The game in 100 words (or less): Will the real Real Salt Lake please stand up? For the first four months of the 2015 Major League Soccer season, the Claret and Cobalt have were a thoroughly underwhelming shell of their former selves. As a playoff-less future became more and more certain, they responded last week with a resounding victory over the Seattle Sounders, giving themselves a glimmer of hope once again. Then, seven days later, they laid a gigantic egg in a 2-0 defeat to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on Saturday. Through 45 minutes, RSL looked a decent bet to grab a quality road point against a good but struggling (three straight losses) FCD side, but the second half began and ended in disastrous fashion and the playoffs now look a mighty big ask. Five minutes into the second half, Demar Phillips gave away a penalty (this after he should have been sent off at the end of the first half), Javier Morales missed a penalty of his own, and Fabian Castillo put the game to bed. At the end of the day, RSL (32 points) are six points off a playoff place and rock bottom of the Western Conference. FCD (41), meanwhile, leapfrog Sporting Kansas City into third in the West.
Three moments that mattered
50′ — Akindele taken down inside the box, converts the PK — Tesho Akindele went down inside the box under the slightest of heel kicks from Phillips. Perhaps the contact with the Canadian’s heel was enough to force his foot into the ground and lose his balance, but it’s quite unlucky for Phillips — who, it must be said, should have been off 10 minutes earlier.
77′ — El Burrito taken down in the box, but Morales misses the PK — Juan Manuel Martinez — nicknamed “El Burrito” — was taken down inside the box for a clear-as-day penalty kick, but Javier Morales could only put the ensuing spot kick onto the post of Jesse Gonzalez and watch as Joao Plata skied his effort off the rebound.
79′ — No one steps to Castillo, so he shoots and scores — Seriously, that’s Fabian Castillo dribbling right through the heart of midfield and bearing on your defense. At some point, somebody should step to him and force him to get rid of the ball. If you don’t, he’ll eventually get rid of it himself…into the back of your net.
Man of the match: Kellyn Acosta
Goalscorers: Akindele (PK – 51′), Castillo (79′)