The Houston Dynamo fell 3-1 to defending MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake Thursday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, finishing a stretch of four games in 13 days with a 2-2 mark. The teams are now tied for second place in the Western Conference with 13 points each.
The Dynamo get a nine-day break before returning to action on Saturday, May 22, hosting D.C. United at Robertson Stadium at 7 p.m. Houston will also be at home on Saturday, May 29, against the Philadelphia Union, before playing two road games and then breaking for the group stage of the World Cup.
On Thursday night, Real Salt Lake struck twice in the first half, scoring on a Robbie Findley header in the third minute and a shot from the top of the penalty area by Alvaro Saborío in the 24th minute. RSL all but put the game away in the 60th minute, when Javier Morales bent in a free kick and Saborío headed it in for his second goal of the game.
Houston pulled one goal back in the 72nd minute, when Brad Davis cut across the top of the box and set up Brian Mullan on the left, where Mullan cut the ball back to his right foot and fired in a shot at the far post. It was Mullan’s second goal of the year and Davis’s team-best fourth assist.
It was Real Salt Lake’s first win against the Dynamo since August 4, 2007 and broke an eight-game Houston unbeaten streak against RSL.
Houston has now played nine games without recording the same result in any consecutive games; they have followed each of their four losses with a win.
The Dynamo got a boost in the second half, as forward Brian Ching came on in the 62nd minute to make his first appearance since suffering a hamstring injury April 1. Ching, who will join the U.S. national team’s pre-World Cup camp over the weekend, played a part in the buildup to the Dynamo’s goal.
The three goals were the most allowed by Houston since a 3-2 loss to Isidro Metapan in Champions League play on October 21, 2009. They were the most allowed in a regular season game since a 4-3 win over D.C. United on August 1, 2009.
Defender Bobby Boswell made his 145th career MLS regular season start for the Dynamo, and midfielder Brian Mullan scored the 10th goal of his regular season career.
The Dynamo played without forwards Luis Ángel Landín (concussion), Joseph Ngwenya (ITC paperwork), and Cam Weaver (knee); midfielder Geoff Cameron (PCL surgery); and defender Eddie Robinson (knee).
HOUSTON DYNAMO HEAD COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR
On his lineup for the match and getting consistency:
“Every team goes through it. You make changes for one reason or another, whether it’s injuries or suspensions or call-ups or because we lack form. We have a locker room full of guys that have been around for a long time, so you can’t say that it’s inconsistency because of this or because of that. It helps to have your full squad available, which is the tough part, and that’s the thing you have to have. But I don’t think you can say we have inconsistency because we have not had a full lineup.”
On importance of getting Brian Ching in the game to get
him ready for USMNT camp:
“The U.S. team isn’t involved in this locker room. We put him in to try and help us win the game, and I think he had a good impact for us. I know it’s a big story, but it’s not my team. Brian’s involvement tonight had nothing to do with the U.S. team; it had to do with the fact that we couldn’t play him 90 minutes. He said he felt good, and we felt that at that time in the game he could do well for us, and he did.”
On whether it was difficult to get a rhythm going:
“No, I just think it happens. It’s soccer around the world, I think. Sometimes the visiting team can be on top and they can bring men back. And I think them getting off to the really early lead … sometimes teams try to protect the lead and they are able to have players behind the ball. When they have men behind the ball, sometimes you have to move the ball and move the ball quicker. But, they’re a good team. They have strengths in all lines, strong up front and in the back. I felt that the first goal was going to tell a lot of the story tonight. I don’t think it was the end of it, because even at 3-1 we still created some chances and you never know.”
On bouncing back from the loss:
“We need to put it behind us. We can always go back and poke at things at what we are doing wrong. The weeks travel fast. Let’s get home, let’s get rested. It’s been a tough 14 days, and we will watch D.C. play and then get ready for them the following Saturday.”
HOUSTON DYNAMO FORWARD BRIAN CHING
On his return to the pitch:
“I felt good. Not good considering the circumstances, but I felt great. We had a couple of good runs, and I didn’t feel anything physically wrong. My lungs were actually better than I thought they would be, and I felt ready.”
On importance of getting back on the field before training
with USMNT begins:
“Nothing can prepare you for playing in games. Would I have liked to play in a couple of more games before I go into camp? Yes. But I felt good out there. I am probably going to have to work on my fitness over the next couple of weeks to get where I want to be and hopefully get a little bit more sharp.”
On whether or not he was concerned he would reinjure his
hamstring due to cold weather:
“No. I just warmed up for a little while, and I was ready to go in.”
HOUSTON DYNAMO MIDFIELDER BRIAN MULLAN
On his goal:
“I don’t remember much about it. It was a good buildup play. Brad [Davis] played a great ball in, and I got it back to my right foot. Robbie [Russell] fell down, and it was a pretty easy goal.”
On being down 3-0 and creating chances in second half:
“That’s what happens when you’re down three goals. The other team sits in a defensive shell. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t capitalize on more of our chances, but they were all in the second half.”
On the Western Conference standings and things tightening up and
whether they feel pressure:
“Well, we have been a bit injury-plagued, and hopefully when we get all our guys back, we will start things going again. We normally never start well; it’s still early in the season, and we just need to get a different mindset.”
On the return of Brian Ching and his impact:
“It’s definitely different. Brian does a great job of holding the ball up for us. It makes it easier for us to relieve the pressure, and we feed off of it. It’s a whole different game when he’s in there. We don’t have another big guy healthy right now, and [Brian] is a big part of our game.”