Real Salt Lake vs. Houston Dynamo | MLS Match Preview

RSLvHOU, 8-10-2013

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REAL SALT LAKE vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah
August 10, 2013 (WEEK 24, MLS Game #219)
7:30 p.m. MT (KUCW; CSN-Hou2/KTBU)

Real Salt Lake and the Houston Dynamo meet in a crucial interconference match for both clubs on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Still holders of the league’s best overall record, RSL haven’t won in three league games, returning home off a 2-2 draw at the Colorado Rapids last weekend – but advanced to the U.S. Open Cup final at midweek. The Dynamo are still hanging on to fifth place in the Eastern Conference after a four-game unbeaten run, coming off a 3-1 home win against Columbus.

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REFEREE: Jose Carlos Rivero. AR1 (bench): Frank Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Adam Wienckowski; 4th: Mark Kadlecik
MLS Career: 15 games; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 4; pens: 5

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: RSL: Yordany Alvarez (through August 17)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Kyle Beckerman, Chris Wingert
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Lovel Palmer, Yordany Alvarez, Ned Grabavoy, Olmes Garcia … HOU: Andrew Driver, Corey Ashe, Boniek Garcia
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (17 meetings): Real 3 wins, 22 goals … Dynamo 9 wins, 26 goals … Ties 5
AT SALT LAKE (8 meetings): Real 3 wins, 8 goals … Dynamo 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 4

2012 (MLS):
9/6: HOU 1, RSL 0 (C. Clark 94+)

  • The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.
  • Real last defeated Houston on May 13, 2010, a 3-1 win at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Dynamo have won two of three meetings since, including a 1-0 win last Sept. 6 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • RSL has taken points from their last four home games vs. Houston, with three draws in that time.
  • RSL is 0-8-1 lifetime in Houston. Earlier this year, Real won for the first time ever in the state of Texas after 22 games in a 3-0 victory against FC Dallas on July 13.

REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake has their winless run extended to three games, the Colorado Rapids coming back for a 2-2 draw Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. RSL lead the Western Conference with 38 points from 23 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Less than two minutes into the match, Real had the lead. Sprinting down the right side of the box, Kyle Beckerman delivered a perfect cross for a wide-open Ned Grabavoy to bundle over the line at the back post.
  • But the lead didn’t last long. On a harmless-looking long ball over the top into space, Rapids striker Deshorn Brown used nothing but pure speed to wrestle his way around a defender and fire the ball past RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando for the ninth-minute equalizer.
  • But 10 minutes later, Rapids defender Drew Moor caught Robbie Findley’s legs in a last-ditch tackle in the area, resulting in a clear penalty. A thunderstorm blew through just as Alvaro Saborio was lining up to take the penalty kick, resulting in a 62-minute delay. When play was restarted, Saborio finished off the spot kick for a 2-1 RSL lead.
  • Yet the Rapids struck back again in the 70th minute. Rookie Dillon Powers snuck a brilliant through ball down the wing to left back Chris Klute, who delivered another terrific cross to Jaime Castrillon, who headed home for the equalizer.
  • RSL head coach Jason Kreis made five changes to the team that suffered a 4-3 loss to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Nick Rimando came in between the posts for Jeff Attinella, Brandon McDonald started in the back for Aaron Maund, Luis Gil and Kyle Beckerman came into the midfield for Sebastian and the suspended Yordany Alvarez, and Robbie Findley came in up top for Olmes Garcia.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Lovel Palmer, Brandon McDonald, Nat Borchers, Abdoulie Mansally - Luis Gil (Olmes Garcia 85), Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy - Javier Morales (Khari Stephenson 25) - Robbie Findley (Joao Plata 78), Alvaro Saborio.

