Here are three takeaways from the 0-0 draw between Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas.
1. Sometimes you just run into an amazing goalkeeper
With as many bona fide chances RSL had to score, one would think that the club would be going back to Salt Lake City with three points in hand. But Jesse González had other ideas.
The FC Dallas keeper had five saves on the evening, three of which came in the first half. Those first three came on rather soft shots by RSL, but it was the next two that had acting head coach Freddy Juarez mentioning him during postgame comments.
In the span of four seconds, González made two gutsy saves that under normal circumstances would most likely have been goals.
Dallas didn’t outplay RSL in many aspects Saturday, but it definitely did at the net. And sometimes that’s all a team needs to steal a win from its opponent when nine times out of 10 it would go a different way.
RSL merely experienced the one out of 10.
2. Aaron Herrera is turning into a really nice defender
It’s only his second season in Major League Soccer, but Herrera seems to have already become a consistent player for RSL.
Herrera on Saturday amassed 10 clearances, five interceptions and and two tackles, both of which were in FC Dallas’ attacking third, per Opta. The clearances were equal in number to those of Justen Glad, Marcelo Silva and Donny Toia combined.
Throughout 2019, Herrera has vacillated between right back and left back, depending on what a particular game warrants and who is available to play. Despite that, he has fit in seamlessly, perhaps because he has earned his way into this preferred right side and has some heightened confidence because of that.
The homegrown player, who fought his way onto the starting lineup last season, is still young and has room to grow. But he already is putting himself in the conversation of being the best defender on the RSL roster.
3. Freddy Juarez is the Titan of Ties
With RSL coach Mike Petke serving a suspension Saturday, Juarez, one of his assistants, was tasked with taking the reigns. Juarez did a serviceable job, leading Real to a hard-fought, albeit disappointing tie.
If anyone is feeling some deja vu about the above two sentences, there’s a reason. It is the fourth consecutive draw RSL has mustered with Juarez as the acting head coach. He did it twice last season, and once again in 2017. And here’s the kicker: Every game Juarez has coached has been due to Petke serving a suspension.
It’s probably just a coincidence, but it is interesting that all those elements coincide with one another. There’s no telling how many games Petke will miss, but the real question is if he misses more, will Juarez produce a tie in those too?