The Dallas Morning News, Mark M. Hancock) MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT; TV OUT; INTERNET OUT; AP MEMBERS ONLY, Associated Press
FRISCO, Texas — In a place where it has never won and without 11 of its players, including five starters, Real Salt Lake couldn’t have expected too much against FC Dallas on Saturday night.
Still, RSL held off challenge after challenge before finally allowing a couple of late goals in a disappointing 2-0 loss before 11,181 at FC Dallas Stadium.
Real, which fell to 1-2-1 on the season, was missing nearly half its team due to injuries, illness and international duty, but battled until a couple of mistakes on the defensive end cost the club dearly. At the other end, two solid chances to score missed by inches.
“I was disappointed in the result, but pretty pleased with the guys’ fight tonight,’’ said RSL coach Jason Kreis. “Everybody that played in the game tonight gave something and I’m appreciative for that.’’
Kreis philosophized about how the game changed on a couple of plays midway through the second half. Otherwise, RSL could have come out with win or draw. Besides giving up a couple of tough goals, RSL also had two great chances to score within a minute’s time around the 77th minute, but were thwarted by a great defensive play and the goalpost.
“Every match is played over 90 minutes with a ton of plays and almost every soccer match comes to one particular moment where you feel where the whole momentum can be shifted and the result shifts,’’ Kreis said.
Just after Dallas’ Fabian Castillo had scored with a left-footed rocket from 10 yards out to make it 1-0 in the 70th minute, RSL nearly tied it twice.
First Devon Sandoval had what appeared to be an easy goal after Robbie Findley’s shot pulled Chris Seitz away from the goal. However, Dallas defender Matt Hedges was in position to knock the ball away. Then less than a minute later, Olmes Garcia, who had just barely entered the game, headed a shot on his first touch as a Real player that hit the left post.
“We had two chances there — it hits the post and Gavin has a chance to score. ... If either one of those goes in we’re having a different conversation and a lot different feeling about ourselves,’’ Kreis said.
Josh Saunders, playing in place of Nick Rimando, who is with the U.S. team right now, gave up a pair of goals, one of which was a bad play by himself and the other on a ball that sailed over his head when he went low.
The latter goal was a great play by Castillo, but a disconsolate Saunders blamed himself for the defeat afterward.
“I feel like I didn’t put my best effort up towards the end of the game,’’ he said. “I got beat high and the second one was such a lapse ... and I take responsibility for that. I tried to be too cute and get a second touch and didn’t get it off.’’
In the first half, Salt Lake dodged bullet after bullet and could very well have been down 3-0, except for a spectacular block by defender Nat Borchers when Saunders had been pulled away from the goal and a shot that bounced off the crossbar and another that just missed on the left side.
"We were fortunate in the first half not to give anything up,'' said Borchers. "We were under it so much weathering the storms from the back.''
Next up for RSL is a home game Saturday against Seattle.
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