Match Preview: FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake

FCD seeks vital three points at Rio Tinto Stadium

REAL SALT LAKE vs FC DALLAS
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah
Oct. 5, 2013 (WEEK 32, MLS Game #294)
7 p.m. MT (KUCW; TWCSN-TX)

Real Salt Lake will look to refocus their attention on the chase for the Supporters’ Shield, against an FC Dallas fighting for their playoff lives, as the two Western Conference clubs meet Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real are coming off a 1-0 league win at Vancouver last weekend, which left them tied atop the West with Seattle and just a point behind overall leader New York. FCD is five points outside of the top five and the playoff positions, following a 4-2 home loss to Columbus last weekend.

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REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Kevin Duliba; 4th: Jesus Cisneros
MLS Career: 95 games; FC/gm: 24.1; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 15; pens: 14

DISABLED LIST: RSL: Rich Balchan. Benji Lopez … DAL: Eric Hassli; Ugo Ihemelu (season-ending injury)
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy, Olmes Garcia, Javier Morales, Chris Wingert … DAL: David Ferreira, Jair Benitez
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Lovel Palmer, Yordany Alvarez, Carlos Salcedo … DAL: George John, Blas Perez, Je-Vaughn Watson, Jackson, Fabian Castillo
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (25 meetings): Real 9 wins, 34 goals … FC Dallas 13 wins, 37 goals … Ties 3
AT SALT LAKE (13 meetings): Real 8 wins, 25 goals … FC Dallas 4 wins, 16 goals … Ties 1

2013 (MLS)
3/23: DAL 2, RSL 0 (Castillo 71; Jackson 81)
7/13: DAL 0, RSL 3 (Morales 39; Grabavoy 79; Garcia 90)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Behind goals from Javier Morales, Ned Grabavoy and Olmes Garcia, Real won for the first time ever in Texas in a 3-0 victory on July 13. Fabian Castillo and Jackson scored second-half goals to give FC Dallas a 2-0 win March 23 in Frisco.
  • After 21 matches in the state of Texas, against both Houston and Dallas, going 0-18-3, the win in the last meeting was RSL’s first ever in the Lone Star State.
  • RSL is now 1-9-2 at FC Dallas all-time in league games between the clubs; FCD has also won a game in the MLS Cup Playoffs (in 2010) and a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal (in 2011)
  • FCD’s win at Rio Tinto Stadium in the final meeting last year was their first win in Utah since 2007.
  • Coaches record: Jason Kreis vs. DAL: P16 W7 L7 D2 … Schellas Hyndman vs. RSL: P12 W4 L6 D2

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • Real took the lead in the 39th minute. An FC Dallas free kick just outside the RSL box was blocked, and RSL took off on the break. Abdoulie Mansally’s attempted pass was kicked by Zach Loyd, but ricocheted directly Javier Morales in stride. He then nutmegged Loyd with a quick shot from inside the area that seemed to surprise goalkeeper Raul Fernandez as it found the bottom right corner.
  • Real Salt Lake put the match away in the 79th minute. Mansally was again involved, sending in a cross that found a wide-open Ned Grabavoy alone in the middle of the box, and he powered a right-footed shot into the right upper corner of the net.
  • Substitute Olmes Garcia stretched it to 3-0 in the 90th minute. Luis Gil sent in a cross from the right that was whiffed on by Joao Plata, but it fell to Garcia to turn home on the half volley with a right-footed finish.
  • FC DALLAS (4-4-2): Raul Fernandez - Zach Loyd, Stephen Keel, Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez - Je-Vaughn Watson (David Ferreira 66), Andrew Jacobson, Michel, Jackson (Ramon Nunez 46) - Fabian Castillo, Kenny Cooper (Eric Hassli 59).
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-2-3-1): Josh Saunders (Jeff Attinella 51) - Chris Wingert, Carlos Salcedo, Nat Borchers, Abdoulie Mansally - Ned Grabavoy, Yordany Alvarez - Sebastian Velasquez (Joao Plata 61), Javier Morales, Luis Gil - Robbie Findley (Olmes Garcia 70).

FC DALLAS

FC Dallas suffered their third consecutive defeat, dropping a 4-2 decision to the Columbus Crew on Sunday evening at Toyota Stadium. FCD is in eighth place in the Western Conference with 40 points from 30 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Crew took the lead in the ninth minute through some strange fortune. Put in alone on FCD goalkeeper Raul Fernandez behind the home defense, Federico Higuain rounded the 'keeper, only to see George John clear the ball. But the clearance was sent straight back at Higuain, where it caromed into the net.
  • Eight minutes later, the Crew doubled the lead when Dominic Oduro blazed forward out of midfield up the right flank before finding Jairo Arrieta open in the area for an emphatic finish off the underside of the crossbar.
  • The home side pulled a goal back three minutes later. Mauro Diaz was fouled just inside the halfway line but quickly popped up and hit a perfect through ball to Blas Perez, who buried a low shot in the far corner after going in alone on Columbus 'keeper Matt Lampson.
  • The Crew restored the two-goal margin just before halftime. Dominic Oduro capped a fine individual effort where he won a 50-50 ball and got free in the penalty area before placing his shot past Fernandez.
  • FCD again narrowed the deficit in the 54th minute when fullback Zach Loyd carried the ball up the left flank and centered to Diaz just outside of the Crew area. Diaz then beat several Columbus defenders on the dribble and pirouetted around Lampson before tapping in.
  • But the game was put out of reach in the 86th minute when Bernardo Anor controlled a chipped pass from Higuain and slammed it home from inside the penalty area.
  • FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made two changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Zach Loyd came in at left back for Jair Benitez, and Mauro Diaz started in the center of midfield in place of David Ferreira.
  • FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Raul Fernandez - Kellyn Acosta (Michel 77), George John, Matt Hedges, Zach Loyd - Erick (David Ferreira 53), Andrew Jacobson - Jackson, Mauro Diaz, Fabian Castillo (Kenny Cooper 72) - Blas Perez.

