Western Conference rivals FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake walked into Wednesday night's match short-handed and weary. They both walked away from the match with a point that seemed the most fair result. FCD was gifted the lead just before the halftime break as Tony Beltran was inexplicably whistled for a handball in the box with Brek Shea converting the spot kick for his second goal of the year.
In the second half, a Will Johnson pass split the defense and found Emiliano Bonfigli whose low, hard shot beat Chris Seitz to level the match and split the points. I think both sets of fans, coaches and players would say it's a fair result in a game where FCD and RSL had the same amounts of shots and corner kicks. A few thoughts on tonight's match:
A Hard Fought Effort The effort was certainly there from both sides tonight and it was a decent match of soccer to watch. The chances were at a premium and while the penalty kick for Dallas was ridiculous, the final result was what it should have been and another one that was relatively easy to predict. Getting a point from RSL while playing without Villar, Perez, Jacobson and Hartman isn't something you can really complain about.
The 4-4-2 Tonight's 4-4-2 with Sealy and Castillo up top wasn't a disaster, but wasn't great either. I was lucky enough to have a view from a suite tonight that was nearly right on the center line and I can tell you I thought Sealy made some very intelligent runs. He certainly wasn't running around aimlessly out there. At the end of the day, however, it's tough to really fault Schellas for whatever happened out there with the offense. It was a stopgap formation that we likely won't see again. I still feel that Dallas is going to be a very, very good team once they can get all their pieces back on the field.
After 8 games Dallas has 11 points which is on pace for 47 this season, a number that would be around a 6-8 seed. When you take into account that 5 of those games have come against teams with at least 10 points(there are 7 besides Dallas), and that Dallas has yet to play a game with David Ferreira as well as the injury to Ricardo Villar, I think you have to be pretty happy with everything. What I love is that FC Dallas is 3-0-2 at home, you don't win a playoff spot by home form, but you can lose one by not taking care of business in your own house.
Another Man Down The rumors on Carlos Rodriguez's injury is a dislocated elbow and not a break(Edit: It has been confirmed by Carlos that it was a dislocated elbow). That would be fantastic news for Dallas and something that could see him miss less than a month. It's a gruesome injury, no doubt, but not an injury like a hamstring that can be lingering throughout a season. FCD may have dodged a bullet on this one, but we'll find out more later.
What are your thoughts on the match tonight? Another quick turnaround 72 hours from now with a game against a resurgent Galaxy side.
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman
General thoughts on the match…
I thought we really came out very slow. I thought that first 10, maybe 15 minutes, they had numerous opportunities in our attacking third to create shots and put the ball in the back of the net and we were able to survive. I thought after that we started picking it up, putting a lot of pressure on them, probably the latter 20 minutes of the first half, a lot of crosses, which is something we were talking about. We felt like with (Jamison) Olave out they would have a little trouble adjusting and we came close, but weren’t able to get the goal. We got a PK called. I didn’t see it, but the way the ball went off, I thought there might have been a hand ball.
The foul count was 12 to 5 in the first half and that was a real concern. It was very disruptive and a real concern. I think when Carlos (Rodriguez) went down with a dislocation of the elbow, it must have taken a lot out of the players. You don’t know what that does when a teammate is injured and everybody is looking at it, so I don’t think we had a very good second half, but we had an effort.
On the performance of Chris Seitz…
Chris is a solid keeper. As you know, a couple of years ago, he started for Philadelphia and I think it might have been the wrong place for him, an expansion team, giving up a lot of goals. I think, mentally, he was shot. We were able to pick him up and I think he finally has confidence. Last week when he went in, he wasn’t prepared. Kevin got hurt in the warm-ups, so (Seitz) really wasn’t nervous or scared, he just went in. So I was very interested to see how he would respond in this game, being able to sleep on it and prepare himself mentally and I think that he had a good game.
FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz
General thoughts on the match…
I think we came out with really good intensity. Towards the end of the first half we were really putting them under pressure. We created a lot of good chances. Defensively, we did well. We limited their chances and they’re a good team. They have been really successful on the road. The draw is a little disappointing for us, but as they say, on to the next one.
Did the early save you were forced to make give you confidence?
Yeah, anytime you get to touch the ball early in a game, you feel more comfortable. All ‘keepers want to get a feel for the ball early. Defensively, we held them to a decent amount of shots. We did pretty well.
