Real Salt Lake's seven-year playoff run comes to an end: "We paid the price"

SANDY, Utah  Real Salt Lake played well enough to get a result on Saturday night, but once again they were undone by simple mistakes at a critical time.

RSL dropped a 1-0 result at home to visiting FC Dallas thanks to an untimely defensive lapse. The Utah club had played the better soccer for almost an hour, but was unable to finish any of their chances. FC Dallas had two shots on frame all night; they buried one of them, and that’s all it took to secure the three points.

“There are times in a game where you need to capitalize,” Real Salt Lake head coach Jeff Cassar said after the match. “Dallas was bending all over the place in the first half, but they didn’t break. We didn’t make them break. We didn’t put it in the back of the net. We fell asleep on the play and we paid the price.”

In the 57th minute Dallas had a throw-in in RSL’s half. Mauro Diaz threaded a perfect second pass that split RSL’s defense and found forward David Texeira. The Uruguayan then blasted home the goal that proved to be the game-winner, and RSL’s scant postseason hopes washed away in a second-half rain deluge.

“They’re a quality side,” said right back Tony Beltran. “They have quality players that can finish. All they need is one chance. It’s really all they had. We’re disappointed from that aspect. We were unlucky tonight not to make one several times. You fall asleep for one second and here we are. Disappointed doesn’t even cut it anymore. It’s just not good enough.”

Despite the decisive final group match in the CONCACAF Champions League looming on Tuesday and the team's already remote chances for the postseason, Cassar still chose to field a lineup that included a majority of the team’s regular starters.

“I went to them and we talked. Everyone is a professional and wants to have a good showing after [this past Wednesday’s loss]," Cassar said. "Obviously it [was] the last possible home game besides the Champions League. They want to be out their for the team, for the fans, for their families.”

RSL will now turn their sights to Tuesday’s pivotal CCL group matchup. A draw or a win will be enough to see the side through to the knockout rounds of the region’s most important club competition. Cassar will hope that Saturday’s rain-soaked loss won’t come back to haunt them.

Tyler Gray covers Real Salt Lake for MLSsoccer.com.