LEHI, Utah — The Real Salt Lake reserves suffered a 2-0 loss at the hands of FC Dallas as they kicked off their Reserve League action on Tuesday at Xango Field.
It was a “tale of two halves," according to RSL reserve-team coach Jeff Cassar, with both of FCD’s goals coming in the second half of the contest.
The defeat was a tough one for the home team to take. RSL had enjoyed the bulk of possession in the first half, but weren’t able to connect in the final third. They initially played with Donny Toia and Conor Chinn up top and the lack of cohesiveness between the two and the other attacking players seemed apparent.
Cassar feels like the combo that played up top will get better as the reserve schedule goes on.
“Conor just joined us two weeks ago and Donny just joined us a week ago,” said the coach after Tuesday's match. “So I’d think you’re going to be lacking continuity out there, but at the same time, the quality wasn’t there today. They worked well, but the quality wasn’t there at the end.”
[inline_node:332376]While Dallas seemed pretty benign for much of the opening half, they came out more aggressive in the second. Ruben Luna, in particular, was very dangerous, and perhaps enjoyed the best outing of any of the players on the field. He consistently put pressure on the RSL back line.
Luna was rewarded with his efforts in the 51st minute, when he was awarded a controversial penalty kick after a challenge by Rauwshan McKenzie. He stepped up and converted the chance for a 1-0 lead. That’s when things went downhill for RSL.
“We put our heads down after the phantom PK call and we didn’t react well to that,” Cassar noted.
“The second half, as a team, is where we broke down,” said Luis Gil, who played well just days after seeing his first MLS action against the LA Galaxy. “We didn’t keep our shape and they took advantage of that. We could have had more heart and represent the team better. We’ve got to get better as a team.”
With a lead under their belt, FC Dallas took possession and began to dominate the opportunities. That paid off again in the 73rd minute on a scrambled clearance attempt, as an RSL defender headed the ball out toward the 18 but straight to Dallas midfielder Bryan Leyva, who took advantage of the opportunity with a side volley that curled into the net.
RSL became scrappy for the remainder of the match but they were ultimately unable to get one past former RSL 'keeper Chris Seitz. Cassar cautioned about worrying too much about the result.
“We want to win every time we step on the field," he said, "but even more important is getting these guys minutes, getting them experience, getting them game ready and hopefully feeling when they do go up to the first team that they can play at that level.”