Dallas Soccer: WILL JOHNSON

Preview: FC Dallas-Real Salt Lake

May, 25, 2012
Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis will be missing a number of key players due to injuries and international call-ups.

His club is still in better shape than FC Dallas.

RSL will try to extend its home winning streak to five Saturday night when Dallas looks to end its eight-match winless stretch.

Playing for the first time since a 1-0 victory at Seattle on May 12, Real Salt Lake (8-3-2) will be without goalkeeper Nick Rimando, Alvaro Saborio, Will Johnson and Kyle Beckerman on Saturday as they're all on international duty. The club also could be missing defender Chris Wingert (hamstring) and midfielder Javier Morales (quadriceps).

Kyle Reynish is expected to make his second start of the season in goal for RSL, while midfielders Yordany Alvarez and Luis Gil and defender Chris Schuler could see plenty of minutes against Dallas.

"We want to try to rotate the team in a way that we keep a strong spine or core group of players," Kreis told RSL's official website. "We will certainly hope for the same throughout the rest of the season."

Real Salt Lake, one point back of MLS-leading San Jose, is hoping to maintain its edge at Rio Tinto Stadium, where it is 5-1-0. The club's last five-game home winning streak was May 1-June 9, 2010.

RSL is 4-0-1 at home against Dallas since Rio Tinto Stadium opened. Real Salt Lake holds a 12-4 scoring edge in those contests.

That does not bode well for an FC Dallas club that's 0-5-1 on the road in 2012. Dallas (3-7-4) joins Portland and Toronto as the only teams without a victory away from home.

Dallas doesn't have a win on any field since a 2-1 victory over expansion Montreal on April 14. A 2-1 loss in Chicago on Wednesday stretched the team's winless streak to eight, two shy of the franchise record.

"We need to get points any way we can, a win, a tie, whatever," rookie defender Matt Hedges told the Fire's official website after scoring his first MLS goal Wednesday.

If the club is going to pick up any points Saturday, it will have to do so without midfielder Brek Shea, who will complete his three-game suspension after kicking the ball at an assistant referee in a 2-1 loss to Columbus on May 12.

Shea scored on a penalty kick in first-half stoppage time in a 1-all draw against visiting RSL on April 25.

Dallas played that match without suspended striker Blas Perez, while Real Salt Lake did not have forward Fabian Espindola and defender Jamison Olave available after both were red-carded in a 3-1 loss at San Jose on April 21.

Real Salt Lake is on a season-best 3-0-2 run since ending a two-game losing streak in last month's match with Dallas.

RSL's last six-game point streak was a 3-0-4 stretch June 11-July 23.

These teams conclude the season series Aug. 18 in Utah.
Scoring Summary:

DAL – Brek Shea (PK) 45
RSL – Emiliano Bonfigli (Will Johnson) 72

FC Dallas – Chris Seitz, Zach Loyd, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Jair Benitez, Bobby Warshaw (Hernan Pertuz 80), Brek Shea, Daniel Hernandez, Carlos Rodriguez (Jackson 56), Fabian Castillo, Scott Sealy (Jonathan Top 68).

Substitutes Not Used: Richard Sanchez, Victor Ulloa, Bruno Guarda, Matt Hedges.

TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Carlos Rodriguez, Jair Benitez, Fabian Castillo 2);
SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (four players with one);
FOULS: 13 (Zach Loyd 3);
OFFSIDES: 2 (Fabian Castillo, Scott Sealy 1);
CORNER KICKS: 3 (Daniel Hernandez 3);
SAVES: 4 (Chris Seitz 4).

Real Salt Lake – Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Chris Schuler, Chris Wingert, Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil (Ned Grabavoy 55), Will Johnson (Jonny Steele 83), Paulo Junior (Emiliano Bonfigli 69), Alvaro Saborio.

Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish, Yordany Alvarez, Terakazu Tanaka, Sebastian Velasquez.

TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Paulo Junior 3);
SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Alvaro Saborio 2);
FOULS: 19 (Paulo Junior, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales 3);
OFFSIDES: 1 (Alvaro Saborio 1);
CORNER KICKS: 3 (Javier Morales 3);
SAVES: 3 (Nick Rimando 3).

Misconduct Summary:
RSL – Will Johnson (caution; reckless challenge) 27

Referee: Geoff Gamble
Referee’s Assistants: Joe Fletcher, Phillippe Briere
4th Official: Drew Fisher
Attendance: 10,069
Time of Game: 2:00

Weather: Clear, 88 degrees
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman

General thoughts on the match…

I thought we really came out very slow. I thought that first 10, maybe 15 minutes, they had numerous opportunities in our attacking third to create shots and put the ball in the back of the net and we were able to survive. I thought after that we started picking it up, putting a lot of pressure on them, probably the latter 20 minutes of the first half, a lot of crosses, which is something we were talking about. We felt like with (Jamison) Olave out they would have a little trouble adjusting and we came close, but weren’t able to get the goal. We got a PK called. I didn’t see it, but the way the ball went off, I thought there might have been a hand ball.