Talk about your save on Saborio in the second half.
It was one of those where, you kind of hope he takes a big touch, but he didn’t take one big enough that I could come out and make a play. Brek made one heck of a run back to make his next move predictable for me and that gave me time to come out and close him down. But honestly it all started with Brek making that trek back following a free kick deep in our attacking third of the field.
FC Dallas midfielder Brek Shea
You were attacking for a lot of the first half, what were you able to take advantage of in RSL’s defense?
They crowd the middle so much and play so much in the center that we were able to take advantage out on the flanks and get some good centering passes and crosses off.
Talk about your penalty kick goal
It’s good to get a goal. Doesn’t matter how you get it. I am glad that I was able to covert it and help the team.
Were you glad to get a point out of this match considering all the injuries?
We have some new players, injuries, suspensions… It was good to get a point. I thought we should have won, but it’s good to at least get a point.
FC Dallas forward Jonathan Top
How did it feel to make your debut?
It felt good to get those first minutes in against Salt Lake. We weren’t able to get the win, but everyone worked hard and now we have to focus on our match Saturday against L.A.
What does it mean to you to get playing time?
It means a lot. It means a lot for any of the younger guys to get playing time. Whenever one of us gets time, we are all happy for one another. We’ve worked hard for it and we are always pushing each other. We just need to be ready whenever that time comes.
What did Schellas say to you before you went in?
He said just to play with confidence and work hard – make it difficult for them to play out of the back. That’s what I tried to do.
Was the speed of the game faster than what you were used to?
It was a little faster, but we see that in training every day. I did need to adapt quickly to it but overall I felt fine out there.
Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis
Does having not won in Dallas get into guys’ heads?
I don’t know. That’s a better question for the players. I’m pleased with a point, but I wanted all three. That’s kind of where I am at. We’re pleased with a result. We’re pleased we didn’t lose our third game in a row. With a little bit more and a little bit better, we come out of here with all three.
On the penalty kick call…
I am again disappointed in another referee’s decision. I have not watched the replay yet. For me, there is just no way that can be called a penalty kick. Whether it hits the player’s arm or not, it just seems indifferent. The Dallas player has not even touched the ball so it’s not like they were making an attempt on our goal. Someone who reads the game or is involved with the game more, knows that is never a penalty kick.
What did you do at halftime?
Just a couple of small tactical adjustments. I asked the guys for a little bit more, for a little bit better. This is the second game in a row where we were in a tough spot. We gave up a goal right before halftime and that can be very mentally draining. We stuck together and played a much better second half. I am very pleased with both of our second half responses in our last two games so we’ll see if we can’t stretch that 45 minutes into 90.
Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran
On the penalty kick call
I’m going to have to see it again to really comment on it, but just from what I thought happened during the play, I cleared it off of somebody and it came back and barely grazed my elbow. I was pretty disappointed with the call at the time. There is really no chance for me to get out of the way of that ball. I have to check it out again and then I will be more able to comment on it.
Real Salt Lake forward Emiliano Bonfigli (through a translator)
On making a difference in the game right away…
You work hard to get as many minutes as you can and luckily today I was able to get a lot of minutes. I’m proud to be able to come in and score a goal to help the team out and get a point.
Real Salt Lake midfielder Will Johnson
On the goal by Emiliano Bonfigli…
I just turned, saw him making a run and just tried to put it in (Bonfigli’s) path. I think he did the hard part. I’m just happy that we got the goal back and we were able to get a good road point.
Everyone’s really happy for him. He’s been working really hard in training and in the reserve games. Obviously with the Espindola suspension tonight, it was probably more than likely that he was going to get an opportunity to come in. This game is all about taking your opportunity and he’s certainly done that tonight. It’s put him in a good spot for more extended playing time in the future.
On Real Salt Lake being winless in Dallas…
Every game’s different and for whatever reason we haven’t been able to get a win down here, but we’ve played well at times and we’ve had opportunities at times, but it just hasn’t quite happened for us yet. But, we’ll take a road point in Dallas any day. On the road, we just try to get to a point where we give ourselves an opportunity to win. We gave ourselves that opportunity tonight and we’re unlucky not to come out of here with the three points.