FRISCO, Texas – FC Dallas took over sole possession of first place in the Western Conference with a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake at a chilly FC Dallas Stadium on Saturday night. A moment of magic from Fabian Castillo broke the deadlock in the 70th minute and moment of madness from RSL keeper Josh Saunders, punished by Jackson, sealed FCD's third-straight home win on the young season.
From the start, things didn't bode well for RSL. For one, they were 0-8-2 all-time at Dallas. For another, they were undermanned, missing usual starters Alvaro Saborio, Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman, and Tony Beltran, among others, to international duty. The makeshift nature of their lineup was noticeable, as they struggled to string passes as they normally do.
Meanwhile, Dallas pressed the attack from the first kick, creating chance after chance, out-shooting the visitors 13-7.
However, Dallas and RSL have combined to allow just one goal in the first half this season so it was no surprise the two sides went into the half scoreless.
FCD goalkeeper Chris Seitz, making his first start since donating bone marrow last fall, was called into action early in the match. A 13th-minute cross from Joao Plata flashed across the box finding Luis Gil, but the US Under-20 international’s shot was smothered by an onrushing Seitz.
The best chance of the half fell to FCD in the 22nd minute as some fantastic play from Cooper and Jackson sprung Zach Loyd in the right side of the box with acres of space. His cross to Cooper left the FCD forward with the goal at his mercy and Saunders badly out of position. RSL defender Nat Borchers saved the day, clearing Cooper’s shot off the line to keep the game scoreless at the half.
Dallas nearly opened the scoring again in the second half as FCD sprung a quick counterattack to the feet of Ferreira. His excellent ball put Jackson in on Saunders, who made his RSL debut in place of US national team call-up Rimando, but the Brazilian's effort was blasted straight at the RSL keeper who palmed it out for a corner kick.
FCD kept attacking in waves and finally opened the scoring in the 70th minute. Castillo, Dallas’ best player on the night, found some space down the left side and drilled his shot into the upper corner on the near side to give Dallas a deserved lead. The goal is Castillo’s first of the season while Jackson notched his first assist of 2013 as well.
OPTA CHALKBOARD: How Fabian Castillo owned Lovel Palmer
Having allowed four goals in the last 15 minutes of the match this season, the slim lead was hardly safe, and RSL nearly made the hosts pay minutes later. In the 77th minute, Robbie Findley -- who had his best match since rejoining RSL in the offseason -- raced into the attacking third. His cut-back shot was saved well by a sprawling Seitz, but second-half substitute Devon Sandoval looked sure to score the rebound with an open net in front of him. But Dallas center back Matt Hedges stabbed a foot in to deflect the sure goal wide of the net.
Then, from the ensuing corner, RSL's Olmes Garcia -- the big Colombian striker acquired in February -- sent a diving header off the post.
FCD made their opponents pay for not putting away their chances. Jackson capped off his solid night with his second goal of the season in 81st minute. After a tricky back pass, Saunders took a bad first touch under pressure from Jackson, who slid in to knock the ball off the RSL keeper's feet and into the net.
Before it was over and RSL fell to 0-9-2 all-time in Dallas, midfielder Yordany Alvarez was shown his second yellow card, for diving, in the 83rd minute.
The shutout was Seitz's first since August 2009, when, ironically enough, he was with RSL.
FCD return to action next Saturday at New England Revolution, while RSL return home to host the Seattle Sounders.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Fabian Castillo (DAL)||Wow, he's back to his old, electrifying self. He owned Lovel Palmer with his speed and craft. And the goal was sweet.|
|2||Matt Hedges (DAL)||Other than a spectacular block to stop a Sandoval sure goal, he did nothing special. Which usually means a centerback has had a great game.|
|3||Robbie Findley (RSL)||So that's why RSL wanted him back -- speed, skill, constant threat. Who knew he was willing to work his butt off defensively, too?|