Real Salt Lake continue their lengthy stretch of home games when they play host to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real returned to their winning ways last weekend, in an emotional 1-0 win against a 9-man Chivas USA in Sandy. The Dynamo have lost two games in a row, falling 2-1 at Toronto FC last weekend.
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REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Mark Declouet MLS Career: 128 games; FC/gm: 26.9; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 39; pens: 49
REAL SALT LAKE – OUT: MF Javier Morales (L ankle fracture dislocation); QUESTIONABLE: FW Paulo Jr. (L hamstring strain)
HOUSTON DYNAMO – OUT: FW Calen Carr (concussion); MF Danny Cruz (R knee hyperextension); FW Brian Ching (L plantar fascitis)
RSL: Luis Gil, Donny Toia (U.S. U-20 national team)
ALL-TIME (14 meetings): Real 3 wins, 20 goals … Dynamo 7 wins, 22 goals … Ties 4
AT REAL SALT LAKE (7 meetings): Real 3 wins, 8 goals … Dynamo 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 3
RETURN MATCH: 8/20: Houston Dynamo vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m. CT
LAST YEAR (MLS): 4/1: HOU 2, RSL 1 (Davis 53, 56 – Morales 17) 5/13: RSL 3, HOU 1 (Findley 3; Saborio 24, 60 – Mullan 72)
- The Dynamo have never lost to RSL at home. They’ve won six of seven meetings there, with one draw – that lone result for RSL coming June 20, 2009.
- While Real have yet to ever win at Robertson Stadium, the Dynamo have left Utah with the full three points just once – a 1-0 win in 2007 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
- Coaches record: Jason Kreis v HOU: P10 W2 L5 D3 … Dominic Kinnear vs. RSL: P18 W9 L3 D6
The Houston Dynamo lost for a second consecutive match, falling 2-1 to Toronto FC at BMO Field. The Dynamo have 12 points from 9 games on the season, sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
- Toronto FC took the lead early in the second half. After scooping up an errant clearance, Nick Soolsma cut into the box before being pulled down by Houston's Andre Hainault. Joao Plata put the resulting penalty straight and high, tucking it just below the crossbar to score his first MLS goal.
- Plata appeared to have won a second penalty in the 60th minute when he went down under a challenge from Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall. Though referee Jorge Gonzalez pointed to the spot, assistant referee Adam Wienckowski had raised the flag for offside.
- TFC still doubled the lead in the 81st minute. Plata this time played provider, laying the ball behind the Houston back line for Maicon Santos to run onto, and he ripped a low, hard shot past Hall.
- The Dynamo cut the lead in the 87th minute when Je-Vaughn Watson corraled a loose cross and laid it back for Lovel Palmer, who hammered a low drive past Stefan Frei from the top of the box.
- Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made three changes to the team that fell 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids at Robertson Stadium. Eddie Robinson came into the back four for Corey Ashe, Colin Clark into the midfield for Geoff Cameron, and Koke started up top for Will Bruin.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Hunter Freeman (Corey Ashe 75), Eddie Robinson, Bobby Boswell (Colin Clark 75), Andre Hainault - Je-Vaughn Watson, Lovel Palmer, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis - Cam Weaver (Will Bruin 62). Koke.
- The Dynamo have followed a six-game unbeaten run with back-to-back losses, their first losses since opening the season with a home defeat by Philadelphia.
- “I’m disappointed,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said after the TFC match. “I think it’s a team that if we showed the same urgency for the whole game that we showed in the last 20 minutes, I think it’s a team we could’ve beat.”
- After conceding six goals in the opening seven games of the season, the Dynamo have now allowed four in their last two.
- “Some of these goals we’re giving up are very soft, and it’s something we need to identify,” said Kinnear. “If a team scores good goals against us, you can accept that, but the way we gave up the first goal (in Toronto) is definitely our mistake.”
- Je-Vaughn Watson has made back-to-back starts in the midfield and come away with an assist in each one. Spanish import Koke made his first MLS start in the loss at Toronto FC, starting up top in place of rookie Will Bruin.
