Defensive lapses end Dallas' hot streak
As the saying goes, all good things must eventually come to an end.
FC Dallas’ 19-game unbeaten streak fell by the wayside Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium after a 2-0 defeat to reigning MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake.
Unfortunately for Dallas, who could very well play RSL in the conference semifinals, both goals were conceded after defensive errors.
“We haven’t had many defensive lapses this year,” Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman said. “But tonight we had two, and they cost us.”
WATCH: Full match highlights
On the first by Ned Grabavoy, the Salt Lake veteran had a few steps on center back Ugo Ihemelu and was able to head the ball past FCD goalkeeper Dario Sala following an impeccable service from teammate Robbie Russell.
“That was one of those balls we had the ability to win, but didn’t,” Hyndman said. “They took the ball out wide and it looked like Ugo and Grabavoy got to the ball at the same time. Dario [Sala] was in no man’s land. It was a goal that was stoppable.”
The game marked Ihemelu’s first start since suffering a concussion against Philadelphia on Aug. 8. All in all, Hyndman was pleased with his veteran center back’s performance in his first action in over two months.
“He was fine — it was a difficult game,” the FCD manager said. “He had to face two good forwards. I was most worried about his heading and the contact but he did fine.”
Ihemelu wasn’t the only starter back in the first XI following a long absence. Captain Daniel Hernandez also returned for his first action since Sept. 16 against New York. He has been out with a right hamstring injury.
“I don’t know if any of our midfielders had a good game.” Hyndman said. “They put a lot of pressure on us the whole game. Dax [McCarty] and Daniel [Hernandez] spent a lot of time chasing the game. It was a very difficult day.”
RSL added a second goal from Javier Morales, who also got the secondary assist on Grabavoy’s tally, just before full time. On the play, Robbie Findley spotted Morales, who was running free behind the Dallas defense and easily punched in Findley’s cross to make it 2-0.
Last week, Hyndman and several FCD players lamented how flat they were in a 2-2 draw to Colorado. And though they performed quite well in the opening 15 minutes on Saturday night, FCD were plagued by inconsistent play.
“We knew how important this game was, and we wanted to keep the streak alive,” Hyndman said. “We did everything we possibly could. We had a few chances but just couldn’t put any of them away.”