Steve Morrow’s firing was the big storyline heading into this clash between Western Conference rivals and the fact that FC Dallas pulled out its first victory in four matches might suggest that Morrow’s dismissal was necessary.
Real Salt Lake fans might start asking about their own head coach, Jason Kreis, who hasn’t been on the sidelines for an RSL victory in five straight matches. Kreis’ squad found a way to blow a lead and continue a miserable track record on the road.
SBI Correspondents Casey Corcoran and Scott McAllister took in the action and shared their thoughts with us.
Post-Morrow era starts with a win
By CASEY CORCORAN
They are called the Hoops, the Red Stripes, Los Toros. In congruence with a recent NASA mission and possibly a better descriptive title for this team, the phoenix stripes. All the signs were there Saturday; a low turnout from fans, an interim coach, a man advantage erased by a stupid move from the longest tenured player, and a goal deficit.
Everything was going down the tube. Late in to the game, giving up a goal against the run of play, I would be lying if I said I had any hope left. Luckily, out of the shadows, Mister Dominic Oduro dropped his pants pants and became the finisher he will hopefully be. The first of his two goals came from a well placed ball from Drew Moor, similar to the Jozy Altidore goal he assisted on against Mexico. All it took was a little flick and the ball was in the net. Suddenly, the fans had something to cheer for.
The next goal displayed something this team has seemingly been lacking, emotion. Controlling the run of play, with three minutes of stoppage time remaining, Andre Rocha prodded around. Rocha has shown a keen sense of awareness and displayed it by popping a straight ball through to Oduro. Until many many times before, Oduro coolly brought the ball back to his right, froze the goalie and slotted in to the right side of the net. The emotion he displayed after gave this fan some hope. This is what a young team can thrive upon. This is a catalyst for emotional play. If you can not win by experience, you win by persistence.
This team has to create its own identity. All the cards are there for a young, fast, scrappy team to emerge. It might not be the prettiest, and it might not have the best passing, but when you can not play a certain style, you adapt and play what you can. And when you can not fill the seats, you win. You win over and over and over. Dallas has millions of sports fans, and they notice when teams do well. This is a positive direction. This team has a positive resource of youthful players. Hopefully the next coach does not destroy the foundation laid by Steve Morrow.
The players need to take this team by the reigns, at least in the interim. They know the system; they control the team’s destiny. Players like Pablo Ricchetti, Dario Sala, Dulio Davino and Bobby Rhine need to step up and instill a little bit of pride in the young hearts of the team. Give the fans a solid reason to pay money and come to Pizza Hut Park, even if to say screw you to the General Manager. Luckily, I think nothing can save Hitchcock’s tenure. That is when the Hunt Sports Group can fix the mistakes they have made, and bring in some quality to run Pizza Hut Park and this team. The base is laid, all it needs is a nurturing hand.
Still no answers to RSL’s losing ways
By: Scott McAllister
Leading up to Real Salt Lake’s match up with FC Dallas on Saturday I initially thought that the stars were aligning for an RSL road win with FC Dallas head coach Steve Morrow getting sacked earlier in the week. However, as the week progressed I wasn’t sure what to think.
Dallas came out with all the fire and intensity of a team whose players were uncertain of their future. The Hoopes were flying all over the field, but Salt Lake was patient and controlled the midfield early. It was nice to see that RSL was the calm and collected side while the other side was frantically running all over the pitch.
Unfortunately, as has been the case many, many times before, the good ball movement didn’t lead to any dangerous scoring chances. Dallas, on the other hand, continually looked more dangerous on the counter. Towards the end of the first half, right around the time that Ian Joy was sent off for his second lunge into Kenny Cooper, FCD began to take control of the game. It might actually be more accurate to say that Salt Lake lost control of the game. They stopped playing through Javier Morales and reverted to lumping the ball over the top to the forwards.
On the defensive end the Hoops saw the mismatch between Joy and Cooper, and did what they could to get the ball to their big man. Cooper seemed to have his way with Joy, which lead to the left back to resort to going in for late tackles – earning him a pair of yellow cards.
Into the second period RSL got forward at times, and eventually bagged their lone goal on a nice counter orchestrated by Morales and Fabian Espindola. Morales and Kyle Beckerman are the offensive engine for RSL. When they’re getting forward, and the play is going through one of them, the goals flow freely. When they’re taken out of the equation, goals a lot harder to come by.
Espindola should get most of the credit on this goal because it was his touch to Morales that kept the play alive, and this his superb finish inside the near post from a small angle is what beat goalkeeper Dario Sala. It was a great goal, but also the last bright moment of the match for RSL.
One of the last images on the broadcast before it closed was a bewildered Jason Kreis still sitting on the bench several minutes after the final whistle had been blown. There is no doubt that he was searching for some kind of answer as to how his team could collapse in such a fashion. Poor defending handed FC Dallas their first win in almost a month. Drew Moor had acres of space before serving a high ball for Dominic Oduro to tip over the hands of Nick Rimando. On the final goal, it’s a mystery as to how Oduro wasn’t marked in the penalty area, and why Nat Borchers couldn’t keep his feet in front of the Dallas strike man.
It’s more of the same on the road Real Salt Lake. A return to Rice-Eccles Stadium couldn’t come soon enough. Their next league match will be a return to the Wasatch Front as San Jose comes for a visit on Saturday.