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Houston Dynamo unable to come back in loss on the road to Real Salt Lake

It hasn’t been an easy stretch for the Houston Dynamo with their latest loss coming to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. 

MLS: Houston Dynamo FC at Real Salt Lake Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Dynamo FC were coming off a midweek Lamar Hunt US Open Cup loss to rivals Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park. The team hoped to rebound on another road trip as they headed to Sandy, Utah to take on Real Salt Lake. Unfortunately for Houston, despite a promising start, they kept getting dismantled a goal at a time finally falling 3-0 at Rio Tinto.

The opening affair between the two was relatively back and forth with neither looking particularly dominant on the ball. Houston had an early chance after earning a set piece outside of the 18 yard box of Real Salt Lake, but the ensuing free kick was well over the top of goal. RSL attempted to take control of the game following the early attempt, but the home side was unable to really impose its dominance in the early stages of the match.

The closest opportunity in the opening 22 minutes came from a Real Salt Lake set piece a few yards away from the edge of the 18 yard box. The attempt swung in and Dynamo goalkeeper Michael Nelson was able to punch the ball, but he slipped and it went straight to an RSL attacking player. The player did not expect it and the effort eventually was cleared, but it was a nervous moment for Head Coach Paulo Nagamaura and the Houston Dynamo.

Despite the promising start from the away side, Real Salt Lake found a way to capture the lead in the 29th minute. RSL found room on their right wing of the pitch with Maikel Chang crossing the ball across goal towards Bobby Wood who headed the ball down and into the net. 1-0 RSL.

As the game went on the Dynamo had a few close chances to retake the momentum, but Real Salt Lake never looked out of it and towards the end of the half appeared to steal possessions with Houston content on seeing the game down a goal at the half. RSL had several very close chances to increase their lead late, but after the 45 minute whistle Salt Lake would go into the half with a 1 goal lead over Houston.

Salt Lake didn’t sit deep on their lead to start the second half, but Houston had a great chance to equalize though were unfortunate to do so in the 51st minute. A brilliant cross sent in by Zeca found the head of Thor Úlfarsson but his headed effort down was somehow saved by Salt Lake goalkeeper Zac MacMath.

Even with the second half pressure by the visitors, Real Salt Lake were able to increase their lead. A great delivery to Sergio Córdova saw him on goal and after a few touches was able to deliver for Salt Lake.

Salt Lake seemed to have Houston firmly in its pocket as they were able to crush any semblance of a comeback in stoppage time with a third goal. Following a set piece, Justen Glad was able to get back post unmarked and head the ball passed Michael Nelson to seal the victory for the home team.

Even though the Dynamo began the game on the right foot in terms of their pressure, possession, and how they limited RSL to find quality chances, after the opening goal all bets were off. RSL did well to pick their moments by exploiting the space given by Houston’s increased pressure and utilizing it to win set pieces in good areas along with chances to challenge on goal. It wasn’t a poor effort by the Dynamo, despite the score line, but this is an example worth looking at to examine areas where the club can improve – particularly along the wing.

With the international break now in the picture, the regular schedule has a bit of a break with the Dynamo next taking on Orlando City SC on June 18th at 6:30 PM CT at Exploria Stadium.

Goals:

29’ RSL: Bobby Wood (assisted by Maikel Chang)

57’ RSL: Sergio Córdova

90’ + 2’ RSL: Justen Glad (assisted by Justin Meram)

Disciplinary:

15’ HOU: Beto Avila (yellow card)

25’ HOU: Adalberto Carrasquilla (yellow card)

Lineups:

Houston Dynamo:

46’ Darwin Quintero on, Corey Baird off

46’ Tyler Pasher on, Beto Avila off

68’ Fafà Picault on, Thor Úlfarsson off

68’ Darwin Cerén on, Matías Vera off

Real Salt Lake:

70’ Scott Caldwell on, Jasper Löffelsend off

71’ Jefferson Savarino on, Maikel Chang off

76’ Rubio Rubin on, Sergio Córdova off

89’ Nick Besler on, Paublo Ruiz off