Match Notes- FCD 2 : 1 RSL

More wrap-up from West Semifinal's opening leg

10-30-10@FCD_Rimando (620x350)

Photo Credit: 
Tom Pennington / Getty Images

LATE GOAL SENDS
REAL SALT LAKE TO 1-2 DEFEAT AT FC DALLAS IN
WEST SEMIFINAL LEG ONE

After FW Fabian
Espíndola Tally Five Minutes In, Defending Champs Can’t Hang on for First-ever
Result in Frisco;

Nothing but Win Will Do for RSL
in Next Saturday’s Decisive Leg Two at Rio Tinto Stadium
 

 

FRISCO, Texas (Saturday, October 30, 2010)
– Real Salt Lake came firing out of the gates in Leg One of its Western
Conference Semifinal Series
against FC Dallas, but a late goal for
the home side in both halves would give Dallas a 2-1 win in front of
11,003 fans at Pizza Hut Park. The result, RSL’s ninth loss in as many games at
FC Dallas across regular season and postseason play, means that only a win in Leg
Two next Saturday, Nov. 6 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy (8:00 p.m. MT kickoff)

will do if the defending champs are to carry on in the 2010 MLS Cup
Playoffs. 

Despite claims this week of coming to Texas and possibly
sitting back in a defensive posture, Real Salt Lake instead seemed intent on
imposing its will from the opening whistle – and it didn’t take long for the
strategy to pay dividends. Just five minutes in, FW Fabian Espíndola ran
onto MF Andy Williams’ looping ball and cut inside before unleashing a
left-footed shot from 20 yards into the upper left corner of goal, giving the
champs a dream start to the series. Real Salt Lake nearly escaped into the
locker room with an advantage, but former Claret-and-Cobalt striker Jeff
Cunningham
would have his say just before the half, barreling his way
through three defenders inside the area before finishing low past GK Nick
Rimando
to even the match in the 44th minute.

With FC Dallas gaining more and more momentum in the
second 45 minutes, Real Salt Lake was dealt a severe blow when MF Javier
Morales
picked up a second yellow card and subsequent ejection in the 69th
minute, forcing him to miss not only the final quarter of today’s affair, but
also next Saturday’s second leg in Sandy. However, referee Kevin Stott would
not take long to bring the sides back to square, judging Dallas MF Atiba
Harris’
high elbow on an aerial challenge with RSL MF Will Johnson
on the bench sideline a straight red card offense just six minutes later to set
up 10-v-10 soccer for the final 15 minutes. Leg One’s decisive moment came in
the 88th minute, when FC Dallas substitute attacker Eric Avila
punctuated a quick build-up through the middle with a stunning blast from 22
yards that flew past a diving Rimando and inside the far left post.

 

Real
Salt Lake Match Notes
 

  • The Western Conference Semifinal Series is contested as
    an aggregate goals series in which no weight is placed on away
    goals. Should Real Salt Lake record a one-goal regulation win over FC
    Dallas in next Saturday’s second leg in Sandy, the squads will then square
    off in a 30-minute mini-game (played in its entirety) to determine a
    series winner. Should that end even, the teams will then decide
    advancement to the Western Conference Championship by kicks from the
    penalty spot.
     

 

  • The red card issued to Morales (two cautions received)
    happened to be the first one shown to an on-field player for Real Salt
    Lake this season
    , occurring in the squad’s 41st game across
    all competitions (Espindola was shown a red card while on the bench on
    Sept. 22 @ Árabe Unido). Morales was shown his first yellow for a minor
    altercation with FC Dallas MF Daniel Hernandez in the 49th
    minute – for which the FCD captain also received a caution – and was
    issued the second for a reckless foul as he entered a 50/50 challenge against
    MF Dax McCarty with a high boot in the 69th minute.

 

  • Next Saturday will not mark the first time Real Salt
    Lake will not have the services of Morales in postseason play, as the
    Argentine playmaker was forced from last year’s MLS Cup final against the LA
    Galaxy at Seattle’s Qwest Field after just 22 minutes in due to injury.

 

  • Tonight’s loss marked the first defeat for Real Salt
    Lake in Conference Semifinal Series action
    , dropping its first round
    record to 3-1-1. However, this is not the first time RSL has
    trailed in an aggregate goals Semifinal Series, as the Utahans fell behind
    1-2 after giving up a pair of first half goals in last year’s Leg Two at
    Columbus, only to storm back for three unanswered scores across the final
    50 minutes to post a 4-2 series win (3-2 W in Leg 2).

 

  • The defeat was also the first for Real Salt Lake in a
    non-home playoff contest, the team’s record in away and neutral affairs
    dropping to 1-1-3
    . The squad is now 3-2-3 in its eight career MLS
    Cup Playoff contests
    .

 

  • Espíndola’s 5th minute tally was his
    first-ever MLS Cup Playoff goal in now seven such appearances, and was the
    fastest playoff goal scored by RSL (Morales – 37’; 11/05/09 @ CLB,
    West Semifinal Leg 2). Espíndola returned to the starting line-up today
    after missing RSL’s regular season finale last weekend at Colorado
    (caution accumulation).

 

  • The assist by Williams was his first for Real Salt Lake
    in his eighth postseason appearance for the Utah side (also has one goal
    scored in postseason play – 11/05/09 @ CLB, West Semifinal Leg 2). His
    eight helpers from 19 MLS Cup Playoff contests ties him with LA’s Landon
    Donovan for the seventh most in MLS postseason history in the category
    (1-RSL, 1-CHI, 6-CLB).

 

  • MF Will Johnson played the final 22 minutes of
    the contest, making his fifth appearance off the bench this season. The
    Canadian international had been hampered this week by a strained left
    hamstring suffered during training on Tuesday.