FC Dallas, RSL clash at Pizza Hut Park

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    PIZZA HUT PARK, Frisco, Texas
    7:30 p.m. CT (KSL)
    April 8, 2006 (WEEK 2) MLS Game #10

    FC Dallas remain home for the second consecutive week, after beginning their 2006 campaign with a stirring come-from-behind victory led by a new hometown hero. For Real Salt Lake it was not the start they were looking for in their sophomore season, after ending their expansion campaign winless in their final 12 matches.

    REFEREE: Brian Hall. SAR (bench): Steven Taylor; JAR (opposite): Michael Salyers; 4th: Hilario Grajeda
    MLS Career: 104 games; FC/gm: 29.3; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 27; pens: 33
    Games involving FC Dallas: P22 W12 L6 T4; FC/gm: 27.4; Y/gm: 2.5; R: 5; pens: 11
    Games involving Real: P3 W2 L1 T0; FC/gm: 25.7; Y/gm: 2.3; R: 1; pens: 1
    INJURY REPORT: FC DALLAS - OUT: GK Jeff Cassar (R hip); MF Richard Mulrooney (R ACL); QUESTIONABLE: MF Ramon Nunez (R quadriceps strain) ... REAL SALT LAKE - OUT: DF Paul Broome (L ankle internal derangement); MF Seth Trembly (L knee ACL tear); PROBABLE: FW Jason Kreis (L knee inflammation); DF Nelson Akwari (R hamstring strain); DF Eddie Pope (low back sprain)
    SUSPENDED: none

    ALL-TIME (4 meetings): FC Dallas 3 wins (0 shootout), 7 goals ... Real 1 win (0 shootout), 4 goals ... 0 draws
    AT DALLAS: (2 meetings): FC Dallas 2 wins (0 shootout), 5 goals ... Fire 0 wins (0 shootout), 1 goal ... 0 draws

  • This is the first of four meetings this season between the clubs, the first of two at Pizza Hut Park. They next meet July 22 at Rice-Eccles Stadium, then are set to meet on back-to-back weekends near the end of the season, Sept. 16 in Salt Lake City and Sept. 23 in Frisco.
    4/23: DAL 3, RSL 0 (Mulrooney 4; Johnson 35; Ruiz 63)
    6/4: RSL 0, DAL 2 (O'Brien 22; Thompson 58)
    7/23: RSL 3, DAL 0 (Dunseth 3; Cila 25; Mathis 30)
    9/18: DAL 2, RSL 1 (Mina 17, 52 - Watson 54)
  • A year ago, FC Dallas won three of the four meetings between the clubs in Real's inaugural season, winning both at home. The first meeting was played at the Cotton Bowl while the second was played at Pizza Hut Park - the first league victory for the Hoops in their new home ground.
  • RSL's victory on July 23 at Rice-Eccles was the only time in their inaugural season they scored three or more goals in a league match.
  • Coaches record: Colin Clarke vs. RSL: P4 W3 L1 D0 ... John Ellinger v DAL: P4 W1 L3 D0

    FC Dallas got their bid to make Pizza Hut Park a tough place to play off to a good start, twice coming back from a goal down before defeating the Chicago Fire 3-2 on Saturday afternoon in Frisco. FC Dallas, along with Chivas USA and Houston Dynamo, sit atop the Western Conference with three points from one match.

  • FC Dallas defeated their Brimstone Cup rivals with a come-from-behind victory and a hometown fairytale come true. Chad Barrett gave Chicago a 12th-minute lead, when FCD 'keeper Dario Sala couldn't hold Chris Rolfe's powerful angled shot, and the rebound trickled across the goal to Barrett, who calmly drove it to the back of the net.
  • But the home side drew level when the always-dangerous Carlos Ruiz made a nice run up the midfield before finding Arturo Alvarez on the left of the penalty area, and he beat Zach Thornton with a shot inside the far post.
  • The Fire again pulled into the lead in the 54th minute when Ivan Guerrero stripped a Dallas defender of the ball on the left and swung in a cross to a wide-open Rolfe as the Hoops defense was caught out, and he made no mistake in ripping a left-footed drive past Sala.
  • But Dallas scored twice in four minutes to claim the full points. First Roberto Mina latched onto a bouncing ball outside the area and sent in a shot that deflected off a defender to wrong-foot Thornton in the 66th minute. Then Dallas native Kenny Cooper, making his MLS debut, got onto the end of a Bobby Rhine cross from the right and headed home the game-winner.
  • Here's Colin Clarke's team (4-1-3-2): Dario Sala - Bobby Rhine, Clarence Goodson, Greg Vanney, Chris Gbandi - Simo Valakari - Ramon Nunez (Mark Wilson 64), Ronnie O'Brien, Arturo Alvarez (Kenny Cooper 65) - Roberto Mina (Aaron Pitchkolan 79), Carlos Ruiz (Substitutes Not Used: Ray Burse, Drew Moor, Abe Thompson, David Wagenfuhr)
  • "It's the first game of the season, you want to get off the mark and get that first win under your belt so we're very happy to get the three points," Clarke said. " ... We gave up two bad goals, but with that, we were able to come back twice which is good. We showed a lot of character and that is something I think is really important."
  • The turning point to the opening win was when Clarke brought on Cooper and Wilson for Nuñez and Alvarez - going to a 4-3-3 scheme, with Carlos Ruiz at the targetman, and Mina and Cooper in wider roles. The move was not unexpected, as Clarke has been working toward putting out his team in a 4-3-3 system.
  • "They had three at the back and if you push three up top, then they've got to make different decisions and adjust to what we're doing," Clarke said. "I wouldn't say that had a direct effect on the goal but [Cooper] was on the field at the right time."
  • It was a dream start for Kenny Cooper, signed during the offseason from Manchester United, where he played in the reserves. Cooper attended Dallas Jesuit HS; his father Ken played for the Dallas Tornado in the NASL and has been a pioneer in professional soccer in the USA.
  • "It was exciting. I think that about half the place (was friends and family) so it was definitely a lot of fun to be out there in front of them. Their support means a lot so to score in front of them like that was great."
  • In addition, the two substitutes made a bid to be part of the starting lineup against Real. "There's going to be a lot of tough decisions. We've talked about the fact that we have a good squad of players; it's pretty deep and that leads to a lot of tough decisions week in and week out," Clarke said.

