Penalty kicks and Fabian Castillo stole the show Saturday night at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas as FC Dallas defeated Real Salt Lake 2-0.
It may not have been one of the marquee matchups of MLS’ 2015 “Rivalry Week” encore, but both teams entered the match desperately seeking points. FC Dallas looked to end a three game losing streak and keep the Western Conference title within reach, while Real Salt Lake hoped to gain momentum after just snapping a three game losing streak of their own with a win over Seattle Sounders one week ago.
Both teams saw plenty of scoring chances throughout the night, though Dallas enjoyed the lion’s share with 21 shots to Real Salt Lake’s 9. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando kept Real Salt Lake in the match during the opening ten minutes, saving a blistering shot by David Texeira and rushing off his line to disrupt a darting dribble run into the box by Fabian Castillo.
Four minutes after the break, 2014 MLS Rookie of the Year Tesho Akindele received the ball in the box, turned to dribble, and was tripped by Demar Phillips. Akindele placed his penalty shot up the middle past the diving Rimando to open the scoring.
For the next half hour, both teams traded several scoring chances, with Dallas seeming the more likely side to find the net. In the 78th minute however, Dallas midfielder Kellyn Acosta clattered into the back of Real Salt Lake’s Juan Manuel Martinez in the box. Acosta earned a yellow card for his foul and RSL earned a penalty kick. On the ensuing penalty attempt, Gonzalez guessed correctly with an outstretched dive to his left, but it wouldn’t matter as Javier Morales’ shot ricocheted off the post.
Seconds after Morales’ penalty miss, FC Dallas midfielder Michael Barrios fed the ball to Fabian Castillo who pressed into space uncontested, surging toward the top of the box where he struck a hard, low shot past Rimando’s left to make it 2-0 for Dallas. It was the kind of run and finishing shot that earned Castillo his first international call up for Colombia for next week’s international friendlies.
Rookie goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez earned his first career shutout in just his second start. The 20-year-old made his FC Dallas first team debut last week in Vancouver in place of the injured Dan Kennedy.
The win vaults FC Dallas into third place in the Western Conference with 41 points (5 points behind first place LA Galaxy, 4 points behind second place Vancouver Whitecaps). The loss combined with Colorado’s win over Sporting Kansas City Saturday night drops Real Salt Lake to last place in the West with 32 points.