Author: Richard Farley


MLS Snapshot: FC Dallas 2-1 Real Salt Lake

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One game, 100 words (or less): Controlling the ball without controlling the danger, Real Salt Lake nearly felt the stink of FC Dallas’s counterattack early, with chances for Fabián Castillo and Tesho Akindele giving the home side chances at an early lead. When Blas Pérez was dismissed just before halftime, FCD looked set to rue those  misses, but when Michel’s 49th minute corner found Je-Vaughn Watson, fortune shined on the home side.

In the 75th minute, Castillo took advantage of the extra space on the field to score his ninth goal of the season, with only a late overhead volley from Olmes Garcia getting RSL on the board. Still unbeaten since May, Dallas won, 2-1.


FC Dallas: Watson 40′, Castillo 75′
Real Salt Lake: None

Three moments that mattered:

44′ – Ismail Elfath takes center stage – It was a non-Dallas fans’ dream come true: Blas Pérez booked for simulation. The only problem: Chris Schuler gave the Dallas attacker a very obvious two-handed push, reacting after the two were entangled going up for a challenge. While you could argue Pérez did what he could to embellish the contact, it’s easier to note Schuler is a very big, very strong guy. He’s certainly capable of sending a man to the ground (especially a willing one).

Elfath went to a solution fans have mentioned for a long time, booking both the fouler (Schuler, in this case) and the embellisher. Unfortunately for Dallas, the rarely seen move left them down a man, leaving plenty of debate as to whether the wrong player was sent off.

49′ – Oops – Sometimes Dallas’s success is so simple. For example: Utilizing Michel’s delivery on dead balls. Just after halftime, the Brazilian utility man swung a corner to the edge of the six, one that froze players after a skimmed off  Schuler’s head. On the other side of the big defender was Watson, who saw the ball deflect of his left arm (drawn into his chest) and into goal for the opening score.

75′ – The one, little mistake – Against most teams, the poor header Nat Borchers sent into midfield wouldn’t be a fatal sin. When Fabián Castillo is on the field, however, he provides his own simple solution. Picking up the errant ball, Castillo got his chance to go one-on-one against Borchers, a challenge the veteran defender was bound to lose. When Castillo also beat Nick Rimando into the far site netting, Dallas had its game-winning goal.


FC Dallas: Raul Fernández; Je-Vaughn Watson, Zach Loyd, Matt Hedges, Jair Benítez (Kelyn Acosta 64′); Fabián Castillo (Peter Luccin 79′), Adam Moffat, Victor Ulloa, Andres Escobar (Ryan Hollingshead 69′); Blas Pérez, Tesho Akindele
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Chris Schuler, Chris Wingert (Olmes Garcia 56′); Luke Mulholland (Sebastian Velasquez 74′), Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy; Luis Gil; João Plata, Robbie Findley (Devon Sandoval 79′)

Three lessons going forward:

1. FC Dallas is for real – You can’t take 11-on-10 games too seriously, no matter who wins, but if you look at the game in terms of what we learned about Dallas, the result is less aberration than reinforcement. We knew they were good on set pieces. We knew Fabián Castillo is near unstoppable; at least, right now. After tonight, we have another situation where those virtues can lead to victory.

Able to sit deep and play for set pieces and counters, Dallas may not only be capable of beating anyone. Against some of the league’s stronger sides — possession hoarders like RSL, Sporting, and Los Angeles — they may be perfectly set up to do so.

2. Saborío, Morales missed – I’m not sure this qualifies as a lesson as much as a known fact, but when Real Salt Lake struggled to generate decent chances despite their numerical edge, it was easy to think “pumping it into Saborío would be nice,” or “getting Morales between the lines would be good” – you know, the simple observations that reminded you neither of those stars were actually there. Else, Jeff Cassar would have leaned on them.

3. So I guess Je-Vaughn Watson is a right back – Watson was so good at right wing earlier this year that his move to right back seemed a purely function of need, as if Óscar Pareja was being forced to a move the Jamaican international because of injuries at the back. But now that Kelyn Acosta is back, Michael and Jair Benitez are options at fullback, and Walter Cabrera is on board, Watson is still getting time at right back.

Given how much success Óscar Pareja’s had, I’ll defer to him: no criticism; no qualms; no recent failures to cite as in noting this move tools weird. Pareja’s earned the benefit of the doubt. Watson at right wing was great, but using his ability to get forward from deeper in attack might fit how Pareja sees his team moving forward.

Where this leaves them:

  • RSL stayed tied atop the Western Conference with 42 points, although they’ve played two more games than Seattle.
  • With the same number of points, the same number of games played as RSL, Dallas has a share of the West’s lead, technically sitting above the conference champs thanks to one more victory on the season.

WATCH: Previewing the Premier League’s six-match Saturday

Roberto Martínez has exceeded early expectations at Everton, his "transition period" seeing the Toffees drop just one of their first 15 league games. (Source: Getty Images.)
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The second week of the Premier League season begins with familiar names at the top of the table: Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Liverpool. Three of those teams face serious challenges this weekend, with the defending champions’ visit from Brendan Rodgers’ Reds concluding a weekend that also features the Gunners’ trip to Goodison.

That match, which Everton took 3-0 last season, is the main event tomorrow – a six-match Saturday that starts 7:00 a.m. ET at Villa Park and ends with NBC’s coverage from  Merseyside. For a primer, check out the weekend preview, above.

Cristiano Ronaldo threw some punch-like thing at Diego Godín


Cristiano Ronaldo was a little short on chill today at the Vicente Calderón. Perhaps that was because of his health, with an injury keeping him on the bench for the first half of today’s Supercopa finale. Perhaps it was due to a frustrating second half, one that saw the superstar starved of chances in Real Madrid’s 1-0 loss. By the final whistle, an indefatigable Atlético brought out the chippy side of Sergio Ramos and El Real, with Ronaldo providing day’s the most violent display.

The moment came near full-time, with a Real Madrid corner from the left giving the European champions faint hope of an equalizer. Soon after, the team’s frustrations resurfaced in punch from its leading scorer, who elected to change sports on Diego Godín rather than play the incoming ball.

Thanks for this, Ryan:

This is bad, stupid, should draw a suspension, and all that jazz, but it’s about time we addressed the underlying issue, one we rarely talk about when we see our role models embrace violence:

Why can’t these guys throw a punch?

I don’t want to suggest that every kid be taught how to throw a proper punch, but if you don’t know how, maybe pass on the assault? I mean, definitely pass on it, regardless, but if you’ve already decided to do something only your seven-year-old self can really appreciate, maybe do something you can actually pull off? If “punching somebody” isn’t on this list, center stage at the Calderón isn’t place to break new ground.

And was see it in other sports, too. Basketball rights are ridiculous. You see a punch land in a baseball brawl occasionally but most of the time it’s errant haymakers and wrestling takedowns. The only sport team sport where the fighting holds up in hockey, where the only people who fight are the ones that know they can throw a punch.

Just incase you’re reading this, Cristiano, you don’t throw a punch as if there’s a baseball on the end of your arm. This isn’t you tossing your boot into your bag or flinging your shorts into the pile. You don’t start your punch from behind your head and fling it forward like you’re launching a football. Were there never any fights in Lisbon?

I’m guessing no, which isn’t such a bad thing, though it’s certainly a reason not to pick up the practice now. But your chance to develop into a hard man is gone. Vinnie Jones is laughing at you.

Cristiano Ronaldo: Fighting is not for you.