By TYLER GRAY
Two hot teams and an even hotter evening set the stage for an unforgettable performance from FC Dallas on Friday night.
A first-half red card sent off Blas Perez and looked like it might doom FC Dallas, but they scored two goals while down a man to silence Real Salt Lake, 2-1, and vault themselves into a three-way tie for first place in the Western Conference. Goals from Je-Vaughn Watson and Fabian Castillo stunned a visiting RSL.
The match was testy from the beginning, with both Perez and teammate Michel picking up early yellow cards.
Things got even more interesting in the 45th minute, when an altercation between Perez and RSL defender Chris Schuler resulted in the Panamanian sent off with his second yellow.
Schuler was fighting for position to win a header when Perez went down under the challenge. The RSL defender thought he went down a little too easily and shoved him in the chest when Perez tried to stand up. The Panamanian embellished his fall and was shown his second yellow of the night. Schuler also received a yellow for his contribution.
Despite being shorthanded, the home side got on the board first when Michel’s corner kick found Watson. The defender chested the ball on goal and put Dallas up 1-0 in the 50th minute of play.
RSL had a number of half-chances in the second period, but were unable to truly threaten and the home side made them pay in the 74th minute.
Just minutes after skying a chance after getting in behind the opposing defense, Castillo put Dallas up 2-0. The speedy Colombian continued his torrid run of form when he charged into the box and blasted a powerful shot that slipped under the outstretched arm of goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
Real Salt Lake forward Olmes Garcia stole a goal in stoppage time when his mini-bicycle kick was deflected by the Dallas defense and snuck inside the near post, making it 2-1 in the 92nd minute.
Castillo’s goal would hold up for Dallas in the end, however, as they stretched their unbeaten streak to 10 games.