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Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014

Real Salt Lake ties MLS unbeaten record with draw against FC Dallas

By Mike Sorensen, Deseret News

Published: Sat, May 24 9:15 p.m. MDT

 Real Salt Lake midfielder Cole Grossman (12) shoots on FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz (18) during an MLS match in Sandy Saturday, May 24, 2014. RSL and FC Dallas finished in a 0-0 draw.

Real Salt Lake midfielder Cole Grossman (12) shoots on FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz (18) during an MLS match in Sandy Saturday, May 24, 2014. RSL and FC Dallas finished in a 0-0 draw.

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SANDY — At least the streak is still alive.

That’s about all you can say about Real Salt Lake’s 0-0 draw with FC Dallas Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.

With the result, RSL tied a Major League Soccer record for the longest unbeaten streak to start a season, as it improved to 6-0-6. Three other teams — the Los Angeles Galaxy in 1996 and 2010 and Kansas City in 2000 — also began the season with 12-game unbeaten streaks.

RSL never really came close to scoring, while Dallas, whch had gone 0-5-1 over the past month, seemed content to get out of town with a point in the standings.

Despite the draw, RSL coach Jeff Cassar didn’t seem at all disappointed in his postgame remarks to the media.

“I was extremely proud of them because our soccer wasn’t particularly great tonight,’’ he said. “But I thought our fight and our commitment was and if we’re getting results when our soccer isn’t particularly great, I think that’s huge for us.’’

“It was a little frustrating that we didn’t play better soccer,’’ added defender Chris Wingert. “But the effort was good and it’s been awhile since we got a shutout and that is definitely a team that can lull you to sleep and then catch you."

Cassar pointed out that Dallas was playing defensive all night, packing as many as six players in the back. Wingert said it wasn’t surprising, since Dallas had played Wednesday night, while RSL had a week between games.

“Without a doubt, they had six staying back and four staying out high,’’ said Cassar. “It’s about how quickly we move the ball and I don’t think we moved it quickly enough and sharp enough. But we have to tip our hats to Dallas tonight for coming here and trying to get that road result, which they did.’’

Cassar felt his team came out “a little flat” and didn’t give itself many opportunities in the first half. Both teams had four shots in the opening half, but none on goal.

“We were moving the ball and possessing the ball, but really with no purpose,’’ Cassar said. “I thought in the second half we were much livelier. But if you’re not moving and forcing them to move, it’s really hard to break them down.’’

According to Cassar, Jeff Attinella had another “excellent” game in place of regular goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who was named to the U.S. World Cup team earlier in the week. Attinella had three saves in the second half, the best one coming in the 52nd minute on a shot by Tesho Akindele, which Attinella came out to stop on the left side.

“I only see him getting more comfortable and confident each game,’’ said Cassar.

RSL finished with 15 shots, compared to nine for Dallas, but only one required a save by former RSL goalkeeper Chris Seitz.

Now Real will have a chance to break the MLS unbeaten record Saturday, but it won’t be easy as the game will be on the road against first-place Seattle, which sits two points ahead of RSL in the Western Conference standings.

GAME NOTES: RSL leading scorer Joao Plata left the game in the first half with with what Cassar called “a slight hamstring pull,’’ and he’ll be evaluated Monday. ... For the first time this season, Robbie Findley was part of RSL’s 18 and he entered the game in the 65th minute to warm applause from the sellout crowd. ... The 20,488 on hand marked the fourth sellout in six games for RSL this year and was the 33rd all time. ... RSL’s last home win over Dallas came nearly two years to the day on May 26, 2012. Last year, RSL won 3-0 in Dallas, lost 2-0 in Dallas and tied at home 1-1. ... Earlier this week, Rimando and midfielder Kyle Beckerman were both named to the U.S. World Cup team, which will compete in Brazil next month. Beckerman and Rimando, along with Alvaro Saborio, who plays for Costa Rica, won’t be back until July. ... Cassar and Dallas coach Oscar Pareja were teammates in Dallas from 2003-05. Cassar had stints in Dallas as a goalkeeper and also as an assistant coach for part of the 2007 season before joining RSL.

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