RSL end Dallas playoff hopes

Posted on 19 October 2008 by Patrick McShane

Movsisyan and Serioux tangle ©ASN/Julia Fizer

Real Salt Lake inched one step closer to their first playoff appearance Saturday night as they casually dispatched of a FC Dallas squad playing with only 10 men after the 30th minute. It was make-or-break time for RSL as they played their second – and what could have been their final – match in their new stadium this season. Both Dallas and RSL entered the match fighting for the playoff lives, and for the first 20 minutes, it appeared that Dallas were the more hungry of the two teams.

RSL were in a hole within 7 minutes as Dallas converted a throw in from standout defender Adrian Serioux. Dallas jumped all over RSL from the opening whistle, earning numerous throw-in opportunities in dangerous areas while RSL seemed low on energy and apathetic. Serioux finally found a target on his third long-distance throw as he placed the ball perfectly to the head of an onrushing Marcelo Saragosa who nodded the ball home past a diving Nick Rimando. However, it appeared that the 1-0 hole knocked RSL awake as they began to find their legs and push forward.

The match continued to fluctuate between both teams until the 30th minute when Saragosa’s heroics now turned to villainy as he was ejected from the match for his second bookable offense. After receiving a yellow card just minutes prior for obstruction and a pushing match with RSL midfielder Dema Kovalenko, Saragosa was already being watched by head referee Kevin Stott when he came flying in to challenge RSL defender Robbie Russell for a header with his right elbow raised. It didn’t take a moment for Stott to award Saragosa his second yellow, subsequently giving RSL a man advantage for over an hour.

©ASN/Julia Fizer

It took RSL just five minutes to capitalize on Saragosa’s ejection as forward Yura Movsisyan continued his hot streak and fired home his sixth goal of the season off of a Drew Moor deflection. Receiving a beautiful pass from midfielder Javier Morales just at the top of the box, Movsisyan spun on Dallas captain Duilio Davino and fired a beautiful shot that took a ricochet off of Moor who was sliding to disrupt the play. One could sense that RSL was beginning to gain confidence off of the draw as they created several chances in the final minutes of the first half, including a dangerous header from Russell that required a diving save from Dallas keeper Dario Sala.

The second half appeared to be a continuation RSL’s lively attack despite Dallas reverting to a 4-4-1 formation to combat Saragosa’s loss and bunker on defense. This tactic seemed to do little to slow RSL’s attack as they continued to press on the wings, particularly with the addition of Andy Williams who replaced Kovalenko at half. RSL’s attacking buildup finally came to fruition in the 54th minute when midfielder Will Johnson rocketed home a spectacular shot to give RSL the 2-1 lead they had been chasing all match. Receiving a pass from Chris Wingert at the top of the box, Johnson popped the ball up with his toe and volleyed in a one-touch shot that bounced off of the right bar and in.

Ian Joy ©ASN/Julia Fizer

Even with the lead secured, RSL continued to press for a third goal to put the match out of reach. Unfortunately for the nerves of the 17,628 fans in attendance, it took until the 86th minute for RSL to finally gain the breathing room they desperately wanted. Countering after Dallas carelessly gave away possession, Morales and Williams combined on a tight passing play that resulted in the perfect setup to striker Robbie Findley who put home a beautiful shot to the top right corner of goal just beyond Sala’s reach. Not only was the goal important for RSL and their efforts in the match, it was also important for Findley who was looking to break out of a goal-scoring slump. “That’s what they put me in for at the end of the game, to add a little spark and hopefully to put the game away, if I can. I’ve been in a little drought, so to get that goal definitely helps me out a lot.”

With the win secured, RSL began to let down offensively and celebrate the possibility of their first playoff appearance. Unfortunately, Dallas were also considering their fortune of now being eliminated from playoff contention due to Kansas City & New York wins earlier in the night. This frustration spread to the players as Dallas earned their second red card of the night due to a reckless tackle from Pablo Ricchetti against Johnson. Despite the negative conclusion to an otherwise incredible night, RSL knew that they could now focus on watching Sunday’s match between Colorado and Chivas USA as that game determines the final step in their march towards the playoffs.

If Colorado fails to win (a loss or a draw) against Chivas, RSL will clinch the third automatic berth in the Western Conference, resulting in a potential home match on November 1st in a semifinal series against Chivas. Said coach Jason Kreis after the match: “We’ll be watching the (Chivas USA-Colorado) game tomorrow with our fingers crossed, hoping things go our way.”

n

n

{democracy:24}

AT A GLANCE

FC Dallas at Real Salt Lake
Oct. 18, 2008, Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah.
Scoring Summary:
DAL — Marcelo Saragosa 1 (Adrian Serioux 3) 7
RSL — Yura Movsisyan 6 (Javier Morales 14) 35
RSL — Will Johnson 2 (Chris Wingert 3) 54
RSL — Robbie Findley 6 (Javier Morales 15, Andy Williams 3) 86

FC Dallas — Dario Sala, Adrian Serioux (Eric Avila 58), Duilio Davino, Drew Moor, Blake Wagner, Victor Sikora (Dominic Oduro 71), Bruno Guarda, Pablo Ricchetti, Marcelo Saragosa, Jeff Cunningham, Kenny Cooper (Jamie Watson 79).

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Jamison Olave, Robbie Russell, Ian Joy, Kyle Beckerman, Dema Kovalenko (Andy Williams 46), Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Clint Mathis (Kenny Deuchar 89), Yura Movsisyan (Robbie Findley 73).

Misconduct Summary:
RSL — Robbie Russell (caution; Reckless Foul) 10
DAL — Marcelo Saragosa (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 22
RSL — Dema Kovalenko (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 22
DAL — Marcelo Saragosa (ejection; Second Caution) 30
DAL — Eric Avila (caution; Reckless Foul) 68
DAL — Duilio Davino (caution; Reckless Foul) 77
DAL — Pablo Ricchetti (ejection; Violent Conduct) 90

Leave a Reply

Advertise Here
Advertise Here