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Emiliano Bonfigli's 1st MLS goal gives Real Salt Lake an unsatisfying tie in Texas

By Jon Machota

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, April 25 2012 11:15 p.m. MDT

FRISCO, TX - APRIL 25: Zach Loyd #17 of the FC Dallas collides with goal keeper Nick Rimando #18 of the Real Salt Lake at FC Dallas Stadium on April 25, 2012 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Tom Pennington, Getty Images

FRISCO, Texas — Considering Real Salt Lake has never won an MLS game in Texas, a tie would seemingly qualify as success. But that wasn't the case Wednesday night.

RSL fell behind 1-0 right before halftime on an FC Dallas penalty kick and rallied in the second half to finish with a 1-1 tie in front of 10,069 at FC Dallas Stadium.

Among those not content with the outcome was Jason Kreis.

The Real Salt Lake coach liked the way his group fought back, but was upset with the call that led to the penalty kick.

During the 45th minute, defender Tony Beltran was called for a hand ball after a clearing attempt bounced off his arm inside the box.

"I haven't watched the replay yet but for me there's just no way that can be a penalty kick," Kreis said. "Whether it hits his arm or not, it just seems indifferent to me. A Dallas player hasn't even touched the ball so it's not like they were making an attempt at our goal.

"Somebody that reads the game or that is involved in the game knows that that's never a penalty kick."

Beltran's opinion was that the ball came back and "barely" grazed his elbow.

"There's really no chance for me to get out of the way of that ball," he said. "I was pretty disappointed in the call."

The decision resulted in Dallas midfielder Brek Shea burying a penalty kick in the bottom right corner, beating goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who dove in the opposite direction.

Real Salt Lake (5-3-1) didn't do itself any favors on offense in the first half. Alvaro Saborio's left-footed shot was halted near the left post by former RSL 'keeper Chris Seitz at the two-minute mark. Paulo Jr., who set up Saborio, got a shot of his own three minutes later but RSL never took another one the remainder of the first half.

Momentum slightly shifted early in the second half.

Compliments of a few tactical adjustments made at halftime by Kreis, RSL came out active, outshooting FC Dallas (3-3-2) 6-0 over the first 15 minutes.

"We pushed a few guys higher," midfielder Will Johnson explained. "Jason deserves a lot of credit for that. We got rewarded with a goal and some opportunities to win the game."

The biggest reward came about four minutes after Emiliano Bonfigli replaced Paulo Jr. during the 69th minute. Three minutes later, Johnson flicked a precise pass ahead to Bonfigli and the forward, who played only one other minute before Wednesday, ripped a shot from the center of the box that landed in the bottom left corner.

"We know how hard of a worker he is. We know how fast he is," Kreis said of Bonfigli. "Potential-wise, he could be a very interesting player. I've been wanting to get him an opportunity but it hasn't really presented itself until tonight."

Saborio had Real Salt Lake's last quality chance to grab the lead in the 76th minute. However, the forward waited too long and instead of getting a shot off just outside the box, watched as Seitz dove in to knock the ball free.

RSL has never won in Dallas in 12 tries over all competitions and is 0-7-1 in games played in Houston. But Johnson advised not to read too deep into those stats.

"Every game's different," he said. "For whatever reason, we haven't been able to get a win down here. But we played well at times. We've had opportunities to win games and it just hasn't quite happened for us.

"We'll take a road point in Dallas any day."

RSL played without suspended forward Fabian Espindola, who leads the team with three goals, and 2010 MLS Defender of the Year Jamison Olave because of ejections last Saturday in a 3-1 loss at San Jose.

FCD was without leading scorer Blas Perez (3 goals, 3 assists), who was serving a one-game suspension, and goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who was suffering from back spasms.

Real Salt Lake plays again Saturday when it hosts Toronto FC at Rio Tinto Stadium.

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