Well it is rare that RSL score first and then fail to get a result but in Houston we have become used to the unusual and despite some great efforts there were too many mistakes as RSL failed to get their first win in Houston. Yes RSL has never won a MLS match in Texas a streak that is simply beyond explanation. Thanks to the RSL Communication team here is the match recap and other match info:
REAL SALT LAKE'S "TEXAS HEX" CONTINUES IN HEARTBREAKING 2-3 DEFEAT AT HOUSTON
Despite Holding Pair of Leads, Claret-and-Cobalt Fall Courtesy of Last-gasp Strike by Dynamo's Alex Dixon;
Goals by FW Fabian Espindola & MF Luis Gil Not Enough as RSL Drops to 0-7-1 All-time in Houston
HOUSTON (Saturday, August 20, 2011) - Real Salt Lake looked as if it might finally vanquish its road demons in the Lone Star State against the Houston Dynamo, but the visitors lost a pair of leads before Houston MF Alex Dixon's last-gasp strike felled RSL to a 2-3 defeat at Robertson Stadium.
It was Real Salt Lake controlling the opening half in the usual sweltering conditions in Houston, the visitors jumping out of the gates to hold the better of the possession in the opening stanza. Almost immediately after Houston FW Carlo Costly saw an apparent goal wiped off the board due to an offside call in the 28thminute, RSL would race down the field to create a chance of its own through FW Fabian Espíndola, who buried his chance inside the far left post for his team-high seventh goal of the campaign.
The second half was Houston's from the onset, and it took less than 90 seconds for the home side to level after FW Brian Ching finished off a square ball from MFBrad Davis after the All-Star danced past three RSL defenders to gain space inside the area.
Real Salt Lake took Houston's punch to open the half and countered with one of its own at the hour mark, when MF Luis Gil rose at the top of the six-yard box to meet Espindola's cross from the right flank, nodding home inside the right post to put the visitors back on top, 2-1.
Ten minutes later the Dynamo would once again tie the proceedings through Davis, his corner kick met with a glancing header by DF Bobby Boswell that nestled inside the far right post to bring the match level at 2-2.
Thanks to some key saves by GK Nick Rimando it looked as if the Utah side might gain a rare road point at Robertson as the match entered stoppage time, but the substitute Dixon would have the final say. The late-game substitute cut past a pair of defenders at the top of the area and unleashed a left-footed shot that beat a diving Rimando and splashed into the left-side netting, the goal on the final kick of the match further extending RSL's recent road woes in the most agonizing fashion possible.
more after the jump:
Real Salt Lake Match Notes
- Real Salt Lake's seven-year winless drought in Texas remained intact, as the Utahns are now 0-17-2 all-time in the Lone Star State. Despite the fact that RSL has scored in all eight visits to Robertson Stadium, tonight's defeat dropped its ledger in Houston to 0-7-1, with all seven losses coming by a one-goal margin.
- Tonight's defeat lowered Real Salt Lake's record to 2-5-3 in away contests during 2011 regular season play. After winning its first two road affairs of the season at San Jose (1-0 on March 19) and at New England (2-0 on April 9), RSL has gone winless in its last eight road affairs (0-5-3). Seven of the Claret-and-Cobalt's final 11 matches will come away from the friendly confines of Rio Tinto Stadium.
- The loss was only the second in Real Salt Lake's history in which it was defeated after holding a pair of leads. It should be no surprise that the other occasion also came at Robertson Stadium nearly three years ago to the day on Aug. 16, 2008, when Houston overcame 0-1 and 1-2 deficits to capture a wild 4-3 victory over the Utah side.
- FW Fabian Espíndola's seventh goal of the season pushed him in front of strike-mate Álvaro Saborío for the team's scoring lead. The seven tallies marks a new career single-season best in MLS play for the Argentine forward, eclipsing the half-dozen goals he bagged last season.
