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MLS Match Preview: FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake

FC DALLAS vs REAL SALT LAKE
FC DALLAS STADIUM, Frisco, Texas
March 23, 2013 (WEEK 4, MLS Game #31)
7:30 p.m. CT (UDN; TWCSN-TX; KTVA-ABC)

FC Dallas look to maintain their perfect home record when they face a Real Salt Lake club looking to overturn history as the clubs meet Saturday evening in Frisco. FCD made it two wins from two home matches in dramatic fashion last Sunday, a late goal giving the club a 3-2 Rivalry Week win against the Houston Dynamo. Real Salt Lake are coming off a 1-1 draw with Colorado in their home opener – and are still looking for a first win ever in the state of Texas.

DOWN FULL GAME GUIDE (PDF) 

REFEREE: Juan Guzman. SAR (bench): Ian Anderson; JAR (opposite): Matthew Nelson; 4th: Ted Unkel MLS Career: 22 games; FC/gm: 25.5; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 6; pens: 4 

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: DAL: Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica; vs. Panama); Blas Perez (Panama; vs. Jamaica); Raúl Fernandez (Peru; vs. Chile) … RSL: Tony Beltran, Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando (USA; vs. Costa Rica); Alvaro Saborío (Costa Rica; vs. USA); Abdoulie Mansally (The Gambia; vs. Côte d’Ivoire) 

HEAD-TO-HEAD 
ALL-TIME (23 meetings): FC Dallas 12 wins, 35 goals … Real 8 wins, 31 goals … Ties 3 
AT DALLAS (9 meetings): FC Dallas 8 wins, 19 goals … Real 0 wins, 6 goals … Ties 
2 RETURN MATCHES: 7/13: FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake, 8 p.m. CT; 10/5: Real Salt Lake vs. FC Dallas, 7 p.m. MT  
LAST YEAR (MLS)
4/25: DAL 1, RSL 1 (Shea 46+ -- Bonfigli 72) 
5/26: RSL 3, DAL 2 (Saborio 59, 76; Borchers 93+ -- Hedges 75; Perez 85) 
8/18: RSL 1, DAL 2 (Saborio 76 -- Castillo 61; Ferreira 94+) 

  • 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 (in 2011). 
  • FCD’s win at Rio Tinto Stadium in the final meeting last year was their first win in Utah since 2007.
  • Real still have yet to ever win in the state of Texas. All-time combined vs. Houston and Dallas, over all competitions, Real are 0-18-3 in the Lone Star State.
  • Coaches record: Schellas Hyndman vs. RSL: P10 W3 L5 D2 … Jason Kreis vs. DAL: P14 W6 L6 D2  FC DALLAS FC Dallas won for the second time in as many starts on their home ground, getting a late winner for a 3-2 victory against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday afternoon in Frisco.

LAST MATCH 

  • FC Dallas took the lead in the 34th minute. Michel floated in a free kick from 40 yards that found the head of Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell. His attempted clearance came off the back of FCD’s George John, bounding past Tally Hall and into the corner of the net.
  • Dallas doubled their advantage just a minute later when David Ferreira’s corner was blasted home by Andrew Jacobson for his first goal of the season.
  • The Dynamo pulled a goal back in the 79th minute. Kofi Sarkodie took the ball from Michel in the right corner and slipped the ball across the box to Andrew Driver, who slammed a left-footed drive off the crossbar and off the turf into the goal.
  • The visitors then tied the score in the 83rd minute as FCD goalkeeper Raul Fernández spilled a Cam Weaver cross into the path of Brad Davis, who easily curled the rebound into the empty net.
  • But the Texas Derby had one final twist as Kenny Cooper won “El Capitán” in the 90th minute. Michel’s cross looped over defender Je-Vaughn Watson and while Cooper missed a header, he made no mistake when the ball fell into his path, prodding home on the second chance.
  • FC DALLAS (4-1-4-1): Raul Fernandez - Zach Loyd, George John, Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez (Je-Vaughn Watson 73) - Michel - Jackson (Fabian Castillo 80), Andrew Jacobson, David Ferreira, Kenny Cooper (Eric Hassli 90) - Blas Perez. • FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman made two changes to the team that fell 3-1 to Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center. Jair Benitez and Blas Perez came into the team, in place of Bobby Warshaw and Fabian Castillo.  

