Ten man FC Dallas beat Real Salt Lake behind Fabian Castillo

Published Friday, August 22, 2014 10:14 PM by Shane Barrow
Ten man FC Dallas beat Real Salt Lake behind Fabian Castillo

The two hottest teams in MLS met Friday night in Frisco, Texas amidst a monster crowd and 100 degree temperatures.  A result for Real Salt Lake would leave them top of the MLS Western Conference.  A win for FCD would vault them into a first place tie with RSL and Seattle.  The concentration and focus was evident from the start as neither team was willing to give an inch.  Hard tackles and mouthing came with almost every confrontation it seemed and the referee quickly showed he was not quite up to the level that this match would require.

Half chances were presented but neither team were able to really earn that clear cut opportunity.  Fabian Castillo was once again in elite form showing why he has become one of the most feared attackers in MLS this season.  The major event of the opening 45 minutes turned out to not be an attack, but instead a referee decision.  And a nightmare of a decsion at that.

As Blas Perez was settling to control a high ball RSL defender Chris Shuler climbed over Perez and flattened him to the turf.  An obvious foul that was whistled.  Then as Perez got to his feet Schuler put two hands in the chest of Blas and shoved him back to the ground.  Looked like what could have easily been deemed a straight red card for Schuler.  Instead the referee issued only a yellow to Schuler and then issued a second yellow and red to Perez for diving.  Replays showed it was clearly not a dive at all.  A two handed shove from Schuler was the cuase.  Now FC Dallas were left to play the entire second half short handed.

The question coming out of the locker rooms was how would FC Dallas react to the phantom sending off.  Would they be able to manage the game and absorb the RSL possession while creating some counter attack opportunities of their own?  The answer came quite quickly in fact as FC Dallas went in front on a corner kick in the 47th minute.  A well placed Michel corner found the chest of Je-Vaughn Watson where he directed it past Nick Rimando for the lead.

Real Salt Lake almost had the match even within minutes though as Robbie Findley got his head on a looping free kick.  The ball was only inches too high as it came off the crossbar and down just outside the goal line.  Plenty of time for the visitors to answer.  Still forty minutes to play.

RSL kept pressuring Dallas, but it was the counter attack of FCD that would be the story of the second half.  In the 74th Dallas made it 2-0 on a classic counter.  A nice pass from Tesho Akindele released the speedy Fabian Castillo on the break.  Nick Rimando had no answer as Castillo fired low past the keeper and into the far corner of the net.  Is there anyone in MLS playing better than Fabian Castillo at the moment?  

Fifteen minutes to play and it looked to be all tall order for Real Salt Lake.  It seemed everytime the visitors got into a good spot in the second half they were let down by the final ball.  Three crosses straight out of bounds and a few shots nowhere near on target.  

Finally in the 91st minute RSL grabbed one back as Garcia snuck an overhead kick in at the far post.  Two minutes to salvage something at the death?  In the end, just not enough quality tonight from Real Salt Lake against a hungry FC Dallas side.

Looks like it is going to be quite the finish in the MLS Western Conference.  Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas all sit on 42 points atop the conference.  Get you popcorn ready!