OK, folks you know the deal. I will post my thoughts and updates during the match in 10 minute intervals unless something big happens.
Here are your starting lineups:
FC Dallas: Hartman, Benitez, Ihemelu, John, Pearce, Shea, McCarty, Hernandez, Harris, Rodriguez, and Ferreira
Real Salt Lake: Rimando, Russell, Olave, Borchers, Wingert, Alexandre, Morales, Espindola, Johnson, Grabavoy, and Findley. Showing a 4-5-1, formation to match up with the 4-4-1-1 that FC Dallas plays.
OK, dear FC Dallas announce team David Ferreira has played well in 5 matches, but he isn't an All Star yet and you saying it just sounds like pandering. He may make it to the team, he has played well, but half of his goals have come from the PK spot, but there is a really good chance that he won't make it and you will just look silly. So please stop, you did it the entire match last week, and already this week, give it up and let what happens happen.
Well as warm as it is in Salt Lake City, it is about 10 degrees warmer and add in the humidity it is going to be rough. I do expect some strong runs early in the match.OK they are under way and FCD have the ball first, long ball up and cleared out by RSL but a FCD throw in. RSL long ball to Robbie and RSL are on the attack, they play it back out to the midfield, out for a goal kick. FC Dallas move forward but Shea loses and out for a RSL throw in, and like most matches the first couple minutes are a lot of give and take. A good run by Harris, but RSL break it up and try to go long to Findley, but back to FCD. Wow the stands look very empty down there in Dallas, Fabi is looking good early in the midfield.
Dallas on the run again, but Olave clears it out for a throw in, so FCD keep it but it is cleared back out to the midfield, but they turn it over to RSL on a throw in. A long ball doesn't find Findley, and I am hoping that this is just an early attacking strategy for RSL, and not their gameplan for the entire match. A tough tackle by Jean gives Dallas a dangerous free kick from about 15 yards outside of the area but it is wide, and they say Nick touched it so it is a corner kick, wow what a bad call as Nick was a foot away from the ball. Off the bar and once again RSL is getting some early help as Borchers and Fabi both didn't do a great job covering their men, another corner. Short and out for another corner kick. This one out for a goal kick, but we are still at 0-0
Well Nick gets RSL going again and the attack is broken up or RSL would have gotten behind the FCD backline, RSL get it back in the midfield and they are looking to get organized. Long ball by Dallas goes out for another goal kick. FCD promoingtheir friendly with Inter Milan coming up in a couple weeks. It sounds like the Dallas announce team read my match preview, talking about how the 3--0 loss last year at Dallas was a turning point for RSL.
Looks like Shea is up to his old tricks again and trying to get under the skin of several RSL players and the 4th official. Dallas on the attack, but Javi breaks it up and then Pearce fouls him after he takes the ball away from Dallas, could have been a yellow card as he went in studs up and not interested in the ball. Fabi on the ball, RSL doing a nice job of moving the ball and Javi fires a shot that got past Hartman but off the cross bar, wow two scoring chances and two balls hitting the bars. Again the FCD announce team are "pimping" Ferreira for the All Star team, you have to wonder how much he is paying them. RSL get forward but can't get a shot off as Harris gets back on defense and breaks up the play and Dallas are back on the attack.
It is interesting that 17 players have been involved in RSL's 28 goals, FCD have only 8 players involved. Robbie gets flaged for offsides. Free kick for RSL about 20 yards outside of the FCD area but cleared and Dallas on the attack. A good run by FCD but out for another RSL goal kick, another offside on RSL and this time it is Espindola.
We have hit the 24th minute and as I expected we haven't given up a goal and RSL up to 3rd longest team streak in MLS history. A silly foul by Jean and he is getting close to getting a yellow card. Some good defense by Fabi, who is causing all kinds of issues for Pearce. A Dallas throw in at midfield. While the match hasn't slowed down too much, but you can see that both teams are conserving a bit of energy. A great interception by Robbie as RSL is now on the attack but Fabi's pass goes to a Dallas player and then they turn it over and RSL is back moving forward but the ball into the area is cleared out by Ihemelu.
