Preview: RSL, FC Dallas meet with streaks on the line

Opponents in the Western Conference Semifinals a year ago, Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas renew acquaintances when the clubs meet Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real are coming off a wild 3-3 draw with the New England Revolution last weekend, stretching their unbeaten run to five games. FC Dallas have won back-to-back games by shutout, most recently a 2-0 home against Columbus, and are riding a three-game winning streak.

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REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Craig Lowry; JAR (opposite): Claudio Badea; 4th: Armando Villarreal
MLS Career: 135 games; FC/gm: 26.9; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 42; pens: 53

INJURY REPORT:
REAL SALT LAKE – OUT: MF Javier Morales (L ankle fracture dislocation), FW Paulo Jr. (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Arturo Alvarez (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: FW Fabian Espíndola (L hamstring strain); FW Álvaro Saborío (R knee swelling)
FC DALLAS – OUT: DF Edson Edward (R knee ACL tear); MF David Ferreira (R ankle); FW Maykel Galindo (R hamstring strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES:
DAL: Fabian Castillo (Colombia U-20)

SUSPENDED:
RSL: Nat Borchers (through July 9)

WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD:
RSL: Will Johnson
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS:
RSL: Jean Alexandre, Robbie Russell, Chris Wingert
DAL: Jackson Goncalves, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Andrew Jacobson, Brek Shea, Zach Loyd

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (19 meetings): Real 6 wins, 24 goals … FC Dallas 11 wins, 30 goals … Ties 2
  • AT SALT LAKE (9 meetings): Real 6 wins, 19 goals … FC Dallas 3 wins, 12 goals … Ties 0
  • The teams played to a scoreless draw May 22 at Pizza Hut Park, the first time Real Salt Lake have ever come away with a point on their travels to Dallas.
  • The teams met in the Western Conference Semifinals a year ago, with FC Dallas winning the first leg 2-1 at home, then advancing after a 1-1 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium. They split their two regular-season meetings.
  • FC Dallas had won the first nine meetings at home all-time against Real Salt Lake in league and MLS Cup play, outscoring RSL 20-6.
  • The road team hasn’t won in the series since June 14, 2007, when FC Dallas claimed a 1-0 victory at Rice- Eccles Stadium.
  • Coaches' records: Schellas Hyndman v RSL: P6 W2 L3 D1 … Jason Kreis vs. DAL: P10 W4 L5 D1

LAST MEETING

  • 5/22: DAL 0, RSL 0
  • Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando made three saves and FC Dallas netminder Kevin Hartman made two.
  • Once again a game was delayed at Pizza Hut Park, as referee David Gantar was forced to call a halt to the proceedings in the 83rd minute, the exact same time FCD’s match against the LA Galaxy was postponed May 1. The delay lasted an hour and 52 minutes before restarting play.
  • FC DALLAS (4-4-2): Kevin Hartman - Jackson Goncalves (Bobby Warshaw 83), George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Zach Loyd - Eric Alexander (Eric Avila 77), Andrew Jacobson, Daniel Hernandez, Brek Shea - Marvin Chavez, Fabian Castillo (Ruben Luna 72).
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson - Andy Williams (Collen Warner 72) - Arturo Alvarez (Jean Alexandre 81), Alvaro Saborio.

REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake extended their undefeated run to five games in dramatic fashion, overcoming two deficits and man disadvantage to come back for a 3-3 draw with the New England Revolution on Monday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL sits in fourth place in the Western Conference, with 27 points from 16 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The match took a significant turn after just three minutes. Nat Borchers was sent off by referee Yader Reyes after pulling down Benny Feilhaber in the area as he burst through, and Rajko Lekic finished off the penalty.
  • The Revolution doubled the lead in the 16th minute when Chris Tierney sent a low, hard free kick under the wall and inside the right post, but RSL responded in the 24th minute when a free kick from midfielder Andy Williams caromed off the post before Will Johnson coolly tapped in the rebound.
  • The hosts pulled even in the 56th minute when Revolution defender Kevin Alston was whistled for a handball in the box on an RSL cross and Álvaro Saborío buried the ensuing penalty.
  • But New England nosed back in front in the 63rd minute when Sharlie Joseph headed home a Benny Feilhaber free kick. Yet the match took another turn just four minutes when defender Ryan Cochrane was shown a second yellow card.
  • That set the stage for another Real equalizer, this time a through ball from Saborio to put Espindola alone into the box and he cut the ball past Matt Reis and inside the right post for the 3-3 draw.
  • RSL coach Jason Kreis made one change to the side that cruised to a 3-1 win against Toronto FC at Rio Tinto Stadium. Andy Williams came into the team for Kyle Beckerman.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Robbie Russell (Kyle Beckerman 46), Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers (sent off 3), Tony Beltran - Collen Warner (Chris Schuler 9), Ned Grabavoy, Will Johnson - Andy Williams - Luis Gil (Fabian Espindola 63), Alvaro Saborio.