The foul count was 12 to 5 in the first half and that was a real concern. It was very disruptive and a real concern. I think when Carlos (Rodriguez) went down with a dislocation of the elbow, it must have taken a lot out of the players. You don’t know what that does when a teammate is injured and everybody is looking at it, so I don’t think we had a very good second half, but we had an effort.

On the performance of Chris Seitz…

Chris is a solid keeper. As you know, a couple of years ago, he started for Philadelphia and I think it might have been the wrong place for him, an expansion team, giving up a lot of goals. I think, mentally, he was shot. We were able to pick him up and I think he finally has confidence. Last week when he went in, he wasn’t prepared. Kevin got hurt in the warm-ups, so (Seitz) really wasn’t nervous or scared, he just went in. So I was very interested to see how he would respond in this game, being able to sleep on it and prepare himself mentally and I think that he had a good game.

FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz

General thoughts on the match…

I think we came out with really good intensity. Towards the end of the first half we were really putting them under pressure. We created a lot of good chances. Defensively, we did well. We limited their chances and they’re a good team. They have been really successful on the road. The draw is a little disappointing for us, but as they say, on to the next one.

Did the early save you were forced to make give you confidence?

Yeah, anytime you get to touch the ball early in a game, you feel more comfortable. All ‘keepers want to get a feel for the ball early. Defensively, we held them to a decent amount of shots. We did pretty well.

Talk about your save on Saborio in the second half.
It was one of those where, you kind of hope he takes a big touch, but he didn’t take one big enough that I could come out and make a play. Brek made one heck of a run back to make his next move predictable for me and that gave me time to come out and close him down. But honestly it all started with Brek making that trek back following a free kick deep in our attacking third of the field.

FC Dallas midfielder Brek Shea

You were attacking for a lot of the first half, what were you able to take advantage of in RSL’s defense?

They crowd the middle so much and play so much in the center that we were able to take advantage out on the flanks and get some good centering passes and crosses off.

Talk about your penalty kick goal

It’s good to get a goal. Doesn’t matter how you get it. I am glad that I was able to covert it and help the team.

Were you glad to get a point out of this match considering all the injuries?

We have some new players, injuries, suspensions… It was good to get a point. I thought we should have won, but it’s good to at least get a point.

FC Dallas forward Jonathan Top

How did it feel to make your debut?

It felt good to get those first minutes in against Salt Lake. We weren’t able to get the win, but everyone worked hard and now we have to focus on our match Saturday against L.A.

What does it mean to you to get playing time?

It means a lot. It means a lot for any of the younger guys to get playing time. Whenever one of us gets time, we are all happy for one another. We’ve worked hard for it and we are always pushing each other. We just need to be ready whenever that time comes.

What did Schellas say to you before you went in?

He said just to play with confidence and work hard – make it difficult for them to play out of the back. That’s what I tried to do.

Was the speed of the game faster than what you were used to?

It was a little faster, but we see that in training every day. I did need to adapt quickly to it but overall I felt fine out there.

Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis

Does having not won in Dallas get into guys’ heads?

I don’t know. That’s a better question for the players. I’m pleased with a point, but I wanted all three. That’s kind of where I am at. We’re pleased with a result. We’re pleased we didn’t lose our third game in a row. With a little bit more and a little bit better, we come out of here with all three.

On the penalty kick call…

I am again disappointed in another referee’s decision. I have not watched the replay yet. For me, there is just no way that can be called a penalty kick. Whether it hits the player’s arm or not, it just seems indifferent. The Dallas player has not even touched the ball so it’s not like they were making an attempt on our goal. Someone who reads the game or is involved with the game more, knows that is never a penalty kick.

What did you do at halftime?

Just a couple of small tactical adjustments. I asked the guys for a little bit more, for a little bit better. This is the second game in a row where we were in a tough spot. We gave up a goal right before halftime and that can be very mentally draining. We stuck together and played a much better second half. I am very pleased with both of our second half responses in our last two games so we’ll see if we can’t stretch that 45 minutes into 90.

Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran

On the penalty kick call

I’m going to have to see it again to really comment on it, but just from what I thought happened during the play, I cleared it off of somebody and it came back and barely grazed my elbow. I was pretty disappointed with the call at the time. There is really no chance for me to get out of the way of that ball. I have to check it out again and then I will be more able to comment on it.

Real Salt Lake forward Emiliano Bonfigli (through a translator)

On making a difference in the game right away…

You work hard to get as many minutes as you can and luckily today I was able to get a lot of minutes. I’m proud to be able to come in and score a goal to help the team out and get a point.

