Real Salt Lake (12-5-10, 46 points, West #3), defeated Western Conference foe FC Dallas (12-9-6, 42 points, West #4) 2-1 in front of a sold-out Rio Tino Stadium on Saturday night.
It proved to be a night of firsts for the Claret-and-Cobalt, as RSL FW Robbie Findley notched his first goal of the year to give the home side the lead in the 31st minute. FC Dallas went on to equalize in the 62nd minute with a spectacular free kick taken by FCD MF Michel. Real Salt Lake was not to be outdone though, as RSL FW Alvaro Saborio made his first appearance for the club after missing the last three months due to a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot. The Costa Rican international went on to score the game-winner in the 77th minute just 13 seconds after entering the match on a corner kick taken by RSL MF Javier Morales.
Real Salt Lake began the match on the front foot creating the first chance of the night in the sixth minute. The play started with Morales receiving the ball on the right flank and playing a square pass along the top of the 18 yard box. RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman dummied the pass at the top of the area setting it up for RSL DF Chris Wingert who bent a right-footed shot to the far post that missed just inches wide.
The home side continued to threaten in front of goal early on, registering a golden opportunity in the eighth minute. RSL MF Luke Mulholland got the ball on the right side and sent a low cross into the box that Findley back-heeled at the near post. The speedy forward was unable to direct his attempt on frame as it continued to roll across the face of goal where a lunging Beckerman was just out of reach.
Findley almost gave the Claret-and-Cobalt the lead in the 16th minute. RSL FW Olmes Garcia sent another fantastic cross into the box from the right side that found Findley just outside the six yard box. The fleet-footed forward showed off his ability in the air, beating his defender for a header that went just wide of the far post.
RSL finally found its long awaited goal in the 31st minute. The play started with a Dallas clearance out of the box that Mulholland picked up 40 yards out. The Englishman played the ball to Morales on the left wing who worked his way into space around the top corner of the area, eventually playing the ball back to an onrushing Mulholland. The 26-year-old blasted a shot from 25 yards out that deflected off of a Dallas defender right to the feet of Findley at the top of the six, who then easily buried a shot to the far corner for his first tally of the year.
FC Dallas saw its first real chance of the night at the start of the second half. Dallas picked up a turnover in its own third and found FCD FW Fabian Castillo at the halfway line who sprinted down the field. Castillo played a great through ball for FCD FW Tesho Akindele who made his way to the 18 yard box before laying off a pass for Castillo behind him. The speedy Colombian worked his way into the area before playing FW Andres Escobar on the left side. Escobar took a touch to set himself up on his left foot, ultimately cutting down his angle as his effort went into the side netting.
FC Dallas went on to equalize off a set piece in the 62nd minute. The Hoops earned a free kick just outside the area on the right side. FCD MF Michel stepped up to take the kick and blasted a beautiful left-footed shot through RSL’s defensive wall into the far corner of the net.
In search of a game-winner, Real Salt Lake head coach Jeff Cassar made a double substitution in the 76th minute right before an RSL corner kick, with MF Luis Gil entering the match for Mulholland and Saborio replacing Garcia. The appearance marked the first appearance for the Costa Rican since RSL’s 5-2 win at Houston Dynamo on May 11. Real Salt Lake’s all-time leading goal scorer spent three months recovering from a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot that saw him miss the 2014 FIFA World Cup this past summer.
Saborio made a spectacular return to Rio Tinto Stadium, giving Real Salt Lake the lead in the 77th minute just 13 seconds after entering the match. Saborio set up in the box as Morales took the ensuing corner that the lethal striker headed into the back of the net – his first touch of the match – to put RSL up 2-1.
Real Salt Lake was able to close out the match and grab a vital three points to keep the Claret-and-Cobalt third in the Western Conference and fourth in the league with seven matches remaining in the regular season.
The Claret-and-Cobalt returns to action next Saturday on the road, when it heads to the Pacific Northwest to take on Seattle Sounders FC at 8:30 p.m. MT at CenturyLink Field. The match will be nationally broadcast on NBC Sports Network, ESPN 700 AM and 102.3 La Gran D FM.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 2–1 DAL
· Saturday’s attendance of 20,545 marked Real Salt Lake’s 12th sell-out in MLS play this year, and 11th straight (if including RSL’s international friendly v. Tijuana). The sell-out marks the club’s 42nd sell-out across all competitions since Rio Tinto Stadium’s 2008 opening.
· Tonight’s match was the third and final regular season meeting between Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas. RSL went 1-1-1 against the Hoops in 2014, playing to a scoreless draw at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 24 and falling 2-1 at Toyota Stadium on Aug. 22 before tonight’s win.
· Tonight’s win improved the Claret-and-Cobalt’s all-time record to 10-14-5 against FCD in MLS play. RSL now posts a 9-4-3 record in the Beehive State, outscoring Dallas 28-18. The win is the Claret-and-Cobalt’s first home win against Dallas since May 26, 2012, when RSL DF Nat Borchers scored in the 93rd minute to give RSL a 3-2 win over FCD.
· Real Salt Lake’s all-time leading goal scorer FW Alvaro Saborio made his first appearance for the club since RSL’s 5-2 win over Houston on May 11. The lethal striker subbed on in the 76th minute, scoring the game-winner 13 seconds later for his seventh goal of 2014. The Costa Rican international has been recovering from a fifth metatarsal fracture in his right foot suffered during Costa Rica’s pre-World Cup training camp at the end of May.
· Newly signed FW Sebastian Jaime made his first appearance for the club tonight, subbing on in the 67th minute. Jaime was acquired from Chilean Primera División club Unión Española at the start of August.
· Real Salt Lake FW Robbie Findley scored the opening goal of the game in the 31st minute for his first tally of the year. The start marked his fifth of 2014. RSL FW Olmes Garcia was paired up top with Findley, marking the first time ever that the two forwards have started together for RSL.
· Tonight marked the second-straight start for MF Javier Morales who missed Real Salt Lake’s 2-1 loss at Dallas on Aug. 22 and its 2-1 win over Seattle on Aug. 16 due to a hip injury. After providing the assist on Saborio’s game-winner, the Argentine now has seven goals and ten assists in 24 games this season.
· Real Salt Lake was without its 2014 leading goal scorer FW Joao Plata and DF Carlos Salcedo against Dallas tonight. Plata was called up to the Ecuadorian National Team for the second time in his career for a pair of friendlies. Salcedo was named to Mexico’s U-21 camp, which serves as a preparatory squad for Mexico’s 2016 Olympic efforts. Both will return to the club before its road match at Seattle Sounders FC next Friday.
· Real Salt Lake now posts an 8-1-5 record at home in 2014. RSL claims an 84-17-28 mark in its last 129 home games dating back to the beginning of 2008, the first full season under GM Garth Lagerwey.
· Despite their World Cup departure, Rimando and Beckerman rank first and second, respectively, amongst active MLS players in all-time regular season minutes played (Rimando: 32,913; Beckerman: 28,356), games played (NR: 364; KB: 345) and games started (NR: 364; KB: 316).
REAL SALT LAKE 2–1 FC DALLAS
SATURDAY, SEPT. 6, 2014
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 1 2
FC Dallas 0 1 1
RSL – Robbie Findley – 31’
DAL – Michel – 62’
RSL – Alvaro Saborio (Javier Morales) – 77’
DAL – Zach Loyd (Yellow; Foul) – 54’
RSL – Tony Beltran (Yellow; Foul) – 85’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando;, Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman (C), Luke Mulholland (Luis Gil, 76’), Ned Grabavoy; Robbie Findley (Sebastian Jaime, 67’), Olmes Garcia (Alvaro Saborio, 76’)
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella; Abdoulie Mansally; Cole Grossman, Sebastian Velasquez.
FC Dallas (4-4-2): Raul Fernandez; Jair Benitez (Moises Hernandez, 77’), Matt Hedges, Zach Loyd, Je-Vaughn Watson;, Michel, Peter Luccin (Tesho Akindele, 45’), Victor Ulloa, Kellyn Acosta (Mauro Diaz, 81’); Andres Escobar, Fabian Castillo
Substitutes not used: Chris Seitz; Walter Cabrera, Brian Span, Ryan Hollingshead, David Texeira
Referee: Armando Villareal
Assistant Referees: Mike Rottersman, Richard Gamache
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Weather: Clear and 76 degrees