Things started badly for visiting Real Salt Lake Wednesday night in BBVA Compass Stadium and only got worse, as the visitors were pummeled by host Houston Dynamo 5-1, who, with the victory, took over first place in the Western Conference and remained unbeaten at home (7-0-1) in 2017.
An own goal in the third minute by RSL's Justin Schmidt put the away side in an early hole and a surgical goal by Alex in the 15th minute doubled the lead for the home side. Mauro Manotas scored on the stroke of halftime to make it 3-0 and Erick "Cubo'' Torres' tap-in in the 53rd minute made it 4-0 before RSL got on the board courtesy of a free kick strike by Joao Plata in the 62nd. But Houston kept playing, and scored again in the 68th on a header by Leonardo to make it 5-1.
- 3' – HOU – Justin Schmidt (OG) Watch
- 15' – HOU – Alex Watch
- 45' – HOU – Mauro Manotas Watch
- 52' – HOU – Erick Torres Watch
- 63' – RSL – Joao Plata Watch
- 68' – HOU – Leonardo Watch
- THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Dynamo are one of two teams in the Western Conference who are unbeaten at home -- and one of three in the conference that are winless on the road. Fortunately, Houston have played more games at home than they have played away, and they score goals at home. That helps.
- UNSUNG HERO: When your team scores five goals, you don't spend a lot of time talking about your goalkeeper. But don't overlook the part Houston keeper Tyler Deric played in this one. Deric made eight saves -- many of them acrobatic -- to keep RSL at arm's length. Without his work in the net, this game would have been a whole lot closer.
- RISING TO THE OCCASION: Houston's Alex made his 100th MLS start and commemorated the occasion with a goal -- a pretty one, at that -- to put the Dynamo ahead, 2-0. Nice touch.