The Houston Dynamo were able to steal a valuable win on the road in San Jose last week and now are looking to extend their winning streak against shorthanded Real Salt Lake. The Dynamo will be without Giles Barnes, Jermaine Taylor, Oscar Boniek Garcia, and now DaMarcus Beasley, but the Dynamo will have back Luis Garrido and will finally have Erick "Cubo" Torres available to play which should provide plenty of support in the midfield and up top.
In our preview of the match we discussed the trade that RSL recently made along with their win over the LA Galaxy in the US Open Cup, but we wanted to know the RSL perspective about this match so we spoke with Randal Serr of RSL Soapbox to find out about a team in a very similar position as our Dynamo.
Dynamo Theory: With an Open Cup match just 4 days prior and several key players like Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando out with their respect national teams, what kind of adjustments will Real Salt Lake make to ensure the highest quality performance in front of a home crowd at Rio Tinto?
RSL Soapbox: Real Salt Lake won't be able to make too many adjustments. They simply don't have the available personnel at this point in the season. I would expect a very similar lineup to what we saw against the Galaxy in Open Cup with the exception of maybe two or three changes out of necessity. Sebastian Jaime, our most consistent scorer of late, will be out serving red card suspension time. He will likely be replaced by Devon Sandoval who is a very different player but effective nonetheless. Beyond that, it's hard to know exactly where the few changes will be.
Dynamo Theory: Consistency has been an issue for RSL as they haven't been able to put together back-to-back wins since early in the season and the team struggling to find the net has become a big part of that. What's going on up top this year for RSL when the team was one of the better finishing squads last season?
RSL Soapbox: This season has been a frustrating one to be sure. There are a variety of reasons as to why the team as a whole has been inconsistent but the most important reason why they have not scored at the same rate as in years past is simple for me. Joao Plata was out for the first four months of the season. He was RSL's MVP last year leading the team in goals and ending the season with the second most assists. He is just now starting to reach full fitness and is finding his form but has not yet scored in MLS play. The offense will be potent again once Plata and Jaime are all on the field together.
Dynamo Theory: Despite struggling mightily on the road, RSL has made Rio Tinto a difficult place to play for opponents having only lost once this year at home to the Vancouver Whitecaps early this year. How can the Dynamo go into Rio Tinto and try and steal a result on the road?
RSL Soapbox: The Dynamo could take RSL's punch away if they were able to win the midfield. Most of RSL's offense runs through the quality play and vision of Javier Morales. If he is removed from the equation, the forwards have a hard time getting involved and frustration sets in. Of course this is easier said than done at Rio Tinto Stadium.
To find my answers to Randal's questions head on over to RSL Soapbox and go check them out.