Real Salt Lake 0-0 FC Dallas: Detente at the RioT


May 24, 2014; Sandy, UT, USA; A general view of Rio Tinto Stadium prior to the match between Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Cassar’s Real Salt Lake and Oscar Pareja’s FC Dallas played to a scoreless draw at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah on Saturday night. For Real Salt Lake, they improve to 6-0-5 (23 points) on the year, while FC Dallas improve to 5-6-2 (17 points). RSL, who played wiuthout their strongest lineup possible due to national team obligations, remain second in the MLS Western Conference, while FC Dallas are fourth in the West.

Here are six things we learned, followed by player ratings from Saturday’s scoreless draw between Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas.

1. Cassar shakes up the formation to start

Early on in the first half, Cassar shook up the formation by playing Luke Mulholland in front of Chris Wingert, while Ned Grabavoy played in front of Tony Beltran. In the eighth minute, Dallas nearly gave up a howler but were able to recover. The beginning of the first half was quiet for the most part, with very few chances to show for it. The only major chance came in the 15th minute, when the aformentioned Grabavoy headed a ball over the bar.

2. FC Dallas stand tall as Real Salt Lake win the ball

As the first half progressed, the chances came rolling in. Real Salt Lake’s possession was countered by FC Dallas’s defending. Je-Vaughn Watson’s 18th minute header was skied over the bar for FCD, while Mulholland’s shot in the 19th minute was blocked for RSL. Watson again tried his luck in the 21st minute but it was high and wide to the left. Fabian Castillo, who was tipped for a strong performance in the Bold Predictions, had a shot that was skied in the 30th minute of play.

3. Joao Plata runs out of gas

Tesho Akindele, who got the start on Saturday against Real Salt Lake, found Castillo in the 33rd minute but his shot was blocked. Seconds later, Real Salt Lake’s Nat Borchers had a header that missed to the right. Javier Morales, who was available for selection after Argentina passed on him for next month’s World Cup, had his first shot on goal sail wide left in the 34th minute. Joao Plata had to be subbed in the 42nd minute for Olmes Garcia due to a left hamstring pull. The loss of Plata’s speed would be a big factor in the eventual outcome of this match in the second half.

4. Real Salt Lake turn up the heat

With Plata gone, the combo of Olmes Garcia and Devon Sandoval needed to step up against Dallas. In the 48th minute, FCD midfielder Victor Ulloa had a shot from outside of the box miss to the left. Garcia’s first chance in the 50th minute was saved by Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz. Akindele had a volley in the 53rd minute saved by Real Salt Lake backup goalkeeper Jeff Attinella. Cole Grossman also got the start for RSL and in the 53rd minute, his shot sailed high and wide right.

In the 55th minute, Borchers’s header missed to the left and seconds later, a header from RSL defender Chris Schuler went over the bar and out. In the 56th minute, Morales tried his luck again but it was blocked.

5. Big saves from Attinella in second half

In the 61st minute, Beltran was cautioned for a shirt tug on Castillo. Mulholland has an attempt blocked by Dallas defender Matt Hedges in the 64th minute of play. Sandoval was starting to tire out, and that meant Robbie Findley would step up to the plate in the 65th minute. Findley was coming back after a long period of rehab following surgery. Ulloa would earn a caution himself in the 67th minute. Castillo had a shot saved by Attinella in the 69th minute, and in the 72nd minute, Dallas forward Blas Perez was also denied by Attinella. Mulholland’s next chance in the 75th minute went high and wide right.

6. Frustration, yellow cards dished out late

Real Salt Lake dominated just about every category in the match…except the scoreline. In the 77th minute, a shot from Morales was blocked. Hedges was cautioned in the 80th minute for a clumsy challenge. In the 82nd minute, some reinforcements came in: Andres Escobar came in for Akindele and Luis Gil came in for Mulholland. Castillo was booked one minute later for a late challenge on Chris Wingert and in the 85th minute, Morales was booked for a sliding challenge on Ulloa.

Castillo’s next chance in the 86th minute went high and wide right. In the 90th minute, Borchers had a shot that went left, and that was Real Salt Lake’s best chance of the night to get on the board. Jair Benitez and Stephen Keel came in late for Moises Hernandez and Castillo in the fourth and second minutes of second half stoppage time, respectively. Garcia did have another opportunity in the seventh minute of second half stoppage time but it was well over the bar.

Team Statistics

(Real Salt Lake in red, FC Dallas in blue)

1Shots on Target3
9Shots off Target5
5Blocked Shots1
2Yellow Cards3
0Red Cards0
471Total Passes230
78 %Passing Accuracy65 %
66.5 %Possession33.5 %
61Duels Won60
17Tackles Won19

Real Salt Lake Player Ratings

Jeff Attinella 7, Chris Schuler 6, Chris Wingert 6, Nat Borchers 7, Tony Beltran 6.5, Cole Grossman, 5, Javier Morales 8.5, Luke Mulholland 6, Ned Grabavoy 6, Devon Sandoval 5, Joao Plata 4, Olmes Garcia 5, Robbie Findley 4, Luis Gil 3
FC Dallas Player Ratings

Chris Seitz 5, Matt Hedges 6.5, Moises Hernandez 6, Walker Zimmerman 5, Zach Loyd 6, Adam Moffat 8, Fabisan Castillo 6.5, Je-Vaughn Watson 6, Tesho Akindele 6, Victor Ulloa 6.5, Blas Perez 6, Andres Escobar NR, Jair Benitez NR, Stephen Keel NR