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FC Dallas vs Real Salt Lake: The Good and Bad

A late set piece goal earned RSL all the points as FCD lost on the road again.

MLS: FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

FC Dallas suffered their seventh league defeat of the season with a 1-0 loss at the hands of Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. A goal from veteran RSL center back Jamison Olave was enough to earn the home team a win on the night and keep their hopes of winning the Supporters’ Shield while for Dallas, it wasn’t the desired result or warm-up for a week that also contains a trip to Central America and a Texan Derby.

The Good

There weren’t very many good points to take out of this one, but there were some. Kellyn Acosta had another impressive performance and was everywhere as he was once again heavily involved in the thick of the action going forward, despite starting in a right wing position which he has little experience of playing. With Oscar Pareja changing wingers nearly every game since Fabian Castillo’s departure, Acosta has emerged as another potential candidate for the position and should it come down to a decision being made on who the full-timer should be there, Kellyn hasn’t done himself any harm with this performance in that role.

The defense held its own well at the back again too and were unlucky not to get a clean sheet because of a poorly defended quick set piece on RSL’s part. Aubrey David fared decently in the absence of the suspended Atiba Harris even though he had his problems going forward while Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, and Maynor Figueroa all continued their solid recent form although it wasn’t enough to get a result in Utah. That trio has also played quite a lot lately and with a Texan Derby coming up next weekend, it’ll be interesting to see if they and others will get any rest for the game in Nicaragua later this week.

The Bad

It’s perhaps not surprising given Pareja’s decision to go with three defensive midfielders for a tough away game, but Dallas suffered offensively and didn’t perform as well as we’ve been getting used to seeing in recent weeks. Mauro Diaz had a quiet and ineffective game by his standards, as did Michael Barrios and Maximiliano Urruti. Yet despite that, Dallas did have some chances that they didn’t take and were made to be punished in the end with an RSL victory.

Just as we thought the team had finally managed to solve this problem, the set piece issues were once again highlighted with RSL scoring their winner off a rebound on a corner kick. It was the ninth goal that FCD allowed this year via a corner or a free kick, which is one of the higher amounts allowed in the league this year and shows that things aren’t quite settled yet on this side of the team’s game.

It was a tough opponent in a tough environment with the game being played at altitude, but Dallas could have left Utah with at least a point with some better concentration or finishing on the night. It wasn’t to be and the first of three away games in seven days ended in defeat.

Dallas will now head to Nicaragua to face Real Esteli in their second CONCACAF Champions League group stage match on Wednesday before returning to Texas to face Houston in the third and final Texas Derby of the season at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday.