FRISCO, Texas -- In a game expected to feature goals from two of the more potent attacks in the league, the New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas instead played to a 0-0 draw in a match full of defensive intensity on Friday night at Toyota Stadium.
The Red Bulls entered the contest tied for the second-best defense in MLS and stood up to the challenge of facing the most high-powered offense, allowing just three shots on goal throughout the match. They bottled up star winger Fabian Castillo for much of the night as well and were consistently able to get bodies between him and New York goalkeeper Luis Robles.
Boxscore: Red Bulls 0, Dallas 0
In the 16th minute, Dallas was able to generate a one-on-one opportunity in the box for Castillo after a series of precision passes and dribbling by fellow midfielder Mauro Diaz. But defender Kemar Lawrence rushed into the picture and got between Castillo and Robles, deflecting the ball behind the net and forcing an unsuccessful corner kick.
The combination of Castillo and Diaz nearly netted Dallas a goal in the 21st minute as well. Castillo took a clear pass from Matt Hedges and zipped down the left flank. Upon saving the ball from going out of bounds, he found Diaz in the box, but the Argentine sent the ball flying into the stands.
Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, who had a relatively quiet first half, nearly had a clean shot in the 40th minute after Hedges misplayed a ball near the Dallas box. But Hedges atoned for his mistake by blocking Wright-Phillips’ attempt out of play.
Dallas were the aggressors coming out of the gate following the break, with Moises Hernandez firing a shot from right outside the box into the chest of Robles. Just a minute later, Dallas had numbers on the attack, but Tesho Akindele was called offside before firing his shot wide right of the net.
The game featured moments of real physicality between the teams, perhaps typified by the play in the 55th minute when Dallas' Victor Ulloa was taken down by a high boot from Red Bulls counterpart Sacha Kljestan and injured on the fall, drawing a yellow card on Kljestan and forcing Ulloa to the sideline for the following free kick.
Castillo's threat of drawing first fire picked up in the second half, including the best opportunity of the night for both sides. After he placed a lob pass from the left flank into the middle of the box, fellow Colombian winger Michael Barrios, who subbed in for Akindele in the 59th minute, fired a shot that beat Robles, but Felipe was alertly positioned on the line and kicked the ball back out.
Dallas embarks on a five game road trip starting next Saturday against Montreal, while the Red Bulls host Philadelphia next Sunday.