Real Salt Lake’s undefeated start rolled on Sunday as the Claret-and-Cobalt dispatched a disadvantaged Houston Dynamo 5-2 to run their streak to 10 without a loss.
RSL did their damage in the first half with Javier Morales scoring twice in the first 17 minutes and Alvaro Saborio scoring before the break to take a commanding lead over the Dynamo. Despite a brace from Mark Sherrod in his first MLS start, the visitors added another late goal for their first win in Houston.
With the win, RSL (5-0-5) continues their undefeated run to start the season. Houston (4-5-2) suffers their first loss in four games.
Morales got the first half fireworks started scoring the fastest goal in RSL history in spectacular fashion off the first kick. He ran off Alvaro Saborio after the club took the kick off and found space in front of Servando Carrasco. With time and space, he hit a deft chip to the back post that Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall could only watch for a 15th second 1-0 lead. The goal is the fastest in club history, besting Matias Mantilla’s 27 second effort in 2008.
The Argentine struck again in the 17th minute helping a Ned Grabavoy header along. Grabavoy hit a hopeful header off a corner from the top of the box. Morales cut across goal and redirected his effort in for an early brace and a 2-0 lead.
Waking up from a slow start, Houston climbed to within one goal Sherrod opened his MLS account in grand fashion. In the lineup for an injured Will Bruin, the former Memphis Tiger beat Nat Borchers on a Brad Davis corner kick and finished left to right to beat Nick Rimando for his first of the game making it 2-1 in the 22nd minute.
Five minutes later everything changed as Houston went down a man when Carrasco, making his third start in a row, was shown the door for a harsh tackle on Morales.
RSL pounced in the 32nd minute when Saborio parked a glancing header in the net off a Luke Mulholland cross to make it 3-1.
The fireworks continued in the 36th minute when referee Allen Chapman pointed to the spot after David Horst was shoved down on a set piece. Giles Barnes stepped to the spot with a chance to once again pull Houston to within a goal, but Rimando continued his PK heroics diving to his right to stop the Brit’s attempt and keep the 3-1 score. With the save, Rimando has now saved 21 of 62 career attempts against.
While Houston were down after the first half they were not out. Within the first 10 minutes Houston had earned a three set pieces and a Kofi Sarkodie miss despite being down a man. Sherrod rewarded them for their efforts scoring the second half of his brace in the 56th minute.
On his first career start, Sherrod used his work ethic and endless energy to be a nuisance. After Barnes picked off a lazy Saborio pass, the rookie composed himself and finished under a lunging Rimando to bring the 10 man Dynamo to within one at 3-2.
However, being a man down took its toll and a 78th minute goal from Mulholland and an 88th minute penalty kick from Morales iced the game and keep RSL’s undefeated start going.
Houston Dynamo (4-5-2; 14 points) vs. Real Salt Lake (5-0-5; 20 points)
MLS regular season
May 11, 2014 – BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
Real Salt Lake: Javier Morales 1 (Álvaro Saborío 2) 1’
Real Salt Lake: Javier Morales 2 (Ned Grabavoy 2, Joao Plata 3) 17’
Houston: Mark Sherrod 1 (Brad Davis 5) 22’
Real Salt Lake: Álvaro Saborío 6 (Luke Mulholland 2) 32’
Houston: Mark Sherrod 2 (Giles Barnes 2) 56’
Real Salt Lake: Luke Mulholland 3 (Javier Morales 4) 78’
Real Salt Lake: Javier Morales 3 (penalty) 89’
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst, A.J. Cochran (Omar Cummings 71), Corey Ashe, Servando Carrasco (ejected 27); Brad Davis (Brian Ownby 84); Giles Barnes, Boniek García, Mark Sherrod, Andrew Driver (Warren Creavalle 35)
Unused substitutes: Tyler Deric, Anthony Arena, Alexander López
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert (Kenny Mansally 46); Tony Beltran, Aaron Maund, Nat Borchers, Javier Morales, Luke Mulholland, Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy, Álvaro Saborío (Devon Sandoval 60); Joao Plata; (Cole Grossman 74)
Unused Substitutes: Carlos Salcedo, Olmes García, Luis Gil, Jeff Attinella
RSL: Álvaro Saborío (caution) 25’
HOU: Servando Carrasco (ejection) 27’
HOU: Boniek García (caution) 45’+4
HOU: Mark Sherrod (caution) 90’
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Adam Garner, Claudio Badea
Fourth Official: Ismail Elfath