TEAM NEWS

  • FC Dallas have won both of their home matches this season, and have not lost a league home game since a 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy last July 28.
  • “We got goals today from a defender, a midfielder and a forward, which is seldom you ever get all three lines scoring goals,” said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. “I hated to see the goals we gave up because I think those are the type of goals that are stoppable.”
  • The Dynamo have been known for their set-piece success, but it was FC Dallas which took a 2-0 lead from standard situations, scoring once on a free kick and once from a corner. It’s their first two goals this season from deadball situations.
  • “It’s one of their strengths when we talk about team strengths. This is one of their strengths. I think when Will Bruin got hurt, that hurt them, because he was really causing us a lot of problems on his runs and his physical play,” said Hyndman. “To get two goals off of a team that is strong in the air, and a good goalkeeper who has been to the MLS Cup the last two seasons, it’s great.”
  • Said Andrew Jacobson: “We’ve got a lot of big bodies on free kicks … Especially with all the talent we have in the attack, if you have to start thinking that you can’t foul these guys either, because we can be dangerous on set pieces, that will really propel us through the season.”
  • Kenny Cooper scored his first goal in his return to his former club, making his third start of the season. Cooper scored 40 league goals in 90 appearances for FCD from 2006-09.
  • “I think we all want to find the Kenny that left here,” said Hyndman. “That’s the Kenny we remember and that’s the Kenny that we worked awfully hard to get back. I think we are only going to see more and more out of Kenny.”
  • Blas Perez returned from suspension to make his first start of the season, but he will now miss out on the RSL game while away on international duty with Panama.
  • “We played Kenny up front with Blas [Perez] causing problems,” said Hyndman.  “You saw a lot of diagonals balls that were coming across to Kenny. I felt that he and Blas were a constant threat.” 

REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake took a point from their home debut, getting a late equalizer for a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday afternoon at Rio Tinto Stadium.

LAST MATCH

  • The Rapids suffered an early blow when goalkeeper Matt Pickens suffered a fractured forearm just four minutes into the match, and was replaced by debutant Clint Irwin, playing in his first professional match.
  • Colorado then took the lead midway through the opening half. Deshorn Brown picked the pocket of RSL center back Chris Schuler at the top of the area and broke in alone on RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando before calmly placing a right-footed shot to the back post.
  • But Irwin, who made two stops on the day, was finally beaten 10 minutes from time when Alvaro Saborío placed a right-footed shot from a tight angle on the right side of the box inside the far post for the equalizer.
  • RSL head coach Jason Kreis made one change to the team that fell 1-0 to D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Lovel Palmer came in at left back in place of Abdoulie Mansally.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Lovel Palmer (Devon Sandoval 79) - Sebastian Velasquez, Kyle Beckerman, Khari Stephenson (Ned Grabavoy 46) - Luis Gil - Robbie Findley (Joao Plata 67), Alvaro Saborio.

TEAM NEWS
 

  • Álvaro Saborío has scored all three of his team’s goals this season, after netting the late equalizer vs Colorado. “Right now we are trying in a lot of different ways. Now all we have to do is just look forward and score. We were a better team than them and all we really have to do is step forward,” said Saborío.
  • Joao Plata, who came on as a substitute for a third consecutive match, has assists on two of Saborío’s goals this season.
  • “So far, so good. Plata has two passes showing two goals for Sabo in the first three games and that’s obviously a very good thing,” said Kreis. “I think in all three of the matches Plata has come on and given us a little bit of energy and a little bit of a different look. He’s been a pretty dangerous player, so I’m pleased.”
  • Plata has come on for Findley in each match this season, but the two could start together this weekend with Saborío away on international duty with Costa Rica – though they are playing the USA in Colorado.
  • “I think Robbie just needs to remember to find the right gaps where he can be the most effective and typically that’s trying to find gaps between center backs, in between the center back and the wide back and trying to get in behind as often as possible,” said Kreis. “I feel like [vs. Colorado] he did a good job at that, and that he got himself into really good spots in the first half, but unfortunately he really should have finished.” • Ned Grabavoy came off the bench at halftime for Khari Stephenson, his first appearance of the league campaign.
  • “The thinking was that Khari Stephenson was injured and we needed to get another midfielder on. I thought it was the right type of game for Ned, we knew it was going to be difficult to find gaps and space to play in. We needed another mature player who has been in our system for a while to figure things out and push things along for us in the second half,” said Kreis. Pretty clear to me though that his fitness level was struggling a little bit, so we need to really be focused on that this next week to hopefully make him available for all 90 come next Saturday.”
  • Real will be affected more than any other MLS team, with five players called in for international duty this weekend, including goalkeeper Nick Rimando. His place will likely be taken by Josh Saunders – who backstopped the LA Galaxy to the last two MLS Cups.
  • “You look at it as you want to be challenged as much as possible," he said. "I want to be here to challenge Nick, and just like Nick is going to challenge me. That's the best thing. You're going to be at your best when everybody holds you responsible to be as good as somebody else."
  • Said Kyle Beckerman: “Nick's always big for us. I say it again, and again: He is one of the best in the league. He's done it for years now. I think maybe that's why he doesn't get as much credit as he should is because it is just expected of him. We need him. He's huge for us, and we'll need him more as the season goes on.”