Playoff dreams are slipping away in the Bayou City.
Any chance of the Dynamo making it above the red line depended on looking forward, and finding a way to overtake the Earthquakes. Instead, they now find themselves looking backwards, at a Real Salt Lake team now tied with Houston on points. The Quakes loss last week presented a great opportunity for a leap forward, but it was not to be.
The first 45 was a largely uneventful affair. Aside from a number of free kicks, neither side was able to generate many quality chances, despite RSL dominating possession.
Two minutes into extra time in the first half, Tyler Deric deflected a far post shot, which landed in front of goal, and Houston's defense elected to stand still and stare at the ball rather than clear it, giving Javier Morales a good couple chances to tap it in from close range.
Just 5 minutes into the second half, Tyler Deric deflected a blast from Juan Manuel Martinez, but the lion-haired Devon Sandoval's right foot found the ball in mid-air, and he slammed it into the net to put RSL up 2-0.
In the 65th, there was a glimmer of hope for the boys in orange when John Stertzer was whistled for a handball. Replay appeared to show the ball had hit Stertzer in the groin, but the Dynamo were awarded a penalty. The penalty kick rocketed off Brad Davis' left foot into the top left corner to pull Houston within one.
But the dream didn't even last three minutes. Juan Manuel Martinez, off of a pass from Morales, delivered a strike across his body past keeper Tyler Deric to effectively ice the game, 3-1.
It's going to take a hell of a performance by this team to sneak into the playoffs. The 2015 Houston Dynamo have been extremely frustrating to watch as a fan, and at a certain point, you have to wonder if a team who can't even control their own sprinklers even deserves to be in the playoffs.
They'll give it a shot against the Philadelphia Union, on the road, on September 20th.
Houston: Brad Davis (PK) 65'
Salt Lake: Javier Morales 45+2', Devon Sandoval 51', Juan Manuel Martinez 68'
Yellow: Sheanon Williams 44', Jordan Allen 53', Aaron Maund 77', Nathan Sturgis 89'
Houston(4-4-2): Tyler Deric, David Horst, Raul Rodriguez, Sheanon Williams, A.J. Cochran (Mauro Manotas 80'), Brad Davis, Ricardo Clark, Nathan Sturgis, Giles Barnes, Will Bruin, Erick Torres (Oscar Garcia HT)
Salt Lake(4-5-1): Nick Rimando, Jordan Allen, Jamison Olave, Aaron Maund, Demar Phillips, Luis Silva (John Stertzer 28'), Kyle Beckerman, Juan Manuel Martinez, Javier Morales, Joao Plata (Olmes Garcia 87'), Devon Sandoval