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Real Salt Lake beats Houston Dynamo 3-1 on strong Burrito Martinez showing

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

With a glimmer of playoffs catching their eye, Real Salt Lake trounced Houston Dynamo 3-1, despite missing several starters, losing Luis Silva to a first-half injury, and conceding an unjust penalty.

The story of the match? Burrito Martinez, who, in his first start for RSL, scored his first goal for the club and had a substantial role in the other two.

Javier Morales opened the scoring at the death of the first half, scoring from a rebounded Burrito Martinez shot that Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric was only able to get a hand to.

In the second half, Devon Sandoval scored the second goal — his first since May — after he capitalized on another Martinez shot. The relief in his expression was palpable, after he'd gone four months goalless, at times with the goalmouth gaping.

In the 63rd minute, the referee became the center of attention when he whistled John Stertzer for a handball — a wholly and absolutely inaccurate call, given the ball hit Stertzer directly in the groin. Brad Davis finished the ensuing penalty, clawing Houston back to a 2-1 scoreline.

Burrito Martinez scored his first Real Salt Lake goal five minutes later, picking up a brilliant Morales pass on the right flank, then placing a shot just over Tyler Deric's shoulder.

Luis Silva was forced off in the first half through an apparent calf injury, with John Stertzer taking his place.