Saturday, May 26, 2012
FCD's winless skid hits nine with wild loss
By ESPN.com news services
SANDY, Utah -- Nat Borchers doesn't score many goals. When the veteran defender does come up with one, however, they usually are clutch.
That was certainly the case Saturday night when Borchers scored in stoppage time to give Real Salt Lake a 3-2 victory over FC Dallas.
Alvaro Saborio had two second-half goals to help Salt Lake (9-3-2) extend its unbeaten streak to six games. Dallas (3-8-4) is winless in nine games, despite getting second-half goals from Matt Hedges and Blas Perez, and hasn't won in Utah since 2007.
Borchers scored in the 93rd minute. A loose ball fell to his feet deep in the center of the box after being knocked around a bit. Borchers had a clear lane for a shot and the veteran defender hooked the ball inside the right post.
"We were pushing for that goal," Borchers said. "All the guys were fighting and were getting chances. It's going to happen when you put pressure on a team like that."
Injuries and absences for other reasons left both teams short-handed. A total of seven midfielders and defenders were scrubbed because of injuries for FC Dallas. An eighth player, Brek Shea, wasn't available because of a suspension. RSL didn't have goalkeeper Nick Rimando or team captain Kyle Beckerman because both were playing with the U.S. national team Saturday.
Even while suffering a loss, Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman felt encouraged by the effort he saw for 90 minutes. Hyndman was convinced his team did enough to nearly steal a point on the road.
"It's encouraging to score two goals," Hyndman said. "It's more encouraging to come back twice and not give up with the adversity that was out there."
Effects from the talent drain were felt in the first half. Dallas and Salt Lake combined for just seven shots and neither team could do much to gain advantage. Windy conditions also made balls hang in the air longer than normal and caused problems for each offense.
RSL coach Jason Kreis counted on things changing once the conditions grew more manageable in the second half.
"I wasn't anticipating the gates to open against us, but I was anticipating for us to score some goals -- which we did," Kreis said.
Salt Lake finally found some life on offense in the 59th minute. Terakazu Tanaka sent a cross to Saborio at the right post. Saborio leapt up and sent a header through the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
Dallas tied it at 1 in the 75th minute when Hedges launched a right footer from a difficult angle and snapped a 325 minute shutout streak by RSL. Goalkeeper Kyle Reynish actually parried away the initial shot from Hedges, but he did so from behind the goal line and the goal counted.
Saborio came through right away to extinguish any momentum Dallas gained from the equalizer. He latched onto a pass from Ned Grabavoy and then drilled a right footer from the right side of the box to make it 2-1 for Salt Lake.
Dallas tied it at 2 in the 85th minute when Perez fired a shot from the center of the box and the ball slipped off Reynish's glove.
Borchers erased those rallies in the end, but losing the lead twice did not sit well with several players in the RSL locker room.
"When you're out there and you give up leads like that, it's just absolutely deflating -- especially when you work that long in the game to not really give them anything," Grabavoy said.