by TYLER GRAY
After years of frustrating trips to Texas, which never would end in victories, Real Salt Lake finally figured out how to win in the Lone Star State.
Thanks to three impressive goals and a couple of huge saves from back-up goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, red-hot Real Salt Lake stretched their unbeaten run to eight matches with a 3-0 victory over FC Dallas on Saturday night.
Javier Morales and Ned Grabavoy provided goals in each half, while Olmes Garcia delivered a late insurance goal to push RSL’s current run to 11 unbeaten in all competitions, and five wins in their past six MLS matches.
Real Salt Lake decided to switch up their formation, opting to go with a 4-2-3-1 in order to combat history and some key absences in the hope of securing three points. Kyle Beckerman, Alvaro Saborio, Tony Beltran and Nick Rimando all missed the match due to the Gold Cup, but RSL saw their back-ups step up yet again.
FC Dallas was also was the more dangerous side early on with many of the most promising opportunities flowing through forward Fabian Castillo. The 21-year old forward caused RSL’s defense all kinds of problems forcing a few saves from RSL goalkeeper Josh Saunders, but it was the visiting side who would get on the scoreboard first.
The breakthrough came in the 39th minute via Morales. The RSL substitute captain received the ball 25 yards away from goal and charged down FC Dallas defender Zach Lloyd. Morales waited until the very last second and slipped a clever shot through the legs of Lloyd and inside the far post, beating the outstretched arm of Dallas goalkeeper Raul Fernandez.
RSL received its first scare of the night when goalkeeper Josh Saunders rushed out to clear a ball and landed awkwardy. The RSL netminder appeared to tweak his left knee but opted to stay on. As the second half started, Saunders attempted a goal kick and immediately crumpled. He was then subbed out for RSL newcomer Jeff Attinella.
In the 79th minute, RSL doubled the their lead through the legs of midfielder Ned Grabavoy. Defender Abdoulie Mansally made a streaking run down the right side of Dallas’ defense and picked out the underrated midfielder who took one touch and then blasted the ball into the back of the net.
Olmes Garcia put the game out of reach in the 90th minute after Luis Gil played a cross from the endline that fell to the electrifying forward who took it on the half volley and blasted it into the back of the net, making the score 3-0 in favor of the visitors.
In the end, substitute goalkeeper Attinella came up big, stopping several Dallas chances but it was Morales who was especially impressive, adding two assists to his first-half goal and pulling the strings of the RSL attack all game long.