- The goal-and-assist effort on the night was the third in Espíndola's five seasons with Real Salt Lake, and his first in 38 contests dating back to the 2010 season opener on March 27 at San Jose (3-0 W). Espindola is now one of eight players with multiple assists for the Claret-and-Cobalt in league play this season.
- The goal at the hour mark by MF Luis Gil marked his second tally in his last three games (all starts). The budding 17-year-old playmaker opened his MLS account in RSL's 3-0 win over New York on August 6 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- Tonight's last-second defeat pushed RSL's record against Eastern Conference opposition on the season to 3-5-5 (1-4-2 on the road). Five of Real Salt Lake's next seven contests will come against Eastern foes before closing with four intra-conference affairs in October. In contrast, the Utah side is 7-2-1 against the Western Conference in 2011.
- Real Salt Lake will end its current three-game road swing next Saturday, August 27, when the Claret-and-Cobalt will travel to Southern California to take on Robin Fraser's improving Chivas USA (7-8-10, 31 pts.) side. Kickoff from The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. is set for 8:30 p.m. MT for a match that will be televised nationwide on Fox Soccer Channel and can also be followed live on RSL's official radio partners - ESPN 700 Sports (pre-game coverage begins at 7:30 p.m.), ESPN Deportes 1600-AM and Juan 106.1-FM.
HOUSTON DYNAMO 3 : 2 REAL SALT LAKE
SATURDAY, AUGUST 20, 2011
ROBERTSON STADIUM - HOUSTON, TX
Goals by Period
Houston Dynamo (8-7-11, 35 pts.) 0 3 3
Real Salt Lake (10-7-6, 36 pts.) 1 1 2
RSL -- Fabian Espíndola 7 (Collen Warner 4) 28
HOU -- Brian Ching 5 (Brad Davis 12, Carlo Costly 1) 47
RSL -- Luis Gil 2 (Fabian Espíndola 2) 60
HOU -- Bobby Boswell 4 (Brad Davis 13) 69
HOU -- Alex Dixon 1 (unassisted) 93+
Real Salt Lake (4-4-2) -- Nick Rimando; Robbie Russell, Nat Borchers, Chris Schuler, Tony Beltran; Collen Warner (Andy Williams 46), Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil, Arturo Alvarez (Jean Alexandre 85); Álvaro Saborío, Fabian Espíndola (Paulo Araujo Jr. 62).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Agorsor, Rauwshan McKenzie, Blake Wagner, Kyle Reynish.
Houston Dynamo (4-4-2) -- Tally Hall; Hunter Freeman, Bobby Boswell, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe; Colin Clark (Alex Dixon 80), Geoff Cameron, Je-Vaughn Watson, Brad Davis; Brian Ching (Calen Carr 89), Carlo Costly (Cam Weaver 84).
Substitutes Not Used: Eddie Robinson, Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Tyler Deric.
HOU -- Bobby Boswell (caution; Reckless Foul) 33
HOU -- Corey Ashe (caution; Reckless Foul) 58
HOU -- Je-Vaughn Watson (caution; Reckless Foul) 60
RSL -- Álvaro Saborío (caution; Reckless Tackle) 67
Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry; Adam Garner
4th Official: John McCloskey
Time of Game: 1:56
MLS POST-GAME QUOTE SHEET
REAL SALT LAKE HEAD COACH JASON KREIS
On the game ...
"We're heartbroken, there's no doubt about it. You look around the locker room and all of us are feeling devastated about that, because you never want to be in a position where you have two leads and walk away with nothing. We would have at least liked to get the draw, and if we're 30 seconds better there at the end, we walk away with at least a point, and we can pat ourselves on the back for all the hard work that we put into that. But to walk away with nothing, it feels very, very unfortunate."
On Alex Dixon's goal ...
"I was surprised. He's a very young player who hadn't made any positive contributions to Houston yet this season. He's a talented player, obviously. I've seen him play before, and I think he's got a lot of potential, but you don't expect a special play like that at the end of the game, and it hurts."
On injuries ...
"The depth of our team has been stricken. The competition for spots has been stricken, and that's been one of the biggest strong points of this group over the last couple of years is that people have to show up every single day to earn their spot on the weekend, and right now we're not able to affect that."
On positives from the match ...
"I think there are a lot of positive things that went into this match tonight. Certainly the guys gave everything they had, so I'm pleased with that. I'm pleased with the number of chances we created, I'm pleased that we scored twice in Houston, and I'm pleased that we had two leads. Those are all positive things. Soccer is not always a one-sided affair, and so you have to look at both sides of the story, and the other half I'm pretty displeased about."
On what changed in the second half ...
"We conceded a soft goal and, once we've done that, the momentum is going against us. Rather than getting out there in the second half and getting on our front foot like we did at the beginning of the first half, we didn't get that done, and from that moment on we're reeling a bit."
REAL SALT LAKE MIDFIELDER ANDY WILLIAMS
On the game ...
"I don't think we possessed the ball pretty well in the second half. They were switching the ball a lot and getting crosses in the box. Geoff Cameron was coming through the midfield, and they were creating chances that way. I don't think some of the older guys stepped on the ball, took a deep breath, and told everyone to relax."
On the physicality of the game ...
"We were holding our own. Nick [Rimando] made a few great saves for us and we just let him down. We expect it when we come here. Brian Ching and Costly and Cameron, they are all over 6-foot-3. We worked on it at practice to prepare for all the crosses coming in tonight."
On moving forward ...
"Our coaches are going to look at the game tape and take a look at what we did right and wrong so we can correct our mistakes. I think with the amount of time the game was tied, we could have delayed the game a little longer and come away with a tie."
HOUSTON DYNAMO HEAD COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR
On the match ...
"I'm very happy, and it was a great ending. We had a lot of chances in that second half. Nick Rimando had a very good game. I'm happy for Alex [Dixon] to come in and make a difference. I'm happy for the guys. They showed great determination this week to come out of this week undefeated and score two goals late. We played well, keeping ourselves together."
On Alex Dixon's game-winning goal ...
"I was happy for him. The kid has talent; we all know that. He has played important minutes for us. We brought him into the game in an important time on Wednesday. I'm happy he came over and celebrated with everyone, it was nice to see."
On the team's confidence in Alex Dixon ...
"He plays well in practice. He has the athletic ability to be able to play and handle it. We always try and tell him when he is on the bench to not enjoy the game, but to watch it so when you come on, you know what to do. He is learning how to become a professional. It is only one goal, so we have to take it easy, but it certainly came at the right time, and it capped off a good week for us. I'm happy for him. Sometimes the criticism from the older players and myself can be harsh and honest, but he kept his chin up, and I always tell him that we will give you a chance to play on the field because we have confidence that you can help this team at any particular time. Some guys are hurt, and some guys are suspended, and it gives other guys the opportunity to play. If we didn't have confidence in him, I don't think we would call his name to go in and play. Tonight he definitely rewarded our confidence and faith in him."
On the Dynamo offense ...
"We were moving the ball well. We found Brad a lot in the last half-an-hour. When Brad gets the ball, it's always a dangerous situation. We had a lot of chances, as did they, and I thought Nick Rimando made a lot of good saves. The more times you try and put the ball in the box, it puts pressure on the defense, and you hope to get something out of it."
HOUSTON DYNAMO MIDFIELDER ALEX DIXON
On the game-winning goal ...
"Last-minute game-winner, and we got the three points, so there are just a lot of emotions going around. I'm happy for the team, mostly, as we make a run for the playoffs, it's a good three points."
On the match ...
"It means a lot to help the team build confidence. Like I said before, the most important thing is the team, and we are just trying to get to the playoffs and make our run."
HOUSTON DYNAMO FORWARD CARLO COSTLY
On the match ...
"You saw today, even though we were losing in the first half, we turned around the game. From the first minute, we showed our character. We never put our heads down. The coach told us to keep our heads up and try to turn around the score."
Well there you have it.
OFF MY SOAPBOX