Written by Phil Cerroni
By M. Timothy Maher
With rain threatening and temperatures dropping, FC Dallas (3-1-0) took the field to face off against Real Salt Lake (1-2-1) in Frisco. Dallas was hoping to remain perfect at home while Salt Lake looked to pull back above .500 for the first time since winning their season opener. Dallas didn't waste any time getting their first look at the goal in the 3rd minute when captain David Ferreira connected with fellow midfielder, Jackson, on a beautiful cross from the left flank into the box. Jackson's shot just missed the mark but the tone for the rest of the game was set.
Although they struggled to maintain possession and control the center of the field, Dallas did a good job testing the Salt Lake defense when they had possession. There were several flashes in the first half when Dallas showed signs that they were really starting to mesh as a team, and some quick, precise passes in tight spaces led to some fantastic attempts on goal. Unfortunately, they could not manage to find the back of the net on any of them. By the end of the first half Dallas had out-shot Salt Lake 5-3 despite losing the overall time of possession battle.
The second half took on a slightly slower pace as Dallas worked hard to gain control of the middle of the pitch, and Dallas' pressure took its toll on an already shorthanded Salt Lake (five players were away on international duty). By the midway point in the second half, the visitors were visibly sluggish and Dallas capitalized on Salt Lake's fatigue in the 71st minute. Jackson sent a high-arching cross to Fabian Castillo in the box. With a single touch, Castillo brushed the ball toward the end line before sending a laser past Salt Lake goal keeper Josh Saunders and into the goal. Salt Lake nearly answered in the 76th minute when Dallas keeper Chris Seitz (who is starting while Raul Fernandez is on international duty with Peru) dove to get a hand on a shot from forward Robbie Findley. You could hear all 11,181 fans take a collective gasp as the deflected shot went directly to the feet of Salt Lake forward Devon Sandoval who was now looking at an open net. Luckily for Dallas, Sandoval took a touch before shooting, allowing Dallas defender Matt Hedges just enough time to slide in and knock the ball safely away.
Dallas put the nail in the coffin in the 81st minute when, under pressure from Jackson, keeper Josh Saunders mishandled a routine back pass from teammate Lovel Palmer and Jackson was able to knock it home to give Dallas a 2-0 lead with only nine minutes remaining. As if that wasn't enough of an advantage, two minutes later Dallas would go a man up when Salt Lake midfielder Yordany Alvarez was called for a dive and awarded his second yellow card of the match (his first came late in the previous half on an aggressive tackle from behind on Ferreira).
FC Dallas will hit the road and travel to Foxborough next to face the New England Revolution (1-1-1) before heading up to Canada to take on Toronto FC. The next chance to see them at home comes on April 13th when they play host the Los Angeles Galaxy.