Houston started this one out on the front foot, with both Davis and Rico sending early chances off target. RSL seemed content to attack on the break, and did just that. After a failed Dynamo corner, Olmes Garcia forced Rico into a tactical yellow. Grabavoy, apparently jealous of Rico's yellow card, earned one for himself with a dangerous tackle on Barnes in the 16th minute. That was about as heated as this one would get, however.
Salt Lake's 4-2-1-3 was an interesting one for the Dynamo to defend. While on the surface it threatens attacks down the middle of the field, the formation readily opened up to allow either Garcia or Beltran some space down the right flank. However, being... tall... the Dynamo defense were glad to see off these initial attacks.
Aside from those first 5 minutes of offensive pressure, the Dynamo could offer little going forward. A combination of harrying pressure from RSL and wayward passing from Houston made sure any possession in the midfield was squandered before it reached our forwards.
RSL's first real threat came from Joao Plata, who pinged the crossbar with a great shot that had Hall all but beat. Minutes later, Garcia seemed to break into song with a rendition of "anything you can do, I can do better", and set up RSL's first goal.
A high ball into the box forced Moffat to akwardly undercut Garcia, earning Saborio his second opportunity from the spot in two weeks. With only one miss in his MLS career, Saborio easily sent Tally the wrong way. It was a harsh one for the Dynamo, who... while out-played... were looking as if they could absorb any RSL pressure.
The first half ended as it began, slow and apprehensive, with both teams happy to wait for the whistle.
I don't know why, but the second half started with plenty of excitement. Maybe it was some good halftime notes from Kinnear, or maybe the cover band in my pub was just playing some good tunes.
"I'm sorry Ms. Jackson - Ooooooh - I am for reeeeaaaaal".
Bruin was amped up from the get-go, putting some early pressure on the RSL defense. Despite his best efforts though, a combination of off touches and Nick Rimando prevented any equalizer from materializing.
On the other side of the field, RSL got their second yellow when Garcia was questionably carded for stepping on Ashe as he ran for through ball. The Dynamo announcers seemed to agree, while Garcia voiced his displeasure. Go figure. I'll just stick with "questionable".
As the Dynamo pressure mounted, the newly-introduced JJ forced a second save from Rimando after a delicious 40-yard free kick from Davis. Right after, Houston used their last subs to bring on Weaver and OBG, hoping for some late magic.
Instead, it was RSL that put more pressure on the Dynamo. Again battering Houston from out wide, Salt Lake forced an absolutely Wall-like double save from Tally. First Sandoval then Saborio were denied. This heroism wasn't rewarded with any equalizer, however, as RSL attack burned away the last few minutes of stoppage time.
While this has always been a difficult fixture for the Orange, it looked at times as though we might manage to turn some opportunities into goals. With only 3 half chances on target, though, that may have been a bit too optimistic.
The Dynamo return home next week to meet Clint Dempsey and the suddenly streaking Seattle Sounders. See y'all at the game.