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Strong second half pulls Houston Dynamo even with Real Salt Lake

As the cliché goes, it was a tale of two halves for the Dynamo; one very good and one not so much

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Real Salt Lake Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Dynamo FC used a strong second half push to finish 1-1 with Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. After a rough first half plagued by poor possession and RSL dominating in our half, we bounced back in the next half to create chances, increase possession, and pull level.

The home side was active early and tried to capitalize on a designed play from a corner kick. Dynamo goalkeeper Marko Marić easily made the save, but spilled the effort right in front of Albert Rusnák. Marić was quick to retrieve the ball a second time to end the danger.

The opening minutes were controlled by RSL who dominated the possession, looked dangerous going forward, and prevented Houston from advancing the ball into the attacking third. RSL capitalized on their control in just the 11th minute when they opened up the scoring. Rusnák delivered a corner kick and Justen Glad somehow got his foot around center back Tim Parker and tapped in the first goal of the game.

In the 19th minute Real Salt Lake nearly doubled their lead. A perfectly weighted through ball to Rubio Rubin put the striker 1v1 with Marić. Marić did just enough to alter the path of Rubin while getting a slight touch on it which took the ball out for a corner.

Following the RSL goal, the Dynamo were able to increase their possession, but they struggled to build up play as giveaways once again prevented them from creating meaningful opportunities on the offensive side of the ball.

While the giveaways hampered the Dynamo’s offense, Salt Lake never slowed down their engine. In the 38th minute Rubin tried to head in an effort to make it 2-0 to the home side, but Marić made a great low reaction save to keep the score where it was.

The Dynamo came out better to start the second half and quickly equalized in the 52nd minute. Following a great counter attack led by Derrick Jones, Jones passed the ball up to Maxi Urruti. Urruti put the ball into the space of Tyler Pasher who got Urruti back at the top of the 18 yard box. Urruti took a touch and fired a shot into the net to level up the score.

Salt Lake tried to respond to Urruti’s goal to retake the lead. The ball had gone wide to Maikel Chang who chipped the ball to Rubin who forced a huge save by Marić.

The Dynamo felt that they had been hard done by the referee who was allowing a lot of physical play by the Salt Lake players. First Urruti was brought down on a counter attack in what could’ve been denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity. A few minutes later Urruti was brought down again. Then Ari Lassiter. All of the fouls seemed to light a fire under Houston as they improved their play considerably when compared to their first half performance.

RSL wanted a penalty in stoppage time as it appeared that Tim Parker had held and brought down Pablo Ruíz. After a check with VAR, the center official ruled no penalty much to the chagrin of the home fans.

In the end, the whistle would blow and both sides would walk away with a goal each and a point. In the first half the Dynamo were pinned inside their own half and struggled to create offense due to turnovers. In the second, they really battled hard to increase their possession which got them chances to score along with their equalizer.

Next up for the Dynamo is FC Cincinnati next Saturday, July 3rd back at BBVA Stadium at 7:30 PM CT.

Goals:

11’ RSL: Justen Glad (assisted by Albert Rusnák)

52’ HOU: Maxi Urruti (assisted by Tyler Pasher)

Disciplinary:

42’ HOU: Matías Vera (yellow card)

66’ HOU: Maxi Urruti (yellow card)

84’ HOU: Darwin Cerén (yellow card)

Lineups:

Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Marko Marić; Adam Lundkvist, Sam Junqua, Tim Parker, Zarek Valentin; Derrick Jones, Matías Vera (59’ Darwin Cerén), Joe Corona (60’ Oscar Boniek García), Memo Rodríguez (82’ Maynor Figueroa), Maxi Urruti (81’ Darwin Quintero), Tyler Pasher (74’ Ariel Lassiter)

Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1): David Ochoa; Donny Toia, Erik Holt, Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera (83’ Andrew Brody); Pablo Ruíz, Nick Besler (83’ Justin Meram); Maikel Chang (66’ Anderson Julio), Damir Kreilach, Albert Rusnák; Rubio Rubin (66’ Bobby Wood)