After dropping three points away to Portland last week, Real Salt Lake look ahead to a Saturday night matchup against Houston Dynamo. Houston’s season has been a disappointment as they sit bottom of the Western conference and are tied for the least amount of points in Major League Soccer. Last Friday night however; the Dynamo were able to salvage a late draw against Sporting Kansas City to earn a valuable road point. Dynamo faithful will hope the good fortune carries over to Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.
Former University of Denver goalkeeper Joe Willis will start between the sticks. The 28 year old shot-stopper has done an admirable job filling in for Tyler Deric as he recovers from an elbow sprain. Although Houston conceded three goals last week, the number could have been greater if not for a couple big saves from Willis which ultimately earned his side a point. Willis will look to carry his good form through the rest of the season so he give management a headache about whether or not to put Deric back in to the starting XI.
The Houston back-line has been somewhat of a revolving door this season. The key player to look out for is former United States international and club captain DaMarcus Beasley. The Indiana native will push forward down the left wing when possible to create space for the rest of the team. The center-backs will likely be Raul Rodriguez and Jalil Anibaba. While neither Rodriguez or Anibaba are tall for central defenders at 6 feet, both do well in attacking the ball in the air. Sheanon Williams will patrol the right side of the defense.
The Dynamo have preferred to play with a packed five man midfield with one of them sitting in front of the defense. Boniek Garcia is coming off a 2 assist performance last week, and will likely retain his starting place on the right wing. Former Philadelphia Union playmaker Cristian Maidana will look to drift in from the left to create running room for Beasley. Ricardo Clark and Alex will be the box-to-box midfielders in the center of the park looking to wreak havoc on both sides of the pitch. 2010 Real Salt Lake draft pick Collen Warner will be the man doing the dirty work looking to intercept anything in front of the back four.
Houston will have a problem choosing between Will Bruin and Mauro Manotas as their lone striker. Will Bruin has been at the club since 2011 and accumulated over 150 appearances for the Dynamo. Manotas is their fresh blood as a 21 year old Designated Player. The young Colombian was able to notch a goal last week, so he may be the favorite to start against the Claret and Cobalt. Either way, there is a fairly good chance that both players will make an appearance.