Jair Benitez and Jackson Goncalves scored to give FC Dallas a 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake in the quarterfinal round of the U.S. Open Cup tournament on Tuesday night.
Dallas, which won the tournament in 1997 and reached the final in 2005 and 2007, exacted a bit of revenge after losing 2-0 to Salt Lake in an MLS game Saturday in Utah.
"A disappointing result losing in Salt Lake the other day, and coming back here, many times you want to play the next game right away to get that one behind you," Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said. "I thought our guys stepped up. I thought our players came out with a lot of character and I thought we did things to Salt Lake that they didn't like for us to do."
FC Dallas will face the winner of Wednesday night's game between Los Angeles and Seattle in a semifinal match on Aug. 30. The Cup champion earns an automatic entry into the 2012 CONCACAF Champions League competition.
"Soccer gives you a chance to get revenge and this was one of those ones," Benitez said through an interpreter. "Luckily, it came fast so we could just get it out of the way and take care of business."
Both teams used their usual starters, and Dallas continued its mastery over Salt Lake on its home field. Dallas is 10-0-1 against Salt Lake at home with a 22-6 edge in goals.
"We've seen it lots and lots of times here in Dallas where we just can't seem to get the energy level right," said Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis, who played in Dallas from 1996-2004. "I think it presents its difficulties with the weather and it certainly did tonight. If we don't have the right energy and the right mentality for games, we oftentimes don't get results."
Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who leads the MLS with nine shutouts this season, blanked Salt Lake without making a save.
Goncalves, who entered the match at the start of the second half, made it 2-0 in the 54th minute. Just moments after Salt Lake's Fabian Espindola blasted a left-footed shot from 15 yards that rolled just wide of the far post, Goncalves chased down a lead ball from Eric Alexander. He outraced defender Jamison Olave to it and chipped it over backup goalkeeper Kyle Reynish.
Jackson had several other outstanding scoring chances, with his sharp-angle shot from the right side in the 62nd minute rolling across the goalmouth, along the goal line, and out the other side.
Salt Lake's best opportunity came in the 74th minute when Collen Warner, who entered the match 15 minutes earlier, drilled a 20-yarder that sailed over a leaping Hartman and bounced off the crossbar.
Benitez scored on a perfectly executed free kick from 25 yards out to give FC Dallas a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.
After Olave was called for fouling Eric Avila, Dallas lined up for the free kick in the middle of the field, and Ricardo Villar stepped up to take it. But Villar moved aside and Benitez boomed a left-footed shot over the wall of defenders in front, sailing it past Reynish and into the upper right corner of the net.
"I practiced it last Friday," Benitez said. "I was taking free kicks, and I made two in a row. I felt really good and confident about taking them. I got the opportunity to take it and I stepped up. It was a nice goal and I'm happy about it."
It was Benitez's first career goal for FC Dallas, after over 50 games played in all types of competitions since joining the team in July 2009.
Dallas had a golden opportunity to go up by two in the 44th minute but was denied by a controversial stop on the goal line by Salt Lake midfielder Ned Grabavoy. George John's header from 5 yards out bounced down and appeared to be stopped by Grabavoy's hand, which should have meant a Dallas penalty kick. No call was made and play continued.