SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake (6-0-6, 24 points, West #2) extended its unbeaten start to the season to 12 games on Saturday, playing FC Dallas (5-6-3, 18 points, West #3) to a scoreless draw in front of a sold-out crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Saturday’s result moved RSL into a tie for first in MLS history with the 1996 and 2010 LA Galaxy (12-0-0; 10-0-2) and 2000 Kansas City Wizards (10-0-2) for the longest unbeaten streak to start a season. The draw also moved first-year RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar into a tie with 1996 LA Head Coach Lothar Osiander for longest unbeaten start to a managerial career in MLS history.
The Claret-and-Cobalt and Cassar will have a shot to extend their unbeaten streak to 13 games next Saturday, when they’ll take on first-place Seattle Sounders FC at 2:00 p.m. MT at CenturyLink Field.
Real Salt Lake controlled the match, holding 66.5 percent of possession and pinning Dallas back for long stretches of the game. Unfortunately, RSL didn’t have much punch to go along with its possession, and didn’t generate many dangerous chances against a firm Dallas defense. The Claret-and-Cobalt also lost a key player to injury in the first half, with co-leading scorer FW Joao Plata leaving the match in the 41st minute due to a left hamstring injury.
RSL had the first opportunity of the game in the eighth minute. MF Javier Morales swung a free kick in from the left side that Dallas GK Chris Seitz couldn’t hold, with the rebound falling to MF Cole Grossman on the end line to the right of goal. With Seitz off his line, Grossman attempted to a chip a shot through traffic, but was his effort headed off the line by a Dallas defender.
Dallas had a look in the 21st. DF Moises Hernandez started the play, curling a free kick in from the left wing. RSL GK Jeff Attinella came well off his line to collect the dead ball, but he couldn’t snag it, taking a spill and letting the ball fall to FCD MF Je-Vaughn Watson in the right side of the area. Thankfully for RSL, Watson couldn’t put his effort on frame, sending his 15-yard effort over the bar.
Dallas let another chance slip by in the 30th minute. FW Blas Perez flicked a header from the right side of the box across the top of the 18 that found unmarked MF Fabian Castillo at the top of the area. Like Watson before him, Castillo couldn’t keep his shot on target, harmlessly hitting his first-time half-volley over the bar.
RSL was forced into a change in the 41st minute, when Plata had to be taken off for FW Olmes Garcia due to a left hamstring injury. Plata missed three games in March and April due to an injury to the same hamstring.
Attinella made a big save in the 53rd minute to keep Dallas off the board. FCD FW Tesho Akindele wriggled free in the right side of the area, rounding a RSL defender and firing a shot from eight yards out. Attinella did well to corral the effort, diving to his right from his position at the near post to hold the effort.
Dallas had another look in the 66th minute. Castillo got free on the right flank, driving toward the end line and whipping in a low cross. Akindele got on the end of the ball, hitting his contested shot wide from six yards out.
RSL pushed forward in search of a winner for the remaining 25 minutes, but didn’t do much to trouble Dallas’ former Claret-and-Cobalt GK Chris Seitz.
Real Salt Lake will hit the road next week, traveling to face Seattle next Saturday in a matchup of the top two teams in MLS. Next weekend’s RSL-Seattle tilt will kick at 2:00 p.m. MT and will be broadcast live on CW30, ESPN 700 AM and 102.3 La Gran D FM.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – RSL 0–0 DAL
- Saturday’s attendance of 20,488 marked Real Salt Lake’s fourth sell-out of the 2014 season. RSL was at capacity for its home opener on March 22 against LA Galaxy, its April 19 match against Portland Timbers, and last weekend’s contest with Colorado. Tonight’s sell-out marks the club’s 33rd sell-out across all competitions since Rio Tinto Stadium’s 2008 opening.
- Saturday’s draw with FC Dallas continued Real Salt Lake’s unbeaten record, improving the Claret-and-Cobalt to 6-0-6 in 2014. RSL’s 12-game unbeaten run to start the season is a club record. The team’s 16-game regular season unbeaten streak dating back to last September is the second-longest in club history, trailing only the 18-game regular season unbeaten run compiled in the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
- Saturday’s draw means that RSL has become just the third team in MLS history to start a season unbeaten through its first 12 games. RSL is now tied for the all-time MLS record for longest unbeaten start to the season with the 1996 and 2010 LA Galaxy and 2000 Kansas City Wizards.
