LEHI, Utah — Real Salt Lake have not had the greatest success when it comes to facing heat and humidity, which is why Saturday’s contest against the Dynamo in Houston (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online) may prove to be a formidable challenge with temperatures forecast to reach a high of 100 degrees.
However, the squad that RSL face also presents its share of challenges, especially the front line pair of Brian Ching and Carlo Costly as well as the deadly left foot of midfielder Brad Davis.
The newest member of the Dynamo attack is Honduran international Costly, who has seen just a shade more than 100 minutes of action in three outings since joining the Dynamo. The 29-year-old veteran appears to still be cutting his teeth on MLS' physical style.
“Good forward,” said RSL’s Andy Williams, who has squared off against the Honduran while playing with the Jamaican national team. “Hopefully he’s still adjusting to MLS and still working out the kinks. And hopefully he doesn’t come out of it against us. He’s a good forward, probably definitely in the top five in our region.”
RSL manager Jason Kreis explained what exactly Costly does well.
“First, he’s a big, big kid,” Kreis said. “He’s also got some good pace and is tricky on the ball. So he’s kind of a complete-package forward in my mind. He’s a dangerous, dangerous player. And so I think it just adds another piece to their attacking options, and somebody we’ve got to be focused on.”
Costly has teamed up with Ching, another big veteran with a knack for scoring goals. The 33-year-old Ching has often been marked by Real Salt Lake center back Jámison Olave, who is just returning to full health after an MCL sprain suffered during the MLS All-Star Game. Whether or not Olave plays in Houston, Ching will still prove a handful for RSL.
“Ching is in a groove right now,” Williams said of the former US national-team player, who has scored three goals in the last four outings. “So they have two international forwards right now playing for them."
And then, of course, there’s Davis. The lefty has often been involved in key plays against Real Salt Lake, whether it’s serving in crosses that Ching has put into the back of the net or delivering a dart of his own from long range.
Controlling those three Dynamo players and eliminating free kicks in dangerous areas will likely be the key to beating the Dynamo on their own home turf. Real Salt Lake will take hope in knowing that their opponent traveled from a Wednesday evening match played in New England and might have weary legs.
“The one thing that I think is always good about Houston is that I think we’re always up for that game,” explained Kreis. “Our guys are up for that match and it’s become a pretty good rivalry for us — always physical games. And they’re always good games. I’m looking forward to it.”