Real Salt Lake midfielder Will Johnson

On the goal by Emiliano Bonfigli…

I just turned, saw him making a run and just tried to put it in (Bonfigli’s) path. I think he did the hard part. I’m just happy that we got the goal back and we were able to get a good road point.

Everyone’s really happy for him. He’s been working really hard in training and in the reserve games. Obviously with the Espindola suspension tonight, it was probably more than likely that he was going to get an opportunity to come in. This game is all about taking your opportunity and he’s certainly done that tonight. It’s put him in a good spot for more extended playing time in the future.

On Real Salt Lake being winless in Dallas…

Every game’s different and for whatever reason we haven’t been able to get a win down here, but we’ve played well at times and we’ve had opportunities at times, but it just hasn’t quite happened for us yet. But, we’ll take a road point in Dallas any day. On the road, we just try to get to a point where we give ourselves an opportunity to win. We gave ourselves that opportunity tonight and we’re unlucky not to come out of here with the three points.

On the result:

“This was a huge, huge match for us; probably the biggest one we’ve had this season against what I think is arguably the team that is in the best form right now. A positive result, doesn’t matter to me the score, to get all three points at home against them was big for us. It wraps up the series where we drew with them away and win at home.”

On the goal by midfielder Andy Williams:

“Kevin [Hartman] has been extremely good against us – I think he’s been extremely good against everybody – but for some reason he’s pulled off some incredible saves against us in the last year and a half since he’s been [with FC Dallas]. … Some of the assistant coaches and I were talking about ‘couldn’t we just get one bounce to go past Kevin Hartman,’ and we got it. I think a bounce has been a long time coming for this club.”

On the play of midfielder Luis Gil:

“[Luis Gil] has a ton of respect for the players around him and I think he’s often times thinking about how he can make a goal for somebody else rather than take the final responsibility. He did get himself into some really, really nice positions tonight and was a little bit hesitant [to take shots].”

On going into Quarterfinal Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against Dallas:

“When I said this match was one of the biggest, if not the biggest one that we’ve played in MLS this year, I wasn’t only talking about MLS. I knew there would be a positive statement to make to get a little confidence and go down to Dallas and hopefully move on in the U.S. Open Cup.


On matching up against FC Dallas midfielder Brek Shea:

“Sometimes it can be an interesting matchup for me because I’m a shorter guy but I also have speed. So I just have to be smart where I am setting up all of the time and with the tackles that I’m going in for… It’s about being sharp mentally.”

On playing well as a team against the speed of FC Dallas:

“They are a counter-attacking team, but if we keep the ball, which we did well at times, they can’t really get anything against us because they can’t have any opportunity to counter.”


On how the first goal changed the match for Real Salt Lake:

“Obviously getting that first goal, no matter how it comes, it’s always big. That was a bit of a relief because then they couldn’t just sit back and try to counter us anymore.”


On playing without their captain, Daniel Hernandez:

“We’re going without our captain and team leader, Daniel Hernandez. We left him behind at the last minute and I think that there was a little bit of confusion in our midfield between the three of them. But I thought they did do a pretty good job of just trying to stay compact and block the passing lanes and try to make the play predictable going out wide.”

On Kevin Hartman’s uncharacteristic mishandling of Andy Williams’ shot:

“I think that it was so easy that he took his eye off the ball to be honest. You see in the other football sport, when a ball is thrown right to a receiver and he’s got it in his hand and he drops it because he’s looking somewhere else. I think that was very uncharacteristic of Kevin.”

On Jackson’s second half opportunity to equalize:

“It was a great ball to Brek Shea and he took it down extremely well and he was going in to try to take the shot himself and he played a great ball across to Jackson and I don’t think he hit it as cleanly as he wanted to hit it. Give credit to [Chris] Wingert for never giving up and for coming in. I mean, that’s a 1-1 game and I don’t think Salt Lake scores unless the gods are with them.”

On returning to Dallas to play a U.S. Open Cup contest in three days’ time:

“We’re at home. We won’t be listening to a fantastic crowd like [Real Salt Lake] have. Hopefully the officiating is something we can live with. I think it’s a great opportunity for a recovery. We lost here, tied at home. It gives us a good opportunity to have a third match.”


On allowing the first RSL goal:

“It just seemed like the ball moved late. They obviously had guys in the box kind of anticipating me losing it and I just thought about that too much and it maybe knuckled and got behind me. It was unfortunate. I think the most important thing for me is it really kind of changed the game.”

On playing at Rio Tinto Stadium

It’s a tough place to play, between the altitude and the atmosphere and the confidence that they play with here. It’s always a difficult thing to come here and get a result and unfortunately tonight we weren’t able to do it.”

On FC Dallas’ fighting spirit trailing 1-0:

“I think that we are a team that battles and I thought we continued to push and we really had a great opportunity to tie it up when Jackson had that opportunity from six to eight yards out and we weren’t able to convert that and I think that we just continued to push and then gave up that second goal.”