Fun and games help RSL end long nightmare at FC Dallas
Frisco, Texas • Outside, most of the fans had scurried out of the stadium and rain was drenching the empty seats left behind.
Inside, the players knew they could be headed back out any moment.
So while waiting to play the final seven minutes of their game at FC Dallas on Sunday night, Real Salt Lake turned on the music and played little juggling games in their locker room to keep the mood light and lively.
"The guy who loses gets kicked in the butt," midfielder Kyle Beckerman reported.
It must have worked, because RSL emerged from a 1 hour and 52-minute lightning delay to close out a scoreless draw at Pizza Hut Park that snapped an agonizing nine-game road losing streak against the Hoops.
"We knew had to be focused and ready to go," goalkeeper Nick Rimando said.
That's because the Los Angeles Galaxy recently lost a similarly weather-delayed game here just a few weeks ago, and RSL did the same thing at Chicago a few years ago after thinking it had a firm hold on a victory. It also had allowed the winning goal in three of its last five losses at FC Dallas in the 82nd minute or later.
The team almost met another ghastly demise, with the Hoops begging referee David Gantar for a penalty kick in the dying moments after RSL's Jamison Olave knocked down forward Ruben Luna in the box.
But Gantar didn't award one, allowing the teams to settle for what was probably a just result.
It was special one, too, for coach Jason Kreis against his former team, "because every time we come here, I feel like I'm living a nightmare," he said. "I'm in the locker room here, and I'm mad, and I spend all night trying to figure out, why can't we play well in Dallas. At least, now we have the result."