SANDY, Utah — Real Salt Lake earned a 2-0 victory over FC Dallas at Rio Tinto Stadium in the first of two matches between the two teams over four days.
Andy Williams and Fabian Espindola scored for the home side, the former’s coming off a horrific gaffe from the normally reliable Dallas goalkeeper, Kevin Hartman.
With the win over the streaking Dallas side, RSL send a message to the rest of the league that they are still a contender for honors this season. It is also a statement ahead of Tuesday’s rematch with Dallas, this time in the US Open Cup quarterfinals.
The result does not shift either team in the Western Conference standings; however, it does put an end to Dallas’s three-game winning streak, while extending RSL’s unbeaten run to six matches.
Both teams feature plenty of firepower, but in the first half, both seemed to have their weapons in lock mode. The first real chance of the match came in the 27th minute, when RSL defender Tony Beltran broke free down the right flank. He put a cross into the penalty area that just missed the foot of Luis Gil making the run into the box.
Dallas had just one shot on goal in the first half, that coming off a 30-yard blast by Jackson that RSL keeper Nick Rimando parried over the bar.
In the second half, the attacking intensity finally picked up, resulting in the first goal of the match. RSL earned a free kick about 30 yards out, and after a quick tap from Kyle Beckerman, Williams curled a weak shot up and over the wall. But as Hartman knelt down to scoop it up, he misjudged the spin, and the ball slipped past him and into the net to give RSL a 1-0 advantage.
Gil tried to double the lead moments later as he stepped in front of a pass from a Dallas defender and drifted into the penalty area, but his low shot was off the mark, missing just to the right of goal.
Gil, who was active all night, had another opportunity go wanting a few moments later after freeing himself inside the six-yard area. But he chose to pass instead of shoot, and the chance went begging.
In the 81st minute, Dallas nearly equalized. First George John sailed a shot sailed over the goal after a long throw-in. Then, a glorious scoring chance fell to Jackson. Brek Shea shuffled a pass to a wide-open Jackson in the area, but the Brazilian’s tap toward the open net lacked any pace, and RSL defender Chris Wingert snuck in to save the ball off the line.
The miss would cost FCD as Espindola notched a late goal after cutting into the Dallas area, beating a defender, and slotting a low shot past a diving Hartman.
The two squads will meet again on Tuesday, this time at Pizza Hut Park in Dallas.
RSL -- Andy Williams 2 (Kyle Beckerman 4) 47
RSL -- Fabian Espindola 6 (Will Johnson 1) 94+
FC Dallas -- Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd, George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez, Jackson, Eric Alexander (Eric Avila 60), Bobby Warshaw, Andrew Jacobson (Ricardo Villar 30), Brek Shea, Marvin Chavez (Milton Rodriguez 75).
Substitutes Not Used: Bruno Guarda, Ruben Luna, Andrew Wiedeman, Chris Seitz.
Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Chris Schuler, Jamison Olave, Tony Beltran, Will Johnson, Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy (Fabian Espindola 66), Andy Williams (Collen Warner 81), Luis Gil, Alvaro Saborio (Jean Alexandre 88).
Substitutes Not Used: Arturo Alvarez, Nelson Gonzalez, Rauwshan McKenzie, Kyle Reynish.
RSL -- Kyle Beckerman (caution; Persistent Infringement) 29
DAL -- Jackson (caution; Reckless Tackle) 37
RSL -- Jamison Olave (caution; Tactical Foul) 67
DAL -- Brek Shea (caution; Tactical Foul) 71
DAL -- Bobby Warshaw (caution; Tactical Foul) 90
RSL -- Nick Rimando (caution; Delaying a Restart) 93+
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry; Claudio Badea
4th Official: Armando Villarreal
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-88-degrees