Almost two years ago today (April 27, 2011), Real Salt Lake’s historic 34-game home unbeaten streak (in all competitions) came to an end with a 1-0 home loss to C.F. Monterrey in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final. The run at home set a benchmark for home dominance that seemed untouchable to many. After all, only three teams in MLS history had regular season home unbeaten streaks of 18 games or more: Columbus Crew (22 games, 2008-09); LA Galaxy (18 games, 2010-11) and the San Jose Earthquakes (18 games, 2004-05).
But within two years, the Dynamo would challenge the home unbeaten streak, and with a 2-1 victory over Chicago on April 14, set a new standard at 35 games in all competitions while equaling Real Salt Lake’s regular season record of 29 games. With a win or a tie against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday, the Dynamo can set a new regular season record.
When comparing the streaks, they are amazingly similar in results and share several related themes. First, both clubs boasted fantastic defensive records at home, with Real Salt Lake conceding only 18 goals during their 34-game home streak and the Dynamo allowing just 24 goals during their current 35-game home run.
Second, both clubs enjoyed success in the regular season, MLS Cup playoffs and CONCACAF Champions League during the home streaks. RSL’s run from 2009-11 included an MLS Cup championship in 2009 and a trip to the 2011 Champions League final. Houston’s current streak coincides with consecutive trips to the MLS Cup final (2011 and 2012) and the advancement to the quarterfinals of the 2012-13 Champions League, including a 1-0 home win over current finalist Santos Laguna.
Third, both clubs have taken advantage of geographical advantages at home, including the altitude in Sandy, UT (4,450 feet) and the heat and humidity of Houston.
Finally, both clubs accomplished a large portion of their streak in the friendly confines of a new stadium after previously playing in a college football stadium. Real Salt Lake moved from Rice-Eccles Stadium, the home of University of Utah Football, to soccer-specific Rio Tinto Stadium in October 2008 and began their home streak the following June. The Dynamo began their current streak at Robertson Stadium, the former home of University of Houston football, where they were undefeated in their final nine games before opening BBVA Compass Stadium last May and remain unbeaten after 26 overall games in their new home.
Now, a look at home the home unbeaten streaks compare, beginning with the respective streaks in all competitions (includes regular season, playoffs and CONCACAF Champions League).
Houston Dynamo (2011-current) – 35 games - 26 wins-0 losses-9 draws – 69 Goals For, 24 Goals Against
Real Salt Lake (2009-11) – 34 games – 25 wins-0 losses-9 draws – 73 Goals For, 18 Goals Against
How the streak was built:
Dynamo - 35 games: 29 regular season, 3 playoffs, 3 Champions League
Real Salt Lake – 34 games: 27 regular season, 2 playoffs, 5 Champions League
Opponents defeated during streak:
Dynamo – 19 clubs – 16 MLS opponents* and three more in the Champions League: C.D. FAS (El Salvador), C.D. Olimpia (Honduras), and Club Santos Laguna (Mexico)
Real Salt Lake – 18 clubs – 15 MLS opponents** and three more in the Champions League: Arabe Unido (Panama), Cruz Azul (Mexico) and Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica)
*The Dynamo have defeated every team in MLS during the streak except for Colorado, which visits Houston on Sunday, and Chivas USA (September 21).
** Real Salt Lake defeated every other MLS team during its streak, except Portland, Vancouver and Montreal. Portland and Vancouver entered MLS in 2011 and didn’t play at Salt Lake before the streak ended. Montreal joined MLS in 2012.
Most common victim:
Dynamo: D.C. United – The Dynamo have hosted D.C. United four times during the streak (three times in regular season and once in the playoffs) and won all four games.
Real Salt Lake: Colorado Rapids – Real Salt Lake faced its Rocky Mountain rivals four times at home during its streak and avoided a defeat to its rivals with a 2-0-2 mark.
Now, a look at the regular season streak for each club:
Dynamo – 29 games: 21 wins-0 losses-8 draws – 56 Goals For, 22 Goals Against
Real Salt Lake – 29 games: 20 wins-0 losses-9 draws – 57 Goals For, 13 Goals Against
*Note: When comparing Real Salt Lake’s regular season streak to its all-competitions streak, note that the regular season streak carried on for two games after the all-competitions streak ended with the loss to Monterrey. Thus, the all-competitions streak included only 27 regular season games while the regular season streak included 29 games.