RSL best ‘nemesis’ Houston 3-1By Patrick McShane • May 14th, 2010 • Category: Match Reports
Real Salt Lake made it three straight home wins on Thursday night as they outclassed the Houston Dynamo in a 3-1 victory featured as the MLS Game of the Week. It took just three minutes for RSL to open the scoring with standout striker Robbie Findley finally getting off of the mark for his first tally of the season after struggling during the first couple of weeks. New forward Álvaro Saborío continued his formidable home production, scoring RSL’s two final goals while extending his team-leading goal count of the season to four.
It was an exciting match early on as RSL appeared up to the task against a Houston team that has traditionally given them fits. Findley almost opened his account with in the first 90 seconds when he squandered a 1v1 opportunity against Houston keeper Pat Onstad. Fortunately for Findley and RSL, he had the opportunity to make amends just seconds later when Kyle Beckerman found Findley open in the box for a beautiful glance header. One could sense the goal coming for the early moments of the match as Houston’s backline was often caught off guard and were scrambling to get organized for much of the match.
Midfielder Javier Morales had a particularly impressive return to form as he played an important creative role all evening and directly facilitated RSL’s final two goals. The first came in a gutsy run of play when Morales fought off three Houston players to get a slight toe-poke to Saborío just on the outside of the box. While credit should be given to Morales for not giving up on the play, the majority of the plaudits will be directed to Saborío who beat two closing Houston defenders to blast a stunning one-timer to the bottom right corner of goal.
The second half was more of the same as RSL never really appeared threatened and Houston struggled to piece together any semblance of an organized attack. Morales and Saborío again connected for the third goal when Morales curled beautiful free kick into the box to an unmarked Saborío to casually nod home. Despite the match appearing well out of reach, Houston did mount one impressive run of play coupled with sloppy defense just over 10 minutes later to earn their lone goal of the match. For one brilliant minute, Brian Ching, Brad Davis, and Brian Mullan combined for a clinical passing display to release Mullan open on the left wing to slot the ball home.
Noted RSL coach Jason Kreis after the match: “It got a little hectic there at the end to give away the goal the way that we did. It felt a little bit too ragged, the way we finished the match.”
Both teams will now have over a week to assess the impact of this result. Houston will have time to explore their club identity as they hope to identify the source of their inconsistency and cope with the glut of injuries that has plagued them early on. For RSL, it will give them a chance to work different players into their scheme to compensate for loss of Findley as he departs on Saturday for Princeton, New Jersey. It also means that RSL will have a chance to savor an emotionally important victory over a traditionally difficult Houston side. “I think you could see the emotions in their faces in the locker room,” added Kreis. “You know how happy they were to finally beat what has been a little bit of a nemesis the last eight games now.”
REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1, 13 pts.) v. HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-1, 13 pts.)
DATE: May 13, 2010 — Rio Tinto Stadium
RSL — Robbie Findley 1 (Kyle Beckerman 2) 3
RSL — Álvaro Saborío 3 (Javier Morales 3) 24
RSL — Álvaro Saborío 4 (Javier Morales 4) 60
HOU — Brian Mullan 2 (Brad Davis 4) 72
Real Salt Lake (4-4-2) — Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Andy Williams (Jean Alexandre 69), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborio (Pablo Campos 79), Robbie Findley (Collen Warner 88).
Houston Dynamo (4-5-1) — Pat Onstad, Craig Waibel (Brian Ching 62), Bobby Boswell, Adrian Serioux, Mike Chabala, Brian Mullan, Richard Mulrooney, Brad Davis, Lovel Palmer (Danny Cruz 46), Corey Ashe (Andrew Hainault 68), Dominic Oduro.
RSL — Nat Borchers (caution; Tactical Foul) 26
HOU — Mike Chabala (caution; Tactical Foul) 33
HOU — Bobby Boswell (caution; Tactical Foul) 77
Referee: Alex Prus
Referee’s Assistants: Peter Balciunas; Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Paul Ward
Attendance: 12,945 / Weather: Cloudy-and-58-degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial