It’s been two short weeks since RSL’s last meeting with Houston, and now they’re about to pay a visit to BBVA Compass Stadium on the second stop of their five-game road trip.
RSL beat Houston in their last meeting at home by a score of 2-1, thanks to goals from Jordan Allen and Yura Movsisyan in the second half. RSL followed that match up with a 1-0 loss to Rocky Mountain rivals Colorado at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, so they’ll be looking to get back on track and pick up some valuable points this weekend in Houston.
Sitting at 5-2-2 after nine games played, Salt Lake is still in a good position in the western conference, with as many as three games in hand. Here’s why we won’t see RSL slip any lower in the standings this weekend.
Keeping the streak alive
Real Salt Lake has won five straight games over Houston now, and two of those came on the road. The Texas curse is a thing of the past, and after nine games without a win in Houston, RSL has seen two in a row and will look to make it three on Saturday.
Houston played earlier this week on the road in San Jose where they lost to the Earthquakes 3-1. The Dynamo are now 2-6-2 on the season and sitting in last place in the western conference. With only two wins to their name, and many of their players having just played 90 minutes three days earlier, RSL should enjoy a slight advantage both physically and mentally.
Even though Salt Lake is just coming off a loss to Colorado, they’ve shown they can bounce back quickly this season. In fact, the last time they lost a game (5-2 to the LA Galaxy), they immediately won their next game which was against Houston.
Lineup pros and cons
This week will most likely see the full return of Joao Plata, as he came off the bench to play 33 minutes last week against Colorado. After missing two full games, if he can continue the form he was in before his injury, he’ll prove to be a huge difference maker in Houston on Saturday.
Of course, RSL isn’t without holes in their preferred starting lineup. They’ll be missing Demar Phillips who is out with a pulled groin, so Chris Wingert will get the start at left back. Phillips has started three of the last four games over Wingert, as both players have seen roughly an equal amount of minutes this season. It also looks like Aaron Maund is still doubtful for the Houston matchup, so we’ll expect to see a center back pairing of Justen Glad and Jamison Olave.
Aside from that, it looks like RSL will be at full strength, and that can be a very dangerous thing for teams trying to defend against their potent attack.
Houston will be missing goalkeeper Tyler Deric after he received a red card in the match against San Jose, so Joe Willis will be expected to start in his place. This was Deric’s second red card of the season.
Real Salt Lake has every reason to get the full three points in Houston on Saturday as long as we don't see any lapses in the defense. Houston's attack can be very dangerous as we've seen already this year. Giles Barnes, Will Bruin, and Andrew Wenger are all sitting on three goals and two assists this season.
That being said, the Dynamo are in the midst of a less-than-stellar start to the season, so let’s hope RSL can capitalize on that and earn those precious road points, even if that means Nick Rimando having to save another shot with his face.