RSL vs. FC Dallas liveblog

I got to cover the Real Salt Lake game today against FC Dallas. Rather than take notes in a more disjunct manner, I chose to write a live play-by-play blog of the game. Here's a transcript.

Courtesy of TheShums, coming to you live from the Rice-Eccles Stadium press box. Will Freddy Adu fulfill his potential? Will Jeff Cunningham show the same goal-scoring form he displayed last year? Can RSL not completely suck? Stay tuned for updates...

4:02 pm: Just had the national anthem, starting lineups now being introduced. I love sitting in the press box. Perfect view, free food and soda, stat sheets up the wazoo, people all around you to talk sports's great. This little tidbit from another writer: the FieldTurf at Rice-Eccles Stadium gets so hot that players run over to the sideline to get water to dump on their shoes.

4:07 pm: Freddy Adu introduced to raucous cheers from the crowd. (Can cheers be raucous if there are only seven or eight thousand people in the stands?) He's got a lot to live up to.

1st minute: GREAT chance from RSL, but Cunny can't get his head to it and Kreis deflects his shot off the keeper, then the woodwork. That would have been amazing.

3rd min: Dallas gets a decent work-up, but can't thread the ball to Ruiz. Goal kick.

4th min: Ballouchy gets kicked in the head, no card. Terrible cross off the ensuing free kick.

7th min: Dallas isn't looking very organized up front. They had a lot of changes in the off-season, most notably sending Ronnie O Brien to Toronto. So far, it shows.

9th min: Carey Talley given a yellow card after a questionable challenge. Bit of a weak call in my opinion, especially after Ballouchy got kicked in the face without a card given.

11th min: Kreis goes for goal from 35 yards out on a free kick, misses wide but still throws a scare into the Dallas keeper.

13th min: Through pass over the top is too ambitious from Talley. Goal kick for Dallas.

15th min: Kreis is playing MUCH more physically at his new position. He's already got a couple of fouls on him (although the Dallas players have been diving a bit). Speaks a lot of his professionalism that he would accept a more defensive position, even though he's the league's all-time leading goal scorer (108 career goals).

18th min: Pope hoofs the ball upfield to no one in particular. There have been one or two decent chances so far for each team, but the game has turned into a midfield battle. Ballouchy shoots wide.

19th min: GOAL, FC Dallas. Kenny Cooper slots the ball past Danny Torres, Rimando gets a paw to it but not enough to push it out. 1-0, Dallas.

21st min: Freddy skies a wide open shot over the cross-bar. He has looked good so far, but needs to finish those chances.

23rd min: Danny Torres puts a weak attempt off a corner kick right at the Dallas keeper. RSL simply can't finish at the moment.

24th min: Ruiz slots a shot wide of Rimando. He hasn't inspired a lot of confidence yet. Adu does some really nice work up the left side, earning a corner.

25th min: Talley's through ball again just too far for Adu. If that ball was on grass, that's a shot on goal for Freddy. I hate turf. The football lines don't help, either.

27th min: Nice cross from Ballouchy, but Kreis doesn't get all of it and it deflects off a Dallas defender. Corner for RSL.

28th min: Resulting corner goes out off Torres for a goal kick.

29th min: GOAL, RSL. Cunny puts it in all alone after Goodson falls down at the back. 1-1. Beautiful cross from Klein, too.

30th min: Yellow card on Goodson for falling down like a pansy while trying to defend Cunny on that last goal.

32nd min: Empty-handed after a corner and throw-in for RSL. Dallas counters but an awful first touch from the right wing leaves the ball out of bounds for RSL.

34th min: Kreis shoots right at the keeper from 30 yards out, missing Pope making a run. Still, the offense looks good. But RSL is breaking down defensively too easily on counter-attacks.

35th min: VERY nice possession workup for RSL results in a ball just out of Klein's reach. Still, impressive.

37th min: Decent possession for FC Dallas, but final cross goes wide of goal for a goal kick. That defensive series was a little better from Real, but I'm still not comfortable with it.

39th min: Ballouchy, playing out wide, punts a ball to no one in particular. I prefer him in the middle of the field.

40th min: More physicality from Kreis. I like it, even if it is costing us possession sometimes.

42nd min: ANOTHER free kick after a foul by Kreis, but the resulting cross is headed out by Dallas. Goal kick, RSL.

44th min: RSL content to play the possession game a bit, waiting for Cunny to use his speed to make a run. Doesn't pan out this time, but it's a nice idea that worked several times last season. I just hope we don't get locked into that as our only option, because we have several other weapons now.