- RSL’s 24 points is tied with the 2011 team for the highest total in club history through the first 12 games of the year.
- Saturday’s draw improved RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar’s unbeaten start to his head coaching career to 12 games. Cassar is now tied for the longest such streak in league history with Lothar Osiander, who started the 1996 season 12-0-0 as head coach of the LA Galaxy.
- Missing from tonight’s lineup were U.S. internationals Captain Kyle Beckerman and GK Nick Rimando and Costa Rican international FW Alvaro Saborio. All three players left the club on May 14 for pre-World Cup training camps with their respective national teams. Beckerman and Rimando were named to the U.S.’s final 23-man World Cup roster on Thursday. Costa Rica has not yet named the 23-man team it will take to Brazil, though Saborio is widely expected to be on it. Including tonight’s game, Beckerman and Rimando will miss a minimum of five regular season matches and at least one Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches before returning from Brazil. RSL is 1-0-1 without all three of Beckerman, Rimando and Saborio this year. The Claret-and-Cobalt is now 3-2-3 in MLS play when missing all three players since the start of 2013.
- Saturday’s draw improved RSL’s all-time record against FC Dallas to 9-13-5. The Claret-and-Cobalt is now 8-4-3 all-time against Dallas at home.
- RSL FW Joao Plata left the match in the 42nd minute after suffering a left hamstring injury. Plata injured the same hamstring in RSL’s home opener against LA Galaxy on March 22 which saw him miss three subsequent matches. The Ecuadorian has six goals this season, which ties him for the team lead with FW Alvaro Saborio.
- RSL backup GK Jeff Attinella earned his fourth start of the 2014 season Saturday, filling in for Rimando. Attinella now posts a 1-0-3 record in 2014 and a 2-2-4 regular season record in his RSL career.
- RSL MF Cole Grossman recorded his fourth career start for the Claret-and-Cobalt Saturday. The 25-year-old defensive midfielder replaced Captain Kyle Beckerman at the bottom of RSL’s midfield diamond with the U.S. international is away at the USMNT’s World Cup preparation camp in Palo Alto, Calif.
- RSL FW Devon Sandoval earned his second start of 2014 for Real Salt Lake tonight, filling in for RSL FW Alvaro Saborio as the target forward up top.
- Real Salt Lake FW Robbie Findley made his 2014 debut tonight, subbing in for FW Devon Sandoval in the 65th minute. Findley had missed all of RSL’s previous matches this year after undergoing right knee surgery last December. Findley had six goals and two assists in 25 regular season appearances in 2013.
REAL SALT LAKE 0–0 FC DALLAS
SATURDAY, MAY 24, 2014
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 0 0
FC Dallas 0 0 0
RSL – Tony Beltran (Yellow; Foul) – 61’
DAL – Victor Ulloa (Yellow; Foul) – 66’
DAL – Matt Hedges (Yellow; Foul) – 80’
DAL – Fabian Castillo (Yellow; Foul) – 83’
RSL – Javier Morales (Yellow; Foul) – 85’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Jeff Attinella; Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Chris Schuler, Chris Wingert; Cole Grossman, Luke Mulholland (Luis Gil, 82’), Ned Grabavoy, Javier Morales (C); Devon Sandoval (Robbie Findley, 65’), Joao Plata (Olmes Garcia, 42’)
Substitutes not used: Lalo Fernandez; Abdoulie Mansally, Aaron Maund; John Stertzer,
FC Dallas (4-4-2): Chris Seitz; Zach Loyd, Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Moises Hernandez (Jair Benitez, 93’); Je-Vaughn Watson, Victor Ulloa, Adam Moffat, Fabian Castillo (Stephen Keel, 92’); Tesho Akindele (Andres Escobar, 82’), Blas Perez
Substitutes not used: Raul Fernandez; Peter Luccin, Danny Garcia; David Texeira,
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Assistant Referees: Corey Rockwell, Baboucarr Jallow
4th Official: Armando Villarreal
Weather: Clear and 70 degrees