TEAM NEWS

  • The draw was the second in four games (along with two wins) at Rio Tinto Stadium since Real Salt Lake saw their long home league unbeaten streak put to an end.
  • “The heart on this team, the fight and everything, was phenomenal. The work rate was great and guys moving around and just doing whatever had to be done to get some kind of result. Hopefully, at the end of the season we’ll look back and this will be one point gained instead of two points lost,” Will Johnson said.
  • After having scored 10 goals over a 12-game stretch, Real have now hit for three goals in back-to-back games.
  • “I’m really, really proud of our guys,” RSL head coach Jason Kreis said. “To get to 2-2 and then have another disappointing decision and a free kick goal scored off of that, and then fight back again to get to 3-3 is a huge credit to our group.”
  • After going nearly two months without a goal in league play, Fabian Espindola has scored four goals in his last six appearances since June 4.
  • “[Espindola has been] looking to take chances, wanted to be on the ball and make things happen," Kreis said. "We need more players that want to do that right now.”
  • All three Revolution goals came from deadball situations; RSL has now allowed seven of their 12 goals from standard situations. Tierney’s free kick was the first direct free kick; three of the seven have come from free kicks.
  • “I have to assume that it went under the wall,” Kreis said. “Obviously that’s not good enough. The wall — never do we want them jumping. We want them staying still and if someone hits the ball over them and into the top corner, we can credit them. But if somebody hits the ball into the lower corner because we jumped, now we’ve got some questions to answer.”
  • “They didn’t do anything to cause us to worry,” Williams said. “We kept creating chances and getting shots. Even down 2-0 I thought we outplayed New England. Their chances all came from set pieces tonight.”

FC DALLAS

FC Dallas ran their winning streak to three games with another shutout, defeating the Columbus Crew 2-0 on Saturday evening at Pizza Hut Park. FCD has 34 points from 16 games on the season, in second place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • FC Dallas took the lead in the 58th minute as winger Brek Shea continued his rich vein of form. Goalkeeper William Hesmer spilled a Marvin Chávez shot from close range and Shea was able to corral the rebound and fire home from close range.
  • FCD doubled the lead as Jackson continued his recent hot hand, racing onto a through ball from Andrew Jacobson and chipping Hesmer from the center of the box to put the game away.
  • The Crew finished the game with 10 men after Andy Iro was sent off for a second bookable offense.
  • FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made no changes to the team that rolled to a 4-0 victory against the Portland Timbers at Pizza Hut Park
  • FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Kevin Hartman - Zach Loyd (Andrew Wiedeman 92+), George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez - Daniel Hernandez, Andrew Jacobson - Jackson, Eric Alexander (Ricardo Villar 60), Brek Shea - Marvin Chavez (Milton Rodriguez 83).

TEAM NEWS

  • Brek Shea scored for a fourth consecutive match in the 2-0 win against Columbus, pulling into a tie atop the MLS Golden Boot standings along with Charlie Davies (DC), Landon Donovan (LA) and Thierry Henry (NY).
  • “I don’t really think about being tied for the league lead in goals," Shea said. "I’m just trying to help the team score goals. I’d much rather play with a lead. Our team plays with a lot more confidence when we’re up a goal.” Said FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman: “He has continued to develop confidence. When a player starts to develop confidence, you’ll find his teammates will pass him the ball more because they have confidence in him.”
  • Shea has started 10 consecutive games as a wide midfielder after opening the season in central defense and also playing fullback.
  • “Think about him being the team’s leading scorer despite how many games he played at left back and center back before we got ourselves healthy,” said Hyndman. “It is not just the goals he scores, he gets some good balls and he keeps the defense under a lot of pressure.”
  • Making a second consecutive start, both in the midfield, Jackson again scored a goal. Jackson had played primarily as a fullback in each of his previous appearances this season.
  • “Jackson has come to life since his trip to Brazil, since his marriage. I’ve got a few guys telling me now they are thinking about getting married,” Hyndman said.
  • In two games since Fabian Castillo has been with the Colombian under-20 national team, FC Dallas have scored six goals while not allowing any.
  • “I think [Shea and Jackson] have really made a difference, and of course, Marvin [Chavez] up front. Defenders are having so much trouble handling those three and our center midfield has really done a good job. Andrew Jacobson, Eric Alexander and Daniel Hernandez are really causing teams a lot of problems now,” Hyndman said.
  • Kevin Hartman has backstopped eight shutouts in the last 11 games. His nine clean sheets lead MLS. “We just try to be consistent. I think we've been able to overcome adversity and play quality soccer. We're all each others’ biggest fans. We have a good thing going,” Hartman said.