FC Dallas traveled to Real Salt Lake on Saturday in the first of a regular season - US Open Cup, home and home series; but came away empty handed as mental errors cost them the game. In a hard fought and physical match between two of MLS best sides little things made a big difference.
"This was a huge, huge match for us," said RSL coach Jason Kreis. "Probably the biggest one we’ve had this season against what I think is arguably the team that is in the best form right now. A positive result, doesn’t matter to me the score, to get all three points at home against them was big for us. It wraps up the series where we drew with them away and win at home."
First Kevin Hartman's un-characteristic gaff on a usually simple long range shot let the ball bounce off his hands and into the net. "It just seemed like the ball moved late," Hartman said. "They obviously had guys in the box kind of anticipating me losing it and I just thought about that too much and it maybe knuckled and got behind me. It was unfortunate. I think the most important thing for me is it really kind of changed the game."
The two sides were evenly match most of the game, aside from Hartman's gaff. But one distinct missing piece really hurt FC Dallas: the absence of captain Daniel Hernandez in midfield. Hernandez was left out of the travel squad as an injury precaution, and FCD clearly suffered in the midfield for his absence.
"We’re going without our captain and team leader, Daniel Hernandez," coach Hyndman said. "We left him behind at the last minute and I think that there was a little bit of confusion in our midfield between the three of them. But I thought they did do a pretty good job of just trying to stay compact and block the passing lanes and try to make the play predictable going out wide."
Bobby Warshaw started in the captain's place and was adequate most of the game, but FCD lacked their cohesiveness in midfield and the possession suffered. A particularly egregious pass by Warshaw as time was running out allowed RSL to get a 2nd goal at the death of the game. Fabian Espindola with the goal after Warshaw's brutal error.
Without Hernandez's calming influence and with no one of the caliber of David Ferreira to break down RSL with a game changing pass, the Reds Stripes never really threatened to light up the score board. RSL was first sides in the last month to have enough pace in the back to counter the penetrating FCD mids. Jamison Olave in particular had the closing speed to make up for his beaten teammates on multiple occasions.
The two teams will now travel to Dallas and meat again in the US Open Cup Quarterfinals on Tuesday night.
RSL – Andy Williams (Kyle Beckerman) 47
RSL – Fabian Espindola (Will Johnson) 94+
RSL – Kyle Beckerman (caution; Persistent Infringement) 29
DAL – Jackson (caution; Reckless Tackle) 37
RSL – Jamison Olave (caution; Tactical Foul) 67
DAL – Brek Shea (caution; Tactical Foul) 71
DAL – Bobby Warshaw (caution; Tactical Foul) 90
RSL – Nick Rimando (caution; Delaying a Restart) 93+
FC Dallas – Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Jair Benitez, Brek Shea, Bobby Warshaw, Andrew Jacobson (Ricardo Villar 30), Eric Alexander (Eric Avila 60), Jackson, Marvin Chavez (Milton Rodriguez 75).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Bruno Guarda, Ruben Luna, Andrew Wiedeman.
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Jackson 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Jackson 2); FOULS: 14 (Bobby Warshaw 3); OFFSIDES: 4 (Marvin Chavez 2); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Ricardo Villar 2); SAVES: (Kevin Hartman 5)
Real Salt Lake – Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Chris Schuler, Jamison Olave, Tony Beltran, Will Johnson, Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy (Fabian Espindola 66), Andy Williams (Collen Warner 81), Luis Gil, Alvaro Saborio (Jean Alexandre 88).
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish, Arturo Alvarez, Nelson Gonzalez, Rauwshan McKenzie.
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Fabian Espindola 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Fabian Espindola 2); FOULS: 14 (Kyle Beckerman, Alvaro Saborio 3); OFFSIDES: 3 (Alvaro Saborio 2); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Kyle Beckerman 3); SAVES: 2 (Nick Rimando 2)
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee’s Assistants: Craig Lowry, Claudio Badea
4th Official: Armando Villarreal
Time of match: 1:51
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 88 degrees