TEAM NEWS

  • FC Dallas saw their losing streak extended to a season-long three games in the loss to Columbus, and have won just twice in their last 17 league matches.
  • “I think it’s a terrible loss for us,” said FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman.  “We realize that we’ve got to get points and ... for us to get in the playoffs, we need at least three wins. Now we’ve got four games to do it.”
  • FCD also matched their season-high by conceding four goals, having lost to Seattle Sounders FC 4-2 on May 18.
  • “I think our results are deserving [of booing from supporters],” Hyndman said. “Not just tonight, but the results we’ve been having. At the end of the day, it’s all about the results and we’re not getting them. I think results, not playing well, whatever it is, I think the fans need to hold us [to a higher standard], as we should be holding ourselves higher.”
  • The trip to Salt Lake is one of two road games remaining for FCD over their final four matches. On their travels, they are 2-8-5; they are 8-2-5 at Toyota Stadium.
  • “We’ve been trying to focus on the three games left at home and now this is one game that’s gotten away from us. Can we win on the road? Yes, but we still have to make this game up,” said Hyndman.
  • Blas Perez netted his first league goal since in four games and now has 11 goals on the season, tied for fifth-most in MLS.
  • “At this point, we have to win at any price. Sometimes it takes getting to the end of the season to react,” Perez said. “We did nearly the same thing last year with a rough slump towards the end of the season, but we still have 12 points to fight for and I hope that we can win them all.”
  • Mauro Diaz scored his third goal in the last seven games, all since making the first of his three MLS starts on Aug. 17 vs. Portland. Diaz also contributed his second assist in the last four games.
  • Zach Loyd made his first appearance in eight matches, returning from an ACL sprain in his left knee that forced him from the field early in the Aug. 11 match vs. the LA Galaxy. Loyd came in at left back for Jair Benitez.
  • “I’ve played right and left back throughout my career, so I’m pretty comfortable on the left," he said. "I like being able to cut in onto my right and bend the ball towards the goal just because it’s easier for people to get on the end of it."

REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake put an end to their losing streak after two games, defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-0 on Saturday afternoon at BC Place. RSL are in a tie for first place in the Western Conference with 51 points from 30 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's only goal came just nine minutes into the game. RSL striker Devon Sandoval raced past a Vancouver defender and headed a Lovel Palmer cross from the right side low past goalkeeper David Ousted.
  • RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella was called upon to make just one save for the visitors.
  • RSL head coach Jason Kreis made 10 changes to the team that fell 2-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Rio Tinto Stadium. In advance of the U.S. Open Cup Final, only Devon Sandoval kept his place.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Jeff Attinella - Lovel Palmer, Chris Schuler, Brandon McDonald, Abdoulie Mansally (Joao Plata 88) - Cole Grossman (Ned Grabavoy 72), Yordany Alvarez, Sebastian Velasquez - Luis Gil - Olmes Garcia (Chris Wingert 83), Devon Sandoval.

TEAM NEWS

  • Ahead of the U.S. Open Cup final, RSL head coach Jason Kreis ran out the same lineup that won a reserve league match vs. Chivas USA the week before.
  • “Us being able to put anyone on the pitch and still win games is one of the large benefits of having a philosophy of playing in a system that we stick to 90 percent of the time,” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. “We train all of our guys in that same system, we train all of our guys against opponents system’s within ours. So we know our weaknesses and we know our strengths, so we believe that if we put in the right effort that our strengths will come out.”
  • RSL snapped a two-game losing slide with the win in Vancouver, and won on the road for the first time in five games, since the victory at Dallas on July 13.
  • “This was just all about opportunity,” Kreis said. “There was no reason to be fearful. There was no reason to come here thinking that we may lose ... just go out there and give it everything we have and if we come away with a result, you will have helped the team tremendously both with the points and also to put us back into winning ways.”
  • Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella recorded his first MLS shutout, making his fifth career league appearance (fourth start), and first since Aug. 21.
  • “It took a few games, but I'm happy to finally get a win, especially a shutout,” Attinella said. “A lot of credit goes to the defense. They played unbelievable today.”
  • Chris Schuler was able to return to the back four for the first time in a league game since May 11, and Lovel Palmer and Abdoulie Mansally made their first MLS appearances since Aug. 3.
  • “The center back pairing ... Schuler was excellent, McDonald was excellent; Attinella was really, really spot on for us,” Kreis said. “He made the huge save in the first half when we needed him to, and he came off the line really well throughout the match.”
  • Cole Grossman made just his second league start of the campaign, first since March 23, and Sebastian Velasquez made his first league start since July 27.
  • On Tuesday, D.C. United scored the game’s only goal for victory in the U.S. Open Cup final at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • Here’s the RSL team: Nick Rimando; Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Carlos Salcedo (Devon Sandoval, 81), Tony Beltran; Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy, Sebastian Velasquez (Khari Stephenson, 69), Javier Morales; Joao Plata (Olmes Garcia, 57), Alvaro Saborio
  • “I think the guys came out in the second half,” Kreis said. “You saw the energy early on. We were right at them again, but for just for one reason or another [we] just couldn't bundle the ball over the end line, and unfortunately that is the only thing that matters. It is the only statistic that matters. It is the only thing that anybody will remember is that we lost our third championship opportunity in our stadium.”