45th min: Torres lets Ruiz turn and get into the box, but the defense clamps down and the ball is cleared. Slightly frightening, though.

HALFTIME: No stoppage time for the first half, which ends in a 1-1 tie. RSL seemed to have the better of the run of play, including several chances and offensive possessions, but the defense still isn't satisfying. Dallas are lucky to get away with the score level, though.

Start of 2nd half: I just got handed the stat sheet. RSL leads in just about every category. In fact, Dallas has had just one shot on goal (which they promptly put away for their one goal. Real definitely should be ahead here.

48th min: Adu has the ball in the offensive third but gets just a little too cute with it and loses it. RSL regains possession but Cunny strays offsides (where have I seen that before? only ALL LAST YEAR...)

50th min: GOAL, JEFF CUNNINGHAM. Cunny puts away his second of the game off a rebound from a Jason Kreis shot from the point. Dallas was begging for offsides, but I think Cunny had the right position. 2-1, RSL.

55th min: Late foul call gives Dallas a free kick 25 yards away. Ensuing free kick caroms harmlessly off the RSL wall and out of bounds for a throw.

56th min: Rimando makes the easy save from an almost accidental Dallas shot. Dallas really haven't put together anything offensively, with their lone goal coming on a counter-attack.

58th min: Another easy save for Rimando. FC Dallas' shots have no strength behind them at the moment. Both teams seem content to slow down play and conserve energy a bit for the home stretch.

61st min: Quick restart catches Ballouchy completely off-guard -- his wild attempt to switch field causes Adu to swat an arm at the ball. Stupid. Nik Besagno comes in for Eddie Pope, a switch probably designed to save wear and tear on the oft-injured, aging defender.

62nd min: Freddy tries to dribble through the ENTIRE Dallas defense, coughing up the ball in the process. Ballouchy was there to help the entire time, but he might as well have been wearing a Dallas jersey. You're great, Freddy, but not THAT great.

64th min: A mistimed lead pass results in a Dallas counter-attack, but the defense gets back in time. Just told that Pope has suffered a left hip pointer and that's why he was taken out. Like I said, oft-injured.

65th in: GREAT save from Dallas keeper Shaka Hislop (hero of the recent World Cup for Trinidad and Tobago) as he picks off a Cunny cross intended for a streaking Freddy Adu. That would have been a sure goal. Props to Hislop.

66th min: Dax McCarty comes on for FC Dallas replacing Juan Toja. All that can be said about Toja's performance today is that he had the longest hair of anyone on the pitch. Adu's volley goes high, wide and handsome -- goal kick, Dallas.

68th min: Kreis finally pays for all the physicality and fouls he's given out this game, receiving a yellow card for running down Arturo Alvarez. Rimando easily saves the resulting set-piece shot.

70th min: Klein is taken down on a run up the left side -- the crowd wants a card but the referee isn't interested. Oduro comes on in place of Alvarez for Dallas.

72nd min: Freddy gets fancy again on the right side of the box, but his shot is deflected into Hislop's hands. I wish we had a keeper like Hislop -- he just inspires confidence even when the back line has a breakdown.

74th: Besagno tries to slip a ball into Adu but is denied, and he promptly clatters into a Dallas player. Cunny breaks away as two Dallas defenders run into each other, making him miles offside. Nunez uncorks a shot directly over the crossbar.

77th min: Really good workup in the offensive third, but it comes to naught as Adu loses the ball again. He just seems to hold on a touch too long, sometimes.

78th min: Nunez blasts another, and Rimando is lucky to push this one over the goal. The resulting corner is cleared. Phew. Still 2-1, RSL.

79th min: Ballouchy out, Cutler in. Cutler is much more of a defensive-minded player. Ellinger wants to hold onto this victory -- we'll probably see a little less movement forward for the last ten minutes.

81st min: Forko plays the man instead of the ball and gives up a free kick 33 yards away. The ball bounces harmlessly through the mixer for a goal kick.

82nd min: Klein is trucked as he's making a run up the right side -- Moor receives a yellow.

83rd min: Good save by Rimando. I think RSL's going to hang on here for the big opening-day win. Going down to field level now -- be back for post-game thoughts after doing some interviews.

DAMN. In the 94th minute (and there should not have been 4 minutes of stoppage, believe me), Dallas bangs a shot that glances off defender Jack Stewart, RSL keeper Rimando makes a complete ass of himself trying to save it, and Carlos Ruiz is there for the easy put-back. Tie ball game. BOLLOCKS. RSL let three points completely slip away. There's no way Dallas was the better team today. If I hadn't been covering the game in a professional setting, I would have been swearing. A lot. Crap.

Well, that was fun.

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