FRISCO, Texas — Ian Joy's return to the starting lineup couldn't have gone worse for Real Salt Lake.

Having missed three straight matches with an ankle injury, a spell that included a week stint in a walking boot, Joy had a nightmarish performance against FC Dallas with two yellow cards in the first half and the subsequent red card.

Both fouls were committed against Dallas striker Kenny Cooper, and the ref didn't hesitate for a second to show Joy a yellow card on either the 18th or the 38th minute. Even before the cards, Joy had been playing poorly, including a misplayed ball in the opening minute that Cooper should've pounced on for the 1-0 lead.

The red card was the first of the season for Real Salt Lake, but definitely not the first at Pizza Hut Park. In addition to a red card to Dallas midfielder Bobby Rhine in the dying seconds of the first half, Dallas defender Adrian Serioux was red-carded last week for a nasty challenge on David Beckham.

TOUGH LUCK: RSL backup midfielder Matias Cordoba has been itching for playing time. In a loss at Colorado last Thursday, he was noticeably frustrated he wasn't inserted into the match until the final six minutes.

Against Dallas Saturday he didn't play at all, but the way it transpired was a good thing for the team.

With the game deadlocked at 0-0 heading toward the 70th minute, Cordoba was getting prepared to enter the game as a substitute when RSL scored the game's first goal.

Instantly, RSL decided to hold off on what would've been its last substitution, and used it about 10 minutes later for a defensive switch, with Matias Mantilla entering the match in place of Jamison Olave.

Cordoba won't have to wait long to get his next chance. This Tuesday RSL makes a visit to Columbus for a U.S. Open Cup qualifying match, and it's hard to imagine Cordoba not logging 90 minutes against the Crew.

BUSY OVERSEAS: RSL players Chris Seitz and Tony Beltran have been away with the Under-23 U.S. National Team in France the past week participating in the Toulon International Tournament.

Results have been tough to come by for the United States, losing to Turkey 3-2 on Wednesday and Ivory Coast 1-0 on Friday. It returns to action today against Italy in the final round of group play.

Seitz and Beltran both started in the 1-0 loss to the Ivory Coast, with Beltran factoring heavy in the final outcome as his foul in the box led to an Ivory Coast penalty kick.

Win or lose, today's match is the last of the tournament for the U.S., which means Seitz and Beltran could be available for next week's home match against San Jose.

WASTING ITS CHANCES: RSL had taken 49 corner kicks entering Saturday's match, tied for the league lead with San Jose and Columbus. It tacked on six more corners to its season tally at FC Dallas but failed to score, meaning that Carey Talley's goal at D.C. United on April 26 remains RSL's only goal off a corner kick.

Dallas had five corner kicks but is still last in the league with just 28 corner kicks on the season.

TRIAL BY FIRE: Marco Ferruzzi made his interim coaching debut on Saturday in the wake of FC Dallas sacking head coach Steve Morrow on Tuesday.

Morrow was fired after finishing with a 13-12-5 record in 2007 and the opening the 2008 season with a 2-3-3 record.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com