TEAM NEWS

  • While RSL had their winless run extended in league play, they did put an end to a quick two-game losing slide.
  • “We got a result and that's what matters," goalkeeper Nick Rimando said. “Yes, we didn't win the Rocky Mountain Cup, and that means a lot to the fans, but we got a result. We are still ahead of Colorado in the standings, and most important, we got to keep our confidence up.”
  • Álvaro Saborío scored his fourth goal in the last two games in bizarre circumstances – the first kick of the match following an hour-long weather delay.
  • Goalkeeper Rimando returned to the RSL starting lineup after missing four matches while backstopping the USA to the CONCACAF Gold Cup title.
  • “He continues what I think is easily, hands down, the best year of his entire playing career. Without Nick Rimando in that game, I think we lose it,” said Kreis.
  • Javier Morales was forced from the field with an injury shortly after the restart following the weather delay. Morales had started every Real match since April 7.
  • “I thought it changed the game a lot. I think that he's somebody that always is available for us to play through and make some really, really good decisions when he has to just manage the match,” said Kreis. “So to lose a player like that with a lead in a tense atmosphere like it was, that hurts.”
  • Brandon McDonald made his RSL debut, coming into central defense alongside Nat Borchers.
  • “I think that our back four looked quite a bit disjointed and it has been quite a bit disjointed now for several weeks,”said Kreis. “Should we be surprised by that? I don't think so. Let's just try to get Wingert and Beltran back on the field as quickly as possible and sort out who's going to own the position next to Nat, because that's a flat-out competition for me at the moment.”
  • On Wednesday, Real reached the final of the U.S. Open Cup for the first time, defeating the Portland Timbers 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Alvaro Saborio scored in the seventh minute and Joao Plata netted in the 78th for RSL; Diego Valeri scored a late stoppage time goal for Portland.
  • Here’s the RSL team: Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Carlos Salcedo, Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman; Luis Gil (Yordany Alvarez, 88’), Khari Stephenson (Javier Morales, 80’); Ned Grabavoy; Robbie Findley (Joao Plata, 61’), Alvaro Saborio
  • "We’ll be playing against a D.C. United team that has struggled this year, we’ll be in our building, we’ll be the favorites, and we’ll see if we can do what we’ve never done before: Win one of these things,” Kreis said.

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo stretched their undefeated run to four matches, taking a 3-1 win against the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 33 points from 21 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Dynamo were on top after just 10 minutes. Giles Barnes was brought down from behind by Columbus center back after bursting into the box, and referee Kevin Stott pointed to the spot. Brad Davis converted the penalty for the opener past goalkeeper Matt Lampson.
  • It was 2-0 in the 31st minute. After Boniek Garcia fleeced a defender at midfield, he found Will Bruin making a run in the box. After taking two touches, Bruin struck from the top of the box and hit the back of the net behind Lampson.
  • The Crew were given a lifeline in the 75th minute. As Ryan Finley received a pass in the center of the box, Dynamo fullback Kofi Sarkodie knocked it away but succeeded only in stabbing it into his own goal.
  • But the home side sealed the victory in the 85th minute, when Cam Weaver took a layoff from Bruin just outside the box and hammered a rocket with the outside of his foot that sailed into the corner.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire at BBVA Compass Stadium. Brad Davis and Will Bruin came into the side in place of Andrew and Cam Weaver.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-2-3-1): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Adam Moffat, Ricardo Clark (Warren Creavalle 51) - Boniek Garcia, Giles Barnes (Cam Weaver 81), Brad Davis (Jason Johnson 78) - Will Bruin.

TEAM NEWS

  • Will Bruin returned to the Dynamo lineup after missing three matches while on CONCACAF Gold Cup duty with the USA, and netted his first goal since May 8.
  • “Whenever you go a while without scoring, it plays with your head,” Bruin said. “To sit on the bench over there at the Gold Cup kind of made me hungry to get back on the field and play, and I think it’s going to be a good second half of the season.”
  • Said Kinnear: “I think it’s an unwritten rule with this that if a guy goes away and plays with the national team, he doesn’t lose his place in the team. You could tell he was looking to do something tonight and that’s good to see.”
  • After scoring his first goal since May 28, 2011 the week before, Cam Weaver hit for a goal for a second consecutive week.
  • “Definitely I had a chip on my shoulder coming off the bench. Any striker who scores a goal and is thrown on the bench the next time is not going to be happy,” Weaver said. “The decision is out of my hands. I was happy to be able to get a goal and help the team in a win. Most important is the three points.”
  • Brad Davis converted a penalty kick for his first goal since May 25, making his first start since June 22 because of national team duty and injury.
  • Boniek Garcia collected the first two-assist game of his MLS career, making a fourth consecutive start after returning from injury and national team duty.
  • For the first match since the opening game of the season, Andrew Driver did not feature for the Dynamo, after he was forced off after just 15 minutes in the Chicago match with a right Achilles injury.
  • “We were hoping as we got him out of the game against Chicago that we caught it in enough time to where he could be available. That’s not to be the case,” Kinnear said. “You look at it and he’s started 17 games. To not have him on the field at all is going to be really strange.”
  • After going four consecutive home matches without a win from April 28-June 22, the Dynamo have won two of their last three at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • “Dom’s job’s been really difficult this year. I think he’s had a chance to pick from the entire group of guys only four or five times this year,” Davis said. “We have 14 games left and we’re sitting tied for fifth. We’re in an all right position but we can’t say that for long. We need to start getting things going and getting our points.”