SANDY, Utah — Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas both extended streaks on Saturday night, following a mutually unsatisfying 0-0 tie at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Although the draw allowed RSL to tie the MLS record for the longest unbeaten streak to open a season, the Claret-and-Cobalt (6-0-6) dropped two points at home against a Dallas team that played a midweek game and has been headed in the opposite direction.
Meanwhile, the scoreless tie extended Dallas' winless streak to seven games — though it represented an improved result from the midweek loss to LA.
After a relatively quiet first half when neither team could put many chances together, the game opened up after halftime. And both teams left the field looking back on a number of "what if?" moments that could have turned the tie into a win.
In the 55th minute, RSL defender Nat Borchers nearly put in a header in, only to see it cleared off the line. In the 66th minute, Dallas midfielder crossed the ball almost perfectly in to forward Tesho Akindele, who put it wide right.
It was that kind of night for Dallas and RSL.
Real Salt Lake not only didn't win, they suffered a potentially serious loss to their squad. Forward Joao Plata had to come off the field after re-aggravating his left hamstring — the same injury that took him out of a March 22 game against the LA Galaxy and kept him out of the lineup for the next three-plus games.
The injury also leaves RSL perilously short of forwards, with Alvaro Saborio off training with the Costa Rican national team ahead of the World Cup.
For the first time this season, Salt Lake forward Robbie Findley saw action. He underwent knee surgery in December and was in the 18 for the first time on Saturday, getting subbed in in the 66th minute. But he and forward Olmes Garcia — who came in for Plata in the first half — could not produce a goal.
Real Salt Lake and its coach matched Major League Soccer history on Saturday, as the tie kept RSL unbeaten and equaled the record for the longest season-opening unbeaten streak. The LA Galaxy opened the inaugural MLS season 12-0 (two wins by shootout, by rule in 1996); the Galaxy were also 10-0-2 to start the 2010 season.
Real Salt Lake (6-0-6) go on the road next Saturday to Seattle — a matchup of the top two teams in the Western Conference. FC Dallas (5-6-3, 18 points) — which started the season 4-0-1 before a dreadful 1-6-2 stretch — head home to take on the San Jose Earthquakes, a team they lost to two weeks ago on the road.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Tony Beltran||Helped shut down Dallas' flanks and came up with several key stops to preserve the clean sheet for the hosts|
|2||Matt Hedges||Kept RSL at bay by preventing fluid movement in the box, helping Dallas notch their first clean sheet of the season|
|3||Jeff Attinella||Both goalkeepers played well, but Attinella dealt with some tricky shots to preserve RSL's spotless start|