DL_080517_RSL_matchup

Preview: Houston Dynamo at Real Salt Lake

The Basics

Houston Dynamo at Real Salt Lake
Saturday, August 5, 2017, 9:00 p.m. CT
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas

Broadcast Information

KUBE 57 – 8:30 p.m. (CHANNEL LISTINGS)
MLS LIVE – 9:00 p.m.
610 AM/Radio.com app – 8:30 p.m.
Univision Radio 1010 AM – 8:30 p.m.

Preview

The Houston Dynamo waited until the second half of July to earn their first road victory of 2017. Now, as the season enters its sixth month, they'll try to make it two in a row away from home when they visit Real Salt Lake.

Thanks to their unbeaten home form in league play -- which they barely preserved last weekend in a 2-2 draw against Portland – the Dynamo still are in good shape in the Western Conference race, riding a four-match unbeaten streak and sitting in third just three points behind leaders Sporting Kansas City.

RSL won't be an easy obstacle to overcome, though, despite the Dynamo's 5-1 home rout on May 31. After a raft of early-season struggles – injury, international absence and the firing of Jeff Cassar as head coach – Real are starting to find their groove with a fuller-strength lineup under Mike Petke, and also have gone unbeaten in their last four matches.

Real Salt Lake

While the Claret-and-Cobalt haven't lost in four straight – and have outscored opponents 13-6 over that span – they've missed some chances to pick up three-point takes at home.

They've drawn their last two matches, both at Rio Tinto Stadium, and both times – drawing 1-1 to Sporting Kansas City on July 22 and 2-2 to Columbus Crew SC last Saturday – they gave up second-half leads and wound up splitting the points.

For a team trying to get above the playoff line (RSL are currently eighth in the West, five points back of sixth-place Vancouver), a third straight failure to grab all three at home could prove costly down the stretch.

  • Suspended: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injuries: OUT: F - Chad Barrett (knee surgery, 4-6 months); M - Jordan Allen (knee surgery 6/30, 6-7 months) - READ; M - Omar Holness (knee surgery 7/18, out 8-12 months); M - Ricardo Velazco (ankle surgery 7/13, out 4 months); GK - Matt VanOekel (ankle injury) D - Demar Phillips (hamstring injury)

Projected Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1, right to left): Nick Rimando – Tony Beltran, Marcelo Silva, Justen Glad, Danilo Acosta – Sunny, Kyle Beckerman – Joao Plata, Albert Rusnak, Jefferson Savarino – Luis Silva

Notes: Real Salt Lake went unbeaten in the month of July (2W-2D) and have averaged 3.3 goals per game across those four matches. They haven’t kept a clean sheet in six matches, and have only kept one over their last nine games (3W-4L-2D). ... Since the start of the 2016 season, Real Salt Lake averages 1.4 goals and 1.4 points per game in Joao Plata’s 45 regular season starts. In the 12 games he hasn’t started, that number falls down to 0.8 goals and 0.7 points per game.

Houston Dynamo

If there were a team that could have wilted due to international absence at this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup, it was Houston. The Dynamo were without four key players – Mexico striker Cubo Torres and the Honduran trio of Boniek Garcia, Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto – but their depth turned out to be sufficient to see them through.

Andrew Wenger, Memo Rodriguez and Mauro Manotas have each scored two goals each over the past four games, with five different players scoring over that span.

That, plus being back at full strength after the Gold Cup, should give coach Wilmer Cabrera even more options going forward as the Dynamo continue their push back from last year's dismal showing.

  • Suspended: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injuries: OUT: D - George Malki (torn ACL 3/15, out for season) - READ; DOUBTFUL: M - Eric Alexander (right knee MCL sprain 5/6, out 8-12 weeks)

Projected Starting XI (4-3-3, right to left): Tyler Deric – A.J. DeLaGarza, Adolfo Machado, Leonardo, DaMarcus Beasley – Ricardo Clark, Juan David Cabezas, Alex – Alberth Elis, Erick Torres, Romell Quioto

Notes: Houston have conceded two penalties this year. Only Chicago and LA (one each) have conceded fewer in the 2017 regular season.

All-Time Series

The Dynamo have won three straight games against Real Salt Lake. Before that, RSL had won five straight against Houston.

  • Overall: Real Salt Lake 8 wins (36 goals), Houston Dynamo 12 wins (37 goals), 5 draws
  • At Real Salt Lake: Real Salt Lake 6 wins (13 goals), Houston Dynamo 2 wins (6 goals), 4 draws

Officials

  • Referee: Chris Penso
  • AR1: Cameron Blanchard
  • AR2: Corey Rockwell
  • 4TH: Sorin Stoica
  • VAR: Juan Guzman Jr.