    Real Salt Lake saw their sophomore campaign get off to a rocky start, falling to Chivas USA 3-0 on Sunday afternoon at The Home Depot Center in a battle of last year's expansion teams. Real, along with the Los Angeles Galaxy and Colorado Rapids, sit at the bottom of the West after failing to take a point away from their season-opening match.

  • The home side broke through after just 21 minutes. New signing Claudio Suarez - earlier named to the provisional Mexico roster for the FIFA World Cup - sent a ball over the top from midfield and Razov raced onto it behind the Real defense, coolly finding the back of the net.
  • Four minutes later Juan Pablo Garcia doubled the lead with a magnificent goal. With his back to the goal some 25 yards out, he quickly turned and let loose a well-placed curling shot that sailed over Garlick and found the left side netting.
  • In the 66th minute, Razov completed his double. He collected the ball some 35 yards out from goal, shook loose from a marker and unloaded a 25-yard laser beam past Garlick.
  • Here's John Ellinger's team (4-1-3-2): Scott Garlick - Chris Brown (Jason Kreis 78), Eddie Pope, Carey Talley, Daniel Torres - Douglas Sequeira - Chris Klein, Andy Williams, Mehdi Ballouchy (Ryan Johnson 73) - Jeff Cunningham, Atiba Harris (Kenny Cutler 66) (Substitutes Not Used: Nelson Akwari, Gustavo Cabrera, Jay Nolly, Kevin Novak)
  • "The story of the game was, how many times did we turn the ball over in the midfield and create bad situations for ourselves defensively?" Ellinger said. "You just can't keep making those kinds of mistakes. We have too much experience to give the ball away as much as we did."
  • "It was poor from the beginning," RSL's Chris Klein said to The Salt Lake Tribune. "They outworked us, they out-thought us, they played more as a team than we did. We looked like 11 guys doing 11 different things and you're never going to win in this league doing that."
  • Real saw their winless streak extended to 13 games dating back to last season. "It was unexpected," striker Jeff Cunningham said. "I thought we played well, much better, during the preseason games. It was just an off day when we got outplayed and outperformed. But I'm not going to hold my head down, I still think we have a very good team. We just have to make some improvements."
  • Jason Kreis came on as a 78th-minute substitute, a welcome sign after suffering swelling in his surgically repaired knee following 20 minutes of action in a preseason match in March. "I think that things are moving forward," he said to The Salt Lake Tribune. "I'm hoping they're moving forward, anyway."
  • Ellinger said he didn't want to speculate how much Kreis would be available for the second weekend of the season. "He seems pretty happy," Ellinger said, "and it was good to get him back on [the field]. Now, it's just a matter of getting him more time."
  • Ellinger changed to a 3-5-2 system later in the match, bringing on Kenny Cutler to sit in central midfield alongside Douglas Sequeira. Andy Williams moved into attack as Atiba Harris came off.
  • "That was the whole reason we put Kenny Cutler in was to basically stop the bleeding in the middle of the field, and it got better," said Ellinger. "That's a starting point for us."
  • Ellinger also intimated there could be a change in the strike partnership for the second match. "When regular games start, it's different. You keep reminding these guys it's a different situation now," said Ellinger. "We gave Atiba his shot, and we'll have to address who's going to be there (next week)."
  • Yet while Ellinger felt the play of rookie Mehdi Ballouchy was inconsistent, he will likely reprise the left-sided midfield role he played in the opener. Ballouchy was primarily an attacking midfielder in college, the role filled by Andy Williams in the opener. "I still think he was a little too casual at times," said Ellinger to the Deseret News. "There has to be more urgency when you have to get behind somebody and get tight on somebody."
  • Still, Ellinger said the season certainly wasn't over after one match. "The Galaxy went on the road (last year) and lost 3-0 in Columbus, and they won the MLS Cup," said Ellinger. "Not that we're going to win the MLS Cup, but you can't go by the first game. I'm not going to push any panic buttons because of that."

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