For the third time this season, Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas fought a close game, and once again, a slice of superb finishing denied RSL the result it knew it deserved. Dominic Oduro drilled a low shot just inside the far post two minutes into stoppage time to beat RSL, 1-0, Thursday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium. RSL coach Jason Kreis was ejected for vehemently protesting a collision he believed merited at least a RSL free kick, and keepers Nick Rimando and Dario Sala kept the game scoreless until the very end with some sparkling saves.
At the same venue on opening day, a last-minute Dallas goal forged a 2-2 tie. When the teams last met May 20 at Pizza Hut Park, Chris Gbandi's left-footed screamer brought his team a 2-1 victory.
Commissioner Don Garber and deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis were on hand to honor defender Eddie Pope, whose decision to retire after this season had been announced prior to kickoff. His RSL teammates came within seconds of earning their third straight shutout, but instead endured an MLS-record 10th straight game without a win.
FC Dallas generated far more scoring chances, with Juan Toja taking over the playmaking role with Ramon Nunez injured. Rimando, though, saved shots from distance by Arturo Alvarez and also blocked a point-blank blast by him. Oduro and Abe Thompson buzzed around the goalmouth as RSL defenders, left somewhat exposed by Kreis' decision to play with just one true holding midfielder, Chris Lancos, in the first half, scrambled to fill the gaps.
Alecko Eskandarian blew RSL's best chance of the match, drilling a shot into Sala's feet from point-blank range. His clumsiness, combined with inconsistent play from Freddy Adu, defused the RSL attack, as did Kreis' deployment of Atiba Harris in midfield, which hardly helped Mehdi Ballouchy conduct the forays.
Referee Ricardo Salazar dismissed Kreis after FCD defender Clarence Goodson banged Harris off the ball a yard outside the penalty area, and Kreis screamed furiously as Salazar allowed play to continue.
A long kick from Sala into the RSL defensive third was nodded forward by Marcelo Saragosa, whose flick on bounced toward Jack Stewart and Oduro. Stewart fell as Oduro powered for the ball and he waited patiently for the right bounce before ripping a low shot past Rimando, whose 10 saves turned out to be not enough.
FC Dallas posted its first shutout in 20 games and got a second straight win without Carlos Ruiz (international duty for Guatemala) and Kenny Cooper (broken leg). RSL's 10-game winless streak to start a season is an MLS record.