mark. Beautiful pass by Beckerman to Findley finding a wide open Morales in front of the goal at '90 mark. RSL gets an insurance goal and are now up 2-0 and Rio Tinto is seriously rocking now!!!! RSL plays tough and gives Dallas their first loss in 20 games with a score 2-0!
Well, we picked up our 15th win of the season. We looked very good in the 2nd half. We pressured Dallas' backline the entire half and finally broke through for a two goals. I was really worried at half and was hoping for RSL to pick up three points in this game. It was being played at home and well, you know how we play at home. Dallas came in tonight wanting to control the middle of the pitch and they did a fine job of it playing a 4-5-1. But, RSL was just too much to handle in the remaining minutes of the game for Dallas to equalize the score.
Like stated above, RSL's win gives Dallas their first loss in the last 20 games. Very impressive considering the recent play of Dallas. This also gives Real Salt Lake a 25-game unbeaten home streak and maintaining our unbeaten streak at 13 games now. We are now only one (1) point behind the Galaxy for 1st place in the Supporter's Shield race. Let's hope that Colorado can upset LA at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles tonight.
Next week's match is the final match of the regular season at Colorado. We need another three points to add to the finest season in RSL history. See you later.