Preview: RSL and FCD meet without US national team stalwarts

RSL vs DAL, May 26, 2012

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REAL SALT LAKE vs FC DALLAS

RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah

May 26, 2012 (WEEK 12, MLS Game #116)

7 p.m. MT (KUCW-30; FS-SW)

Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas meet in a Western Conference clash for the second time this season when the clubs face off Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real return to action after a weekend off, their last match a huge 1-0 win at Seattle Sounders FC that put them atop the West at the time. FC Dallas started a two-game week on the road as their winless run was stretched to eight games, dropping a 2-1 decision at the Chicago Fire.

REFEREE: Abbey Okulaja. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Scott Kachmarik; 4th: Tyler Ploeger

MLS Career: 113 games; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 19; pens: 26

INJURY REPORT

  • REAL SALT LAKE – OUT: DF Chris Schuler (L foot bone stress response); DOUBTFUL: DF Chris Wingert (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Javier Morales (R quadriceps strain); PROBABLE: FW Cody Arnoux (L adductor strain) ...
  • FC DALLAS – OUT: MF David Ferreira (R foot surgery); MF Ricardo Villar (R foot strain); MF Andrew Wiedeman (sports hernia repair); MF Bobby Warshaw (R foot fracture); DF Ugo Ihemelu (concussion symptoms); DF Alex Lee (R hip strain); DF Hernan Pertuz (R ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Fabian Castillo (L ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MF Carlos Rodriguez (L elbow dislocation)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: RSL: Nick Rimando, Kyle Beckerman (USA)

SUSPENDED: DAL: Brek Shea (through June 16)

WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Kyle Beckerman
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Javier Morales, Jamison Olave, Alvaro Saborio ... DAL: Jair Benitez, Fabian Castillo, Daniel Hernandez

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (21 meetings): Real 7 wins, 27 goals ... FC Dallas 11 wins, 31 goals ... Ties 3

AT SALT LAKE (11 meetings): Real 7 wins, 21 goals ... FC Dallas 3 wins, 12 goals ... Ties 1

FUTURE MATCH: 8/18: Real Salt Lake vs. FC Dallas, 7 p.m. MT

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. A second-half goal from RSL’s Emiliano Bonfigli canceled out a Brek Shea penalty in the first half to leave the teams tied at 1-1 in the April 25 meeting at FC Dallas.
  • Real Salt Lake have still never won in Dallas. FCD is 8-0-2 all-time in league games between the clubs, and have also won a game in the MLS Cup Playoffs (in 2010) and a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal (last year).
  • FC Dallas have not won in Utah since 2007. Real have won the last five meetings between the teams at home, including both meetings all-time at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • Coaches record: Schellas Hyndman vs. RSL: P8 W2 L4 D2 ... Jason Kreis vs. SJ: P12 W5 L5 D2

LAST MEETING (MLS):

4/25: DAL 1, RSL 1 (Shea 46+ pen – Bonfigli 72)

  • FC Dallas took the lead just before halftime. RSL defender Tony Beltran was called for a handball in the box by referee Geoff Gamble, and Brek Shea drilled home the penalty kick.
  • But Real Salt Lake answered back in the 72nd minute. Just three minutes after coming on as a substitute, Emiliano Bonfigli finished off a spell of possession for the visitors, collecting Will Johnson's chipped through ball, taking one touch in the area and finishing with a low shot past FCD goalkeeper Chris Seitz.
  • FC DALLAS (4-4-2): Chris Seitz - Zach Loyd, George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez - Carlos Rodriguez (Jackson 56), Daniel Hernandez, Bobby Warshaw (Hernan Pertuz 80), Brek Shea - Fabian Castillo, Scott Sealy (Jonathan Top 68).
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Will Johnson (Jonny Steele 83), Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil (Ned Grabavoy 55) - Javier Morales - Paulo Junior (Emiliano Bonfigli 69), Alvaro Saborio.

REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake return to action after a weekend off, stretching their unbeaten streak to five games last time out, a 1-0 win against Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. Real lead the Western Conference with 26 points from 13 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's only goal came in the 50th minute. Picking up the ball in midfield, RSL's Luis Gil dropped a ball over the Sounders FC backline that Fabian Esp”ndola volleyed with his left foot from about 16 yards out, beating goalkeeper Bryan Meredith to the far post.
  • RSL head coach Jason Kreis made five changes to the team that reached a scoreless draw with the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Nick Rimando returned between the posts in place of Kyle Reynish, Nat Borchers came back into central defense for Chris Schuler, Will Johnson and Luis Gil started in the midfield for Jonny Steele and Javier Morales, and Fabian Espindola replaced Paulo Junior up top.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Chris Schuler 20) - Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson - Luis Gil (Jonny Steele 75) - Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio (Yordany Alvarez 81).

TEAM NEWS

  • With the victory in Seattle, RSL maintained their hold on the lead in the Western Conference through the bye week and to the start of Week 12 of the season.
  • “It was a mature performance, they were ready from the first minute,” RSL head coach Jason Kreis said. “I thought we started out incredibly well over the first 10 minutes and then things went completely the other way and Seattle put us under for the next 15-20. Our guys held their composure and didn’t let it rattle them and in the end got what I think they deserved which was a win.”
  • Real recorded back-to-back shutouts for the second time this season and stretched their defensive goalless streak to 248 minutes.
  • “It really sets the right mentality for this group,” defender Nat Borchers said. “I think that we always want to defend first, and attack secondarily. To get a zero on the road is so huge in this league. It’s so hard to do. You’ve got to weather so many storms, and I thought we did a great job.”
  • RSL also kept Sounders FC without a single shot on target for the match. “I looked at the stats sheet and saw it... but it didn’t feel that way,” Kreis said. “It felt like we were under the gun for a long time during the first half and especially during a stretch at the end. I think that’s a bit of an anomaly, that stat.”
  • When Chris Wingert went down with injury after just 20 minutes, Chris Schuler stepped in to play left back. Schuler had made seven appearances this season – all in central defense.
  • “Absolutely fantastic - that is not an easy thing to do,” Kreis said. “Number one, you’re not properly warmed up. Number two, everyone else out there is already flying. Number three, it’s not your natural position. Huge credit to Chris and another representation of how mentally strong he is.”
  • Fabian Espindola netted his first goal since April 7 for the game-winner, pulling back into a tie for the team lead with Alvaro Saborio.
  • “He had a child last Friday and actually wasn’t at training because he was at the hospital. I made the decision to play him Saturday night which isn’t typical but knowing how special those days can be,” Kreis said “I thought it could be a really special night for him. It ended out that we had to take him out because of an ejection, tactical substitution, and we gave him a few nights rest he didn’t even travel to Chicago. I thought he was spectacular tonight.”
  • Real took advantage of the week off to take a three-day break, while also playing an exhibition match against Brigham Young University, a practice match that ended 1-1.
  • “It’s been nice for me,” said midfielder Will Johnson. “Obviously I had the injury and I was trying to play catch up with fitness and sharpness, and so that took a little while and it took a lot of hard work. I haven’t had many days off so this break for me has been great. I feel like I’m really going to be 100 percent starting with the Dallas game.”
  • With Nick Rimando called into the U.S. national team for its upcoming five matches, Kyle Reynish will likely step between the posts. “I would say we like him,” RSL GM Garth Lagerwey said. “He’s unbeaten in league play. I don’t know how he could prove himself much better than that. He’s a different style than Nick, but I have a lot of confidence in Kyle. I think he’s perfectly capable of stepping up and filling in for Nick while he’s gone.”
  • RSL will also be without Kyle Beckerman, also called into the U.S. squad. “Kyle, our captain, is the heart and soul of the team, so I don’t know that you can replace Kyle Beckerman,” Lagerwey said. “Everybody’s got to chip in a little bit to replace him, but Yordany Alvarez is a young player and we’re excited for him to get the opportunity. He did well in some instances for us last season, and we want to see him out there this Saturday and see how he does.”

FC DALLAS

FC Dallas saw their winless skid reach eight games, the Chicago Fire coming back for a 2-1 win Wednesday at Toyota Park. FCD is in a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference with 13 points from 14 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • FC Dallas struck first in the 41st minute on a corner kick. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson initially saved a header from Blas Perez, but rookie Matt Hedges headed home the rebound as Johnson was out of the goal.
  • The Fire answered four minutes later. Sebasti·n Grazzini took a pass well out from goal, dribbled twice to his left then curled a left-footed shot just over the outstretched hand of Kevin Hartman.
  • FC Dallas had a golden opportunity to take back the lead in the 50th minute, when Dominic Oduro took down Bruno Guarda in the penalty area. But Johnson brilliantly saved the ensuing Perez penalty kick.
  • In the 62nd minute, the Fire earned a penalty kick of their own. Kevin Hartman answered Johnson’s save by saving Grazzini’s attempt, but Marco Pappa was first to the ball to knock home the rebound.
  • FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made one change to the team that was pegged back to a 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union at FC Dallas Stadium. Zach Loyd returned from suspension in place of Hernan Pertuz.
  • FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Kevin Hartman - Zach Loyd, George John (Carlos Rodriguez 46), Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez - James Marcelin (Bruno Guarda 46), Daniel Hernandez - Bryan Leyva (Scott Sealy 72), Andrew Jacobson, Jackson - Blas Perez.

TEAM NEWS

  • The FC Dallas winless streak reached eight games, the club’s longest since the end of the 2008 season and the start of 2009. The club record is 10 games, July 2-Sept. 10, 2005.
  • “We’re asking so much of our guys. We have nine injuries. We have four academy guys that are on the trip. We’re asking guys to help us with the one thing that they can do, and they have been doing, which is working,” said FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman.
  • The FCD injury list grew even longer when George John was forced off at halftime. “I thought the key for us was losing George John at halftime with a potential concussion," Hyndman said. “We wanted to keep it safe. That was his injury. So we're hoping that he'll be OK to jump back in to the game this weekend.”
  • With John going off the field, Zach Loyd shifted from right back to center back and Carlos Rodriguez came in for a second consecutive game as a mid-game substitution at fullback.
  • “Zach comes in and plays inside and plays in the center and I don’t think Zach’s played in the center for a while. Matt’s [Hedges] just out of college, I think he’s performed very admirably,” said goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. “But unfortunately I think there was a lesson there maybe tonight that we can take something from this game and hopefully add it to one of the experiences of 2012 and it’ll make us a better team.”
  • Rookie Matt Hedges was making his third start in the last four games, and scored his first professional goal. “We’ve had a lot of injuries and a lot of guys who don’t normally play are getting a lot of minutes so I think they’re getting good, quality experience,” Hedges said. “When we get the [starters] back, they’ll be able to help us a little more.”
  • Bruno Guarda made his first appearance since April 21, when he made his only start of the season. Guarda came on at halftime for James Marcelin, who was starting his third game out of the last four.
  • “That was a tactical substitution. We felt like we needed just a little more offensive play and Bruno Guarda came in and he’s the one that drew the penalty kick,” said Hyndman. “I think tactically and with decision making we were pretty good, but I just think that there were key moments in the game where we didn’t get it done.”
  • FC Dallas have won just two of nine games when scoring first – the poorest record in the league. They have three losses and four draws.
  • “I can say this about a few of our games. I don’t know if we’re just having players getting tired, this is our third series of three games in a week, [the Fire] will feel it when they go to Columbus,” Hyndman said. “You don’t get a chance to recover, and then when you get injuries, you don’t get a chance to treat things to recover.”