FC Dallas Thunderstruck In Utah

Michel and Jair Benitez will need to continue their tandem against Vancouver on Saturday. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
Michel and Jair Benitez will need to continue their tandem against Vancouver on Saturday. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By Will Martin

Two weeks ago on August 22 at Toyota Stadium it was a short handed Red For 90 crew who had to claw and battle in getting a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake. Courtesy of a red card assessed to Blas Perez.

They met again September 6 at Rio Tinto Stadium under cloudy stormy skies with only one point separating each other.

As the skies threatened for a good part of the match RSL would return the favor with a 2-1 victory of their own courtesy of one player who was injured most of the year and another player who made his impact in less than a minute.

Forward Robbie Findley would give Real Salt Lake the early lead in the 31st minute of play after a Luke Mulholland rebound was set up towards Findley. Robbie proceeded to find the net.

That in itself was a welcome surprise as it had been 55 weeks since getting a goal last in regular season play. August 17, 2013 to be precise. Findley also had scoring chances earlier in the match in the 8th and 16th minutes when a header almost broke up a scoreless tie.

FC Dallas would come back to tie things up in the 62nd minute when Michel rifled a blast through a crowd of players past goalie Nick Rimando.

Real Salt Lake would take the lead in the 77th minute when Javier Morales set up for a corner kick. The ball headed towards Alvaro Saborio who proceeded to crank a head shot past el Matador for the score.

Saborio had spent four months injured. Actual time on the field was about five to ten seconds before the winning goal was made. You could actually see the look of shock on the faces of the Rio Tinto faithful.

Statistically this was a game Real Salt Lake dominated in shots (17-8), shots on target (5-1), Blocked Shots (8-2), Duels Won (62-44), and Tackles (20-10).

This marks the first time in three months FC Dallas has lost two in a row.

“To give up two goals like that is not what we wanted. The guy just coming on the field we know how to mark him, but it just didn’t happen,” said Matt Hedges. “We fought back to get in a position to win and to give it up like that is hugely disappointing that’s all you  can say about that.”

Zach Loyd echoed that sentiment.

“It’s unfortunate to give up another goal on a set piece,” said Zach Loyd. “For us that’s something that we’ve been strong with for a couple months, and these last few weeks we’ve gotten away from that so I think this week we need to get back to the drawing board and clean up some things on set pieces.”

Oscar Pareja summed up the road trip this way.

“It’s been tough the last two weeks with road trips getting no points, but that’s the league. The league is tough like that and I’m proud of this team,” Pareja said. “They’ve done an excellent job so far and they control their own destiny. The boys have done so much good things this year and maybe these last two results can’t bring us down. We need to keep pushing. We know where we are, we know where we want to be at and we will be fine.”

As it stands FC Dallas sits at 12-9-6 (42 points). Four points back of Real Salt Lake 12-5-10 4 (46 points).

Team Pareja returns to Toyota Stadium for a 7pm game against the Vancouver Canucks while Real Salt Lake heads to Seattle on Saturday to play the Sounders. A game that could have impact for the Supporters Shield in the MLS.

Upcoming Schedule
9/13 vs Vancouver Whitecaps  7:30pm