Match Preview: Dynamo at Real Salt Lake

Dynamo looking for consistency in Thursday night road game

HOU_20100401_Thorne_06_Mike Chabala_Fabian Espindola

Photo Credit: 
Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

The basics

Real Salt Lake (3-3-1, 5th in the Western Conference) vs. Houston Dynamo (4-3-1, 2nd in the Western Conference)

8 p.m. CT, Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy UT
Houston leads the all-time series with a 7-2-4 record against Real Salt Lake.

Broadcast info

ESPN2
ESPN Deportes
SportsTalk 790 (7:15 p.m. pregame)
La Ranchera 850 (7:30 p.m. pregame)

What's at stake?

This is a budding rivalry — several recent matches have been hotly
contested down to the wire. The two teams will likely battle throughout
the season for positioning in the top half of the Western Conference. A
win for Real Salt Lake would pull them level on points with the Dynamo in one fewer game.

Last meeting

In April, Real Salt Lake visited Houston and took a rare lead early
on the road. All of that was erased by two penalty kicks three
minutes apart in the opening minutes of the second half, giving Houston
a 2-1 victory. Both penalties, converted by Houston midfielder Brad Davis, came off fouls committed in the box by
RSL defender Jamison Olave.

Heroes & Villains

Brian Ching vs. Jamison Olave — This
should be the premier matchup, but injuries may avert this battle. The
two have exchanged harsh words in several recent matches, and one
altercation ultimately led to Olave's ejection in 2009. Ching injured
his hamstring in the last match between these two teams and is just
returning to form. Olave has had a chronic knee injury that coach Jason
Kreis hinted could keep him out of this one.

Javier Morales vs. Richard Mulrooney
This could be an intriguing battle for supremacy in the middle of the
field. If Houston comes out in the 4-3-3 like a week ago, it could open
up space for Morales, who was not at his very best last week after an
illness the week prior. If Real Salt Lake are able to control the ball
in the middle of the park, it could limit what Houston wants to do out
on the wings.

Stat that makes you go “Hmm …”

Houston has a +16 foul differential (100 suffered, 84 committed),
and its savvy in this regard could play to its advantage against an
RSL team that has given up four penalty kick goals this season.

He said it

“It’s a special game for us.” — Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales on the chance at avenge a 2-1 loss against Houston earlier in the season.