- “We had a lot of chances but couldn’t find a way to score,” midfielder Brad Davis said. “Every chance right now teams are getting, they’re scoring — and we go down and can’t score at all. I don’t know how many balls we sent into the box, but we can’t finish.”
- Geoff Cameron was also able to return to the lineup after missing the midweek game against Wednesday, returning to the center of midfield with Watson moving wide on the right.
- “We fought back and got that goal back and we pushed for the equalizer, which is a positive to take from the game,” said fullback Andre Hainault. “But we’ve got to get better overall.
- The Dynamo will again be without striker Brian Ching as he is suffering from plantar fasciitis in his foot. After starting the season with a hamstring ailment, Ching made his only 2011 start against New York on April 2, but suffered a rib injury that then sidelined him for another three weeks.
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake kicked off a long stretch of home games, defeating Chivas USA 1-0 on Saturday afternoon at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL start the week in second place in the Western Conference with 15 points from 6 matches.
- Chivas USA were two men short before the first half was over. Andrew Boyens was booked first in the 15th minute -- a play RSL claimed should have been a red card -- then again in the 28th minute, to earn his marching orders.
- Then disaster struck in the 38th minute, when RSL playmaker Javier Morales was taken down from behind by Chivas striker Marcos Mondaini. Morales suffered a fracture of the left ankle on the play, and referee Paul Ward showed the Chivas man a straight red card.
- RSL was not able to take advantage until the 87th minute. Collen Warner sent in a bouncing cross from the left and it was flicked on in the goalmouth by Nat Borchers, finding Will Johnson at the back post, who bundled it home from close range.
- RSL coach Jason Kreis made five changes to the side that fell 1-0 to the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field. Robbie Russell and Jamison Olave came into the back four for Tony Beltran and Chris Schuler, Ned Grabavoy and Will Johnson came into the midfield for Collen Warner and Jean Alexandre, and Fabian Espindola replaced Arturo Alvarez up top.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando – Robbie Russell (Arturo Alvarez 54), Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson - Javier Morales (Andy Williams 45) - Fabian Espindola (Collen Warner 65), Alvaro Saborio.
- Despite seeing a number of streaks come to an end in recent weeks, Real Salt Lake did extend their all-time MLS record home unbeaten streak in league games to 28 in the win against Chivas USA.
- "I thought the three points were big ‘cause it puts us back in the right direction. We know it wasn't good enough, nowhere near good enough with the quality we have on this team," said Will Johnson. "Sometimes you don't play well and you've got to find ways to win games and that's the reality of playing in this league. We'd love to play perfectly every game and never miss a pass and win 5-0, but it doesn't happen like that."
- For the second time in the last three league games, Real scored the game’s lone goal after the 85th minute.
- “To get the goal in the end, we’re very, very thankful for that,” Kreis said. “But we’ve got a lot of talking to do right now with our players because we need to come out of this funk, and I don’t think that performance showed that we were out of this funk.”
- Morales underwent what the team termed as successful surgery, but doctors said he would not be ready to return until October at the earliest. He will not be able to return to any soccer-specific activities for at least four months.
- "To be honest from what I saw I didn't think it was the most flagrant fouls. It was from behind, which we're trying to stamp that out of our game. It's in the attacking third, and Javy is clearly getting ready to shoot, so I understand the urgency of the situation from a defender trying to make a play but I really don't think it was that egregious," said Kreis.
- Said RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey to the Deseret News: "We should emerge from this injury as a better team. We played without Kyle Beckerman last year for two months and I think it made us a better team; it forced guys to step up and play those positions."
- RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando took over sole possession of second place on the MLS all-time shutout list with the 77th of his career, moving past Chivas USA’s Zach Thornton, behind just FC Dallas’ Kevin Hartman. RSL has allowed a league-low two goals all season.
- "We pride ourselves on defense," Rimando said. "Even if Javi is in there, we have to play defense. Now we're going to have to do better possessing the ball."
- The visit by Houston is the second in a stretch of four out of five games at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- “It’s tough to lose a guy like [Morales],” defender Nat Borchers said. “The team is the star, but he’s one of our most talented players. Creates a lot for us, gives us a lot of chances. So we’re going to have to have guys step up. … We’ve got guys in there that can do it, but it’s going to be a process, I think.”