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FC Dallas grabs late goal in 2018 MLS opener, draws Real Salt Lake 1-1

Mar 3, 2018; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas forward Maximiliano Urruti (37) reacts after his cross ends up an own goal against Real Salt Lake late in the second half at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

It looked like one of those nights where FC Dallas could not buy a goal.

With a little bit of luck and skill, Dallas earned a result, drawing Real Salt Lake 1-1 Saturday night in front of an announced 16,116 fans at Toyota Stadium. 

“[Soccer] is an incredible sport,” FC Dallas coach Óscar Pareja said. “Soccer is one of those sports that is very unpredictable and despite the dominance of the game and despite that what you put into the game, it does not give you what you deserve.”

A Maxi Urruti shot in the 86th was helped into the net by a Marcelo Silva slide tackle, saving a point for The Huntsmen on a night where it seemed that they were more likely to hit the post than the back of the net.

“I think Marcelo’s doing fine,” Real Salt Lake coach Mike Petke said. “I just think the goal started a heck of a lot higher up the field than that. Not going to name anybody, but we got to be a bit more intelligent as far as just kick the ball in the damn stands.”

Albert Rusnák found a streaking Joao Plata in the 25th minute, who cut back and slotted a shot past FCD keeper Jimmy Maurer for the opening goal of the match. 

“The game plan today when we were in transition going forward a lot of the time, it was exactly what we wanted it to be,” Petke said. “Our counterattack, our transition play today, our off-ball movement and interaction between guys like Plata, Savarino, Albert [Rusnák], Luis [Silva], Damir [Kreilach] stepped it up, even Kyle [Beckerman] at times was fantastic.”

Venezuelan forward Jefferson Savarino almost doubled the lead late, darting past the defense and evading a football-esque tackle from FC Dallas centerback Matt Hedges. Trying to round Maurer, Savarino took too big of a touch and the ball harmlessly went out for a throw-in. That proved to be a crucial error as Dallas was able to get an equalizer later on.

After a spell of possession-dominating play, including almost 70 percent of the ball in the first 15 minutes, Real Salt Lake began to lose grip on the game, giving chances to Dallas early on. Diaz played a quick free kick and found Urruti, who forced a save early on from Rimando.

“The first half was very good,” Pareja said. “It was what we are aiming for. It’s creating volume, creating options, and dominating the game.

Rimando was kept busy, as Hayes located Barrios alone on the right flank  in the 20th minute and Barrios unleashed a shot. Again, the netminder made a crucial save to keep RSL in the match, facing nine shots on target throughout the night. 

Dallas almost knotted the game 1-1 in the 39th minute when an overlapping Reggie Cannon found Urruti on the back post. Rimando parried the ball out but midfielder Mauro Diaz found it and Jacori Hayes struck the crossbar. The game remained in RSL’s favor.

Dallas ended up with 53 percent possession and 19 shots on goal, but only came away with the late Silva own goal.

“Soccer’s funny like that sometimes,” Hayes said. “Some of the opportunities you’ll think you’ll finish doesn’t fall your way.”

Dallas will take their early-season bye that was implemented for CCL this next week before returning to Toyota Stadium to take on reigning Western Conference Champion Seattle Sounders.

Real Salt Lake will play expansion side LAFC next weekend in their home opener at Rio Tinto Stadium.

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