Well we are still even at 0-0, remember that FCD gives up a lot of goals from minutes 30-60. Wow RSL dodged a bullet as the FC Dallas players are falling at any and all contact. Shea played a good ball, but nobody was able to get to it and Ferreira goes down not on the real contact but when he can't get to the ball, he then falls on light contact. Javi's ball into the area is cleared out, but RSL still have it for a throw in but it goes out to Dallas. All the way back to Nick goes the ball and RSL restart the action.
OK I like what Atiba is doing for Dallas, he plays all over the place and does a nice job of attacking balls. Nice "destroyer" comment from Dunny, he likes that term for strong d-mids and center backs. Not sure what is more annoying RSL's broadcast team pimping the Kiss concert or FCD's team pimping David Ferriera for the All Star match. I have to say that at this point Dallas has probably had more possession, but I would say RSL has had the better attacks. A foul by Ihemelu gets him a yellow card as he takes out Ned, and RSL have a free kick again from about 20 yards outside of the Dallas area.
Javi lines up for another free kick, a great ball in by Javi and Olave gets it to go across thee face of the goal, but Shea clears it out but RSL keeps the ball, but turn it over and Will makes a hard tackle and gets a yellow card to give Dallas a free kick at midfield. I am kinda surprised that RSL hasn't been able to get behind the FC Dallas backline more, but they play decent defense but this is a time when they tend to give up goals. Brek Shea takes a shot/cross but it goes right to Nick and we are almost at the half and RSL seems content to go in tied at 0-0.
A single minute of stoppage time added and FC Dallas are looking a bit dangerous in the final seconds of the half, and that is it we head into the locker rooms tied at 0-0. You have to wonder if RSLwill change their lineup and go witha more offensive style in the second half? Back in a few with the second half.
FC Dallas makes a big change as they bring in Jeff Cunningham for Dax, so this will mean a more offensive minded FCD, but could create countering chances for RSL. Foul on Wingert as Cunny takes advantage of him and FCD have it just outside of the area. Headed out by FCD and a RSL goal kick, RSLwill have to do better on the set pieces both offensively and defensively tonight, but this is one of those matches that a team has chances but doesn't take advantage of them and end up losing. So far it has been more Dallas failing to take advantage of their chances, which could be a good thing for RSL. Run by Javi but the 5th defender got him and the ball is back out to the midfield, turn over by RSL but Dallas plays a horrible ball and out for a deep RSL throw in.
Not and impressive first 5 minutes of the second half by RSL, and I have to believe we will see some fresh legs at minute 60 or close to that. FC Dallas is clearly playing a more attacking style in this second half, RSL is going to have to do something to get some possession, or this could be a really long second half. RSL working the ball around the midfield, but it goes out and back over to Dallas, but they play a long ball that goes out and a RSL goal kick.
Nice long ball but Fabi can't get to it, wow a great run by Will Johnson who fires a shot and it finds the post and bounces out, the 3rd ball to do that tonight. Wingert commits the foul at midfield, but no card, Dallas get the ball back just on their half of the ptich. Great tackle by Jean but RSL turns it over for a throw in, I have liked the work rate of Fabi, but his passing has been off just a bit. Long ball to Findley but John is there to break it up and FC Dallas get the ball back, and Shea fires a shot but it is wide of goal and out for a goal kick.
RSL make their subs, Saborio in for Findley, and Jean goes out for Andy Williams, as it looks like RSL will be a bit more offensive minded for the final 30 minutes as a striker for striker, but offensive midfielder for a defensive one. A tough pass goes out and the ball goes back over to Dallas. Bad clearence by Russell goes back to Dallas, Borchers breaks it up. Yes it is 100 degrees and Andy has long sleeves on, wow a good run and shot by Shea but Nick is there for the save as RSL dodge a bullet. Fabi goes down as John commits the foul just about 10 yards outside of the Dallas area, and Javi will take it. The shot is over and out for a Dallas goal kick, not a bad effort but we are at minute 65 and still tied at 0-0.
This could be a dangerous time, as RSL has had issues in the final 20 minutes of matches at Dallas. This RSL team however has 6 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches, so if they get to that point still tied, it could be an interesting final 15. Dallas on the attack but RSL break it up and Javi is taken down at midfield and a yellow card is given to Ferreira, and RSL have another free kick. Cleared out and Dallas play another long ball that is cleared by Olave and played long but Fabi is offside. Wow bad marking by RSL and a shot is saved by Rimando, but then it bounces out to Shea who again was in the area unmarked and he puts it past Nick and the shutout streak is over as FC Dallas goes up 1-0.
Now what will RSL do in the final 20 minutes, it is clear they can't continue to play the way they have been. FC Dallas make a change as Guarda comes in for Rodriguez, as FCDallas will look to protect their 1-0 lead with a defensive midfielder in for a striker. It is funny how everyone knew that it was the final 20 minutes that have caused issues for RSL in Dallas in the past and that goal was right as we hit the last 20 minutes. A good ball by Andy but Nat can't get it on goal and RSL's best chance of the night goes out for a goal kick and RSL will have to start their attack over again. Turnover in the final third and Dallas is on the attack, cleared by Olave and Andy gets called for a foul.
Well a Dallas free kick and just pushed over the bar by Nick for a Dallas corner kick. Wow horrible defense again by RSL as the original ball goes wide but comes back into the area and Atiba Harris pounds it past Rimando and FC Dallas are up 2-0.
This is gut check time for RSL, will they at least find a way to get on the scoreboard tonight? In the first half FC Dallas couldn't take advantage of their chances but in the second half they have done well and converted. I am sorry but a good deal of the issues tonight have been Robbie Russell either being beaten or out of position and I wouldn't be surprised if Beltran is in the lineup next weekend. So is there a player who can come in and give RSL a spark, or are they just going to look to stop the bleeding?
Saborio has been in for 20 minutes and only had one touch on the ball. Well RSLmake their final change as Warner comes in for Will Johnson, maybe a bit of offensive spark? Well this one is getting a bit more physical as we have just 10 minutes left. Dallas is playing with almost everyone behind the ball, good ball to Fabi, but his header goes right to Hartman.
Well I thought this one could be a match that caught RSL napping a bit, but I have been very unimpressed with the efforts of almost every RSL player tonight. Passing hasn't been nearly as sharp as it should be and the backlinehas looked very pedestrian tonight. Now this doesn't mean you throw in the towel, you have to look at the larger picture and the reality is that RSL played a decent half but FC Dallas is a top team in MLS this year and we now know why David Ferriera isn't an All Star as he refused to give up a ball to a wide open Cunny.
I think this 4-5-1 has failed and I doubt we will see it again, but with the style that FC Dallas plays it was something that made good sense and unless RSL can do something magical in the 3 minutes of stoppage time, they will lose their 4thmatch of the season. RSL had their chances tonight but as much help as they got from the posts last week against Chicago, they found tonight that the posts were on the side of FC Dallas.
Well, if you called the effort "flat" I think you would have hit it on the head, I thought RSL should have come out and attacked early, but with the 4-5-1 it was clear that wasn't the gameplan. It may have been the conditions, but as the fittest team in MLS, you can't use those excuses. RSL got outplayed by a team that was hungrier than they were, last year the loss at Dallas was a turning point that got RSL refocused and after a lot of accolades in recent weeks, perhaps a punch to the nose is just what the doctor ordered for Real Salt Lake. Now two matches at home against teams in the bottom quarter of MLS, there will be no excuses for not getting 6 points from those matches.
OFF MY SOAPBOX