Houston Dynamo FC looked to finally get back on their feet with points on the road at Rio Tinto Stadium against Real Salt Lake. The Dynamo were for the second game in a row poor starting out and conceded early. A strong second half push gave many Dynamo fans hope their side could get their first win since May 22nd, but a 88th minute goal by the home side turned fans’ hopes sour in the 2-1 loss.
It was nearly a disastrous start for Houston as Adam Lundkvist brought down Jonathan Menéndez in a very good spot on the field for a free kick. Albert Rusnák stood over the ball and delivered a beauty to Damir Kreilach who cleanly headed the ball into the net. The celebration was short lived though as the assistant referee had raised his flag with Kreilach jumping off on his run early.
However, not long after the 2nd minute scare, the home side would find the net again and this one would count. Fafà Picault had a really poor giveaway in the midfield and the break was on for RSL. Bobby Wood retrieved the ball and dodged the sliding challenge by Teenage Hadebe. He then had options to his left and right with Tim Parker in front of him and he slid the ball over for Justin Meram to put the ball passed Dynamo goalkeeper Marko Marić.
This is a Bobby Wood + Justin Meram appreciation post. pic.twitter.com/GbsvpuZV7y— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) August 19, 2021
The Dynamo tried to answer a few minutes later with Griffin Dorsey this time going at goal. Despite some contact, Dorsey didn’t go down and opted to try to slip one passed RSL goalkeeper Zac MacMath. Ari Lassiter had gotten free in the middle, but instead of following the run, he stopped thinking the play would be dead and he missed what could have been a tap in if he had continued his run.
As the game continued on, neither side was particularly capable at possessing the ball too long. Salt Lake was very good at pushing the ball higher up the field, but the Dynamo were quick to win the ball back. The problem for Houston was they struggled to string passes together out of their half of the field and when they could, their offense was limited to pushing the ball wide and crossing it in.
In the 38th minute a perfect through ball put Lassiter in on goal. He opted to try to thread one into the middle of the box, but it was deflected by a RSL defender. Lassiter was able to get the rebound and he cut inside and tried for goal, but he mishit the ball which went well wide and over the goal.
RSL would keep their one goal lead going into halftime. The Dynamo had definitely played themselves back into the game with their midfield and defenders stepping up to deny the home side from creating too much on offense. However, the Dynamo couldn’t take advantage of the hard work the defense was putting in on the other end as the players didn’t look in sync and they wasted several good chances that they did get.
Houston came out with a lot more energy to start the second half, probably after what was likely a high octane halftime talk by Tab Ramos. The team pressed higher which supplied the forwards with more support and other passing options going forward which helped them get several corners one of which they were able to capitalize on in the 51st minute. Darwin Cerén took the corner and perfectly picked out Picault who headed the ball down and through the legs of MacMath.
GET , @Fafagoal23 #HoldItDown pic.twitter.com/ITkUMYKNN3— Houston Dynamo FC (@HoustonDynamo) August 19, 2021
The Dynamo continued their pressure which led to more corners, but also a few solid looks from open play. Adam Lundkvist had a nearly perfect ball across goal headed towards Matías Vera, but outstanding defensive pressure made it so Vera could only get the smallest of touches on it with the ball striking the post and going out.
Lundkvist had another impressive ball with the play starting all the way back from Zarek Valentin. Valentin did well to navigate the ball out of the back and to find the substitute Maxi Urruti. Urruti took his space and eventually played the ball wide to Lundkvist. Lundkvist whipped in a ball that went across goal through everyone which Griffin Dorsey maybe should’ve been able to tap in.
RSL had their first real chance to go ahead in the second half in the 80th minute. Aaron Herrera sent in a dangerous ball that went through everyone towards Kreilach. Kreilach one touched it forcing a difficult save by Marko Marić.
UNREAL FROM MARK pic.twitter.com/q0vdQWpwYB— Houston Dynamo FC (@HoustonDynamo) August 19, 2021
The home side regained the lead just before the 90th minute. Salt Lake had adjusted their shape by taking off a defender to put more pressure higher up the field and it worked as they took back the momentum. Following a counter attack that the Dynamo couldn’t clear, Rubio Rubín centered a pass to Anderson Julio who had the space to take a touch and then play it into the back post.
*heads explode*— Real Salt Lake (@realsaltlake) August 19, 2021
*jaws on the floor*
*all the feels* pic.twitter.com/rGNvIiJnHW
After 90 minutes the Dynamo would lose their fourth straight game. This one was disappointing because despite a poor start to the game, the team came out and looked energized and ready to win which helped lead to their early half equalizer. Even though the offense finally had support, the defense was locked in for most of the half, and they were getting more chances, they still lacked a true goal scorer to take advantage of the opportunities they were given.
Next up for the Dynamo, they’ll return to BBVA Stadium to take on FC Dallas in the Texas Derby on Saturday August 21st at 7:30 PM CT.
6’ RSL: Justin Meram (assisted by Bobby Wood)
51’ HOU: Fafà Picault (assisted by Darwin Cerén)
88’ RSL: Anderson Julio (assisted by Rubio Rubín)
29’ RSL: Damir Kreilach (yellow card)
90’ RSL: Albert Rusnák (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-1-2-3): Marko Marić; Adam Lundkvist, Teenage Hadebe, Tim Parker, Zarek Valentin; Darwin Cerén; Matías Vera (84’ Joe Corona), Adalberto Carrasquilla (71’ Oscar Boniek García) ; Ari Lassiter (59’ Maxi Urruti), Griffin Dorsey (84’ Memo Rodríguez), Fafà Picault
Real Salt Lake (4-4-2): Zac MacMath; Donny Toia, Toni Datković (80’ Maikel Chang), Marcelo Silva, Aaron Herrera; Justin Meram (80’ Anderson Julio), Damir Kreilach, Everton Luiz (68’ Pablo Ruiz), Jonathan Menéndez (68’ Nick Besler); Albert Rusnák, Bobby Wood (57’ Rubio Rubín)