HOUSTON (Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012) – Real Salt Lake (14-11-4, 46 points, West #2) suffered a heartbreaking loss on Thursday night, conceding a 93rd-minute penalty kick to fall 0-1 at the Houston Dynamo (12-7-9, 45 points, East #3). The result – which ended the Claret-and-Cobalt’s three-game unbeaten run and a 360-minute shutout streak – extended RSL’s miserable run in Texas, dropping the team’s all-time record in the Lone Star State to 0-18-3 across all competitions, including 0-8-1 in Houston.
Thursday’s game was the second-straight RSL at Houston match which saw the Dynamo score a 93rd-minute winner.
Both teams were missing four regulars on Thursday due to international call ups and suspension. RSL captain Kyle Beckerman (U.S.), leading scorer Alvaro Saborio (Costa Rica) and MF Will Johnson (Canada) all missed the game while with their respective national teams and DF Chris Wingert was out due to a yellow card accumulation suspension.
DF Chris Schuler started for the suspended Wingert. It was Schuler’s first appearance since he exacerbated a potential stress fracture bone response in his left foot following the May 12 game at Seattle; the only other MLS regular-season game in which Schuler – regularly a center back – lined up on the outside for RSL.
Houston was without Designated Player Boniek Garcia (Honduras), MF Je-Vaughn Watson (Jamaica), DF Jermaine Taylor (Jamaica) and DF Andre Hainault (Canada) due to international duty.
The game was measured in the first half. Real Salt Lake had the better of play, controlling most of the possession against a Houston side that seemed content to sit back and let RSL hold the ball, resulting in a 65-35 possession advantage for the Utah side.
The Claret-and-Cobalt had the only real chance of the opening frame in the 11th minute. MF Javier Morales and FW Paulo Jr. started the play, combining well in the middle third before releasing wide open FW Fabían Espíndola down the left wing. Espíndola carried the ball into the box for a 1-v-1 with Houston GK Tally Hall but couldn’t take advantage, hitting a shot right at the Dynamo ‘keeper.
Real Salt Lake made one change at the break, inserting first-year Argentine FW Emiliano Bonfigli on for Paulo Jr. The first 30 minutes of the second half were very quiet, with neither side able to create more than a half-chance.
Things finally took off in the 75th minute, when referee Ismail Elfath whistled Schuler for a controversial foul in the box on Dynamo FW Will Bruin to give Houston a suspect penalty kick. Dynamo MF Brad Davis stepped to the spot, but he was no match for RSL GK Nick Rimando, who guessed correctly and stoned Davis’ shot to the right post.
RSL followed up Rimando’s heroic save with a golden chance in the 79th. DF Nat Borchers had the opportunity, getting on the end of a Morales corner at the penalty spot and snapping a header toward the far post. The ball looked ticketed for the back of the net, but Hall came up with a big save, nimbly diving to his left to make the stop.
Never one to be outdone, Rimando came up with another huge save in the 82nd minute, using his cat-like reflexes to stop a free header from Bruin from the right side of the six-yard-box.
Unfortunately for RSL, Hall matched Rimando’s 82nd minute stop with another fantastic save in the 89th minute. Claret-and-Cobalt MF Ned Grabavoy had the look, running onto a through ball at the arc for a 1-v-1 with Hall. The crafty MF took a touch and looked to round Hall, but the Dynamo ‘keeper was too big, going to ground and using his long frame to deflect the shot wide of the right post.
It looked like Grabavoy’s chance would take the teams to the final whistle, but things took a turn for the worse for RSL in the third and final minute of stoppage time. Rimando – who had been so huge to this point in the match – came out to collect a long ball in to the box, but smashed into Houston FW Mac Kandji on his way out, giving Elfath no choice but to give Houston a second PK. This time MF Colin Clark stepped to the spot, drilling his kick right down the middle to give the Dynamo all three points.
RSL will have to wait a while to get out the bad feeling from Thursday’s result, not playing again until Tuesday, Sept. 18, when they’ll take on Panamanian side Tauro FC on the road in CONCACAF Champions League action in a must-win contest.
Real Salt Lake Match Notes – HOU 1 : 0 RSL
- With Thursday’s loss, RSL fell to 0-8-1 all-time when playing in Houston and 0-18-3 all-time across all competitions when playing in Texas.
- By saving one of two PK’s on Thursday, RSL GK Nick Rimando moved his penalty record to 17 for 57 all-time in the MLS regular season, the most successful penalty kick record in MLS history (numbers courtesy Peter Hirdt at Elias Sports Bureau).
- RSL DF Chris Schuler went the full 90 minutes on Thursday, his first game action of any kind since coming on and playing left back for an injured Chris Wingert in RSL’s 1-0 win at Seattle on May 12. Schuler had been out injured for nearly four months avoiding a potential stress fracture in his left foot.
- DF Jamison Olave returned to the game-day roster on Thursday, his first appearance in the 18 since suffering a hamstring injury in 59 minutes into RSL’s 0-1 CONCACAF Champions League loss at Costa Rican club C.S. Herediano on July 31.
- RSL FW Fabian Espindola returned to the first XI on Thursday, playing 83 minutes in his first start since Aug. 18.
- FW Emiliano Bonfigli came on as a substitute at halftime of Thursday’s game, his first appearance since coming off the bench on Aug. 4 at Colorado.
- RSL has five games – including three on the road – to attempt to secure its 15th win of the year and become just the second team in the post-shootout era of Major League Soccer to tally 15 wins in three consecutive seasons, joining the 2005-07 D.C. United sides.
- RSL also needs four road points in its remaining trips to Chivas USA (Sept. 29), Los Angeles (Oct. 6) and Seattle (Oct. 17) – all places RSL has won previously this season – to match the club-record 19 points secured away from home in both 2010 and 2011.
- Following the Sept.18 match in CONCACAF Champions League group play at Tauro FC in Panama, RSL hosts the Portland Timbers FC on Sat., Sept. 22 at Rio Tinto Stadium at 7:00 p.m. MT as the club seeks its fourth consecutive sellout and three points. RSL defeated Portland 3-0 courtesy of an Alvaro Saborio hat trick back on July 7 at home, and won 3-2 on March 31 in Oregon when captain Kyle Beckerman buried a 93rd minute game-winner.
REAL SALT LAKE 0-HOUSTON DYNAMO 1
THURSDAY, SEPT. 6, 2012
BBVA COMPASS STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 0 0
Houston Dynamo 0 1 1
Scoring Summary: HOU – Colin Clark (PK) – 93’
Misconduct Summary: HOU – Colin Clark (Foul) – 63’
HOU – Calen Carr (Foul) – 64’
RSL – Jonny Steele (Foul) – 84’
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2) – Nick Rimando; Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Tony Beltran; Yordany Alvarez; Ned Grabavoy, Jonny Steele; Javier Morales; Paulo Jr. (Emiliano Bonfigli, 46’), Fabian Espindola (Luis Gil, 83’)
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish (GK), Justin Braun, Jamison Olave, Sebastian Velasquez, Enzo Martinez
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3) – Tally Hall; Kofi Sarkodie, Ricardo Clark, Bobby Boswell (Cam Weaver, 74’), Corey Ashe; Brad Davis, Luiz Camargo, Colin Clark; Calen Carr, Will Bruin (Alex Dixon, 88’), Mac Kandji
Substitutes Not Used: Tyler Deric (GK), Josue Soto, Brian Ching
Referee: Ismail Elfath
4th Official: Jason Anno
Time of Game