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Defense shines in Houston Dynamo draw with Real Salt Lake

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It was another solid defensive showing by the Dynamo who weren’t able to produce on the other side of the ball. 

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Dynamo FC hoped to get their first win since May 22nd with Real Salt Lake coming to BBVA Stadium and while the defense did well to keep the visitors off the score sheet, the offense struggled to find the back of the net in the 0-0 draw.

The Dynamo escaped a chance for the visitors to go up around the 10th minute with RSL having extended possession inside the Dynamo 18 yard box. Salt Lake was able to win a ball back quickly inside the 18, take a touch, and they tried to curl one from the far end of the box. Luckily Houston’s goalkeeper, Marko Marić, was able to get his fingertips to it as the effort ended up ricocheting off the post. The Dynamo were able to collect the ball after it bounced around which kept the score locked at 0-0 early into the game.

Houston tried to do some damage of their own in the 22nd minute with Zarek Valentin finding some space on the wing. Valentin whipped in a ball into the run of Mateo Bajamich who was in on goal, but his first touch was too heavy and went directly to Salt Lake goalkeeper Zac MacMath.

The Dynamo had a few good opportunities from distance and their fair share of corners, but struggled to get on the end of their set pieces and keep the ball down on their shots from range. This summed up a lot of the first half with RSL sitting deeper, the Dynamo did well to win the ball in Salt Lake’s half and quickly getting into a good position, but failed to find the back of the net.

Memo Rodríguez nearly got himself a goal after the 30th minute. Bajamich was free on the wing on a counter attack and as he was closed down he sent the ball into space – somehow he knew Memo was there – and Memo took a touch and fired one off deep inside the 18 yard box, but it struck the crossbar and was cleared from danger.

RSL would get a few close chances including Ablert Rusnák forcing a difficult save by Marić following a short corner kick and Maikel Chang who got free in the box thanks to Bobby Wood pulling defenders off him, but Chang’s one touch went well over the crossbar.

At halftime the two sides would head to their locker rooms even. Defensively, the Dynamo have done very well this half and this season with Marić helping out with his heroics when able to. It’s been the offense that’s struggled and has looked predictable.

RSL came out well early into the second half and nearly got a goal in the 50th minute. Justin Meram floated a ball over the top to Rusnák who tried his luck close and struck the top corner of the post.

In the 67th minute substitutes Corey Baird and Tyler Pasher nearly combined for a goal on the other end of the field. Valentin put a well weighted pass to Baird, who was making his Dynamo debut. Baird got free on the wing and lightly squared a ball into the run of Pasher, but MacMath was quick to get ahead of the winger. The two did well a few minutes later with Pasher crossing in a perfect ball to Baird, but his one touch shot went over the crossbar.

RSL almost opened up the scoring before the 80th minute. Aaron Herrera whipped in a ball which Marko Marić misjudged and was caught out of position. The substitute Anderson Julio had a few defenders in front of him and tried his luck on goal with Marić out of goal, but his shot went over the top.

In the 87th minute RSL would go down to 10 men. The Dynamo were on the break and Justen Glad, already on a yellow, pulled Baird down to prevent him from getting behind the back line earning himself a second yellow and being sent off.

The Dynamo came close to a game winner in stoppage time following the corner. Tyler Pasher sent in a ball that went over everyone and fell to Baird. Baird volleyed an effort towards the upper corner forcing a difficult save by MacMath.

The game would end 0-0 after 90 minutes and stoppage time. It was another well defended game and while it was disappointing Houston was unable to score – or get three points – it was promising to see Tyler Pasher back on the field and Corey Baird had some excellent moments in his debut.

The Dynamo will be back on the road in their next game, but it won’t be too far out of town as they head to Q2 Stadium to face Austin FC Wednesday, August, 4th at 8:00 PM CT.

Goals:

None

Disciplinary:

40’ RSL: Justen Glad (yellow card)

87’ RSL: Justen Glad (second yellow, red card)

90’ + 3’ RSL: Erik Holt (yellow card)

Lineups:

Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Marko Marić; Sam Junqua, Teenage Hadebe, Tim Parker, Zarek Valentin; Joe Corona (62’ Corey Baird), Matías Vera, Darwin Cerén; Memo Rodríguez, Mateo Bajamich (62’ Tyler Pasher), Griffin Dorsey (84’ Derrick Jones)

Real Salt Lake (4-4-1-1): Zac MacMath; Ashtone Morgan, Marcelo Silva, Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera; Justin Meram (75’ Anderson Julio), Damir Kreilach (90’+2’ Erik Holt), Nick Besler, Maikel Chang (64’ Jonathan Menéndez); Ablert Rusnák (90’+2’ Everton Luiz); Bobby Wood (74’ Rubio Rubin)