David Ferreira scored the decisive goal for Dallas, finishing a counterattack by collecting MF Brek Shea’s pass and slamming a 15-yard shot inside the top right corner in the 94th minute.
RSL ran out a makeshift starting lineup, beginning the game with captain Kyle Beckerman, leading scorer Álvaro Saborío and regular midfielder Will Johnson on the bench after all three played 90 minutes for their respective national teams on Wednesday.
RSL was the better team for the entire game, dictating the play and creating a multitude of chances. The Claret-and-Cobalt had its first opportunity in the 11th minute. MF Javier Morales played FW Fabían Espíndola in on the left edge of the area, allowing the Argentine striker to rip a first-time shot to the near post that Dallas GK Kevin Hartman parried away for a corner.
The match got a bit heated in the next 15 minutes. Both sides went in hard on several challenges, leading to some frayed nerves on the field and three yellow cards for RSL – one each for Tony Beltran, Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Espíndola.
Espíndola nearly put RSL up 1-0 in the 30th minute. He collected Yordany Alvarez’s pass at the top-right corner of the 18 and cut in on his left foot, ripping a low 20-yarder to the near post that Hartman tipped away with a fine diving save.
Real Salt Lake kept the pressure on after Espíndola’s chance, coming close again in the 35th minute. Beltran had the chance, absolutely ripping a long range curler from the right side that Hartman did incredibly well to tip away.
Beltran’s chance took the game into halftime, which saw both sides make a change. RSL brought Saborío on for the yellow-carded Espindola and Dallas inserted Jackson for Jonathan Top.
RSL started the second half brightly, attacking the Dallas goal with tenacity. The Claret-and-Cobalt had its first chance of the second frame in the 51st minute, when Saborío dribbled into the left side of the area before hitting a low shot that the onrushing Hartman blocked.
Saborío had a golden opportunity in the 55th minute, getting on the end of a Morales free kick for a free header from the penalty spot. Unfortunately, the Costa Rican international couldn’t do anything with the chance, meekly heading wide of the left post.
Dallas made RSL pay for not taking advantage of its opportunities in the 61st minute, when Fabian Castillo scored against the run of play to put FCD up 1-0. Castillo combined with fellow Colombian MF David Ferreira on the play, connecting on a give-and-go with the 2010 MLS MVP to round Beltran on the left side of the box before curling a shot inside the far post from a tight angle.
Dallas got a boost from the goal, getting good looks in both the 68th and 72nd minutes. RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando came up big on the second chance, diving to his right to keep out a low drive from Castillo.
RSL turned the pressure way up after Castillo’s 72nd minute opportunity and came incredibly close to equalizing in the 75th minute. Watson-Siriboe got on the end of a Morales corner at the right post and hit a powerful header to the far post only for Jair Benitez to clear the ball off the line.
The Claret-and-Cobalt didn’t have to wait much longer for the equalizer, getting a goal from Saborío on the ensuing corner to tie the game at 1-1. Morales had the assist, hitting a corner to the right post that Saborío nodded past Hartman and inside the far post.
RSL pushed hard for the win after Saborío’s goal, but couldn’t quite find it, eventually getting caught out on another counter to set up Ferreira’s winner. Shea led the break, collecting a pass on the left wing and switching fields to Ferreira to set the Colombian up for his screamer of a goal.
The Claret-and-Cobalt return to action on Tuesday, when they’ll host Panamanian champs Tauro FC in a crucial CONCACAF Champions League Group Stage battle at Rio Tinto Stadium.