The last time Real Salt Lake and the Houston Dynamo met, it was a battle between two of the bottom teams in the western conference to grab the coveted sixth and final playoff spot as the 2015 season rolled on into the fall.
RSL would emerge victorious for the fourth time in a row over Houston, with a 3-1 win at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Javier Morales opened the scoring in first half stoppage time when he found himself in the right place to knock the ball in the net from point blank range.
Burrito Martinez had a shot from the left side that Dynamo ‘keeper Tyler Deric got a hand to, which Devon Sandoval was able to collect. He then tapped a close-range shot that was again saved, but fell right to Javi’s feet and he knocked it home to put RSL up with a 1-0 lead going into halftime.
After a couple miraculous saves from Nick Rimando in the second half, Sandoval got a goal of his own in the 51st minute.
Martinez again had a shot parried away by Deric, but Big Dev was able to get to it and volley it into the back of the net, notching the goal that would prove to be the game winner as RSL took a decisive 2-0 lead.
Houston would pull one back in the 65th minute when John Stertzer was called for a hand ball in the box following a Dynamo corner kick. Referee Robert Sibiga immediately pointed to the spot. Brad Davis stepped up and sent the penalty kick home to cut RSL’s lead in half.
Only three minutes later, Martinez would render Houston’s goal ineffective as he finally was rewarded with a goal after having several of his earlier shots blocked.
Morales slotted a pass into a completely unmarked Burrito who was streaking toward the goal, and none of Houston’s defenders were able to recover quickly enough. Burrito quickly sent the ball flying over Deric’s head from a tight angle to set the final scoreline at 3-1 in RSL’s favor.
RSL controlled the majority of possession at 54 percent, and although the two teams were relatively even on shots (RSL outshooting Houston 15-13), Salt Lake put away the shots that counted to roll over Houston for the fourth straight time.
These two teams will meet again for the first time since last season this Saturday night, while RSL will be looking to bounce back from the loss at LA, and Houston will be hoping to get back to their early-season form at Rio Tinto Stadium.