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Preseason match preview: Real Salt Lake vs. Houston Dynamo

RSL takes on the Houston Dynamo in the second game of three in the Visit Tucson Sun Cup.

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

We’re already into the second game of preseason as Real Salt Lake will take on the Houston Dynamo this afternoon in the Visit Tucson Sun Cup.

After RSL battled to a 0-0 draw against rivals Sporting Kansas City and Houston played to a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls, they’ll look to face each other as they continue to fine-tune their lineups and tactics before the MLS season kicks off in just 10 days.

Houston Dynamo

The Dynamo have had somewhat of a busy offseason, which started by appointing former USMNT U-20 coach Tab Ramos to lead their team after former boss Wilmer Cabrera parted ways with Houston last summer.

During the offseason, the Dynamo picked up some well-known names from around MLS such as Zarek Valentin, Victor Cabrera, Darwin Quintero, and Cody Cropper.

With a pickup like Quintero to add to an already dangerous attack with the likes of Alberth Elis, Mauro Manotas, and Christian Ramirez, we can see that Ramos hopes to come out swinging this season. Those four players combined for 40 goals between them in the 2019 season, while five of Ramirez’s nine came after he was sent to Houston from LAFC in August last year.

Real Salt Lake

With one preseason game under their belts, it’ll be interesting to see how Freddy Juarez decides to line up this afternoon. Zac MacMath got the start last weekend against SKC, while Justen Glad started at right back and Aaron Herrera surprisingly started on the right wing, where Jefferson Savarino’s departure left a hole. Obviously we can’t read too much into preseason lineups and performances as Juarez tinkers and experiments to figure out exactly how he wants to approach the regular season.

The battle for the starting goalkeeper position has clearly begun as MacMath and David Ochoa split the game down the middle, with Ochoa coming on in the second half against SKC. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Andrew Putna get the starting spot today as Juarez continues to figure out who will be seeing the majority of the time between the pipes as the regular season inches closer.

Both RSL and Houston will have one more match in the Visit Tucson Sun Cup, as RSL takes on USL side Phoenix Rising FC on Saturday, while Houston will close out the cup by facing off against the Columbus Crew just prior to RSL’s match.


Match info

When: Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 4:00PM MT

Where: Kino North Stadium — Tucson, AZ

Weather: 75 degrees, sunny

Broadcast: KSL TV app (streaming in Utah)