Match Recap: Real Salt Lake 2, FC Dallas 0
RSL will finish 2010 unbeaten at Rio Tinto, extending their home unbeaten streak to 25 games. The result ends FC Dallas' overall unbeaten streak at 19 games, which equals the league record set by the Columbus Crew set in 2009.
Dallas had employed a 4-5-1, and the extra midfielder proved effective as RSL spent much of the initial 15 minutes chasing the ball. As the half wore on, however, the home side was able to adjust and find the open spaces in which to work.
However, neither side would challenge the opposing ‘keeper much. Nick Rimando had a few dangerous crosses to deal with in the first half, and Dario Sala had to snuff out several balls delivered over the top of the defense.
In the half, Dallas managed just two shots — both of them on goal. RSL had four attempts, with only one on target.
Perhaps the best shot of the half may not have been a shot after all. David Ferreira delivered a free kick from 30 yards out, which bounced just in front of the outstretched foot of Daniel Hernandez. The ball ended up going in on goal unimpeded and nearly caught Rimando off guard.
Dallas' Jeff Cunningham, a second-half substitute, enjoyed the first real chance of the game when a midfield turnover gifted him a three-on-one opportunity. However, Rimando made a quick reaction save to his near post to keep Cunningham on 132 career MLS goals, which has him tied for the all-time scoring record.
But the 0-0 scoreline was finally breached a few minutes later when midfielder Grabavoy headed the ball over Sala to put his team up 1-0.
The setup came from a rushed chip into the box by Robbie Russell. Grabavoy managed to slip in front of the defender on the play and got to the ball just ahead of Sala, his soft chip floating over the 'keeper.
Dallas mounted a late fury with frequent possession in the final third, but they failed to challenge Rimando.
Real Salt Lake then put the game away in the waning minutes as Morales finished Findley's pass after the duo sneaked in behind the defense.
For full stats, visit the MLS MatchCenter.
FC Dallas 0 at Real Salt Lake 2
FC Dallas (12-3-14) vs. Real Salt Lake (15-4-10)
October 16, 2010 -- Rio Tinto Stadium
RSL -- Ned Grabavoy 3 (Robbie Russell 5, Javier Morales 9) 59
FC Dallas -- Dario Sala, Heath Pearce, George John, Ugo Ihemelu (Ruben Luna 83), Jair Benitez, Jackson Goncalves, Dax McCarty (Atiba Harris 71), David Ferreira, Daniel Hernandez, Marvin Chavez, Milton Rodriguez (Jeff Cunningham 46).
Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran, Ned Grabavoy (Andy Williams 71), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborio (Jean Alexandre 89), Fabian Espindola (Robbie Findley 78).
RSL -- Fabian Espindola (caution; Reckless Foul) 75
RSL -- Andy Williams (caution; Reckless Foul) 80
DAL -- Heath Pearce (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 88
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: Bill Dittmar; Greg Barkey
4th Official: Ramon Hernandez
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-71-degrees
FC Dallas unbeaten streak ends at 19 games, equaling Columbus Crew's record for longest all-time in MLS
Real Salt Lake guarantees home-field advantage in Western Conference Semifinal Series