Real Salt Lake started poorly and remained consistently in that corner for the entirety of their match against Houston Dynamo, losing 5-1 in the first of two Texas matches this week.
The team found a new way to concede early, with rookie Justin Schmidt finding the back of his own net from a Houston cross as he reached out to keep an attacking player from reaching the ball. That goal came in the third minute, continuing a truly miserable trend for RSL.
That trend continued: A short corner absolutely tore Real Salt Lake apart, with Alex dribbling from the right flank to just inside the box completely unprotected before he zipped a shot along the ground to the far post. That was the 15th minute, and it sure felt like the progress made over the last three weeks had been erased with one-sixth of the match to go.
But before the first half came to a close, RSL just had to give up one more, with Manotas scoring with barely a minute left. The goal came after the ball was given up extremely cheaply in the midfield, and the midfield, utterly unprepared for an entry ball, was carved to bits.
It continued apace in the second half, with a 52nd minute goal from Cubo Torres, who continued his goalscoring antics with a neat back-post finish to put Houston up 4-0.
Things went a bit topsy turvy in the 62nd minute, with Joao Plata scoring a tremendous goal from a free kick — but only after his number was raised by the fourth official and Plata turned to the bench and apparently told them he’d come off after said free kick. It was Plata’s second goal of the season; his first came on Saturday against Philadelphia Union.
Any extremely faint glimmer of hope was erased but five minutes later, when Leonardo scored with a headed ball, finishing Oscar Boniek Garcia’s cross for a 5-1 Houston lead.
Sunny was shown a yellow card in the 54th minute for a high boot against AJ DeLaGarza, for which he’ll miss RSL’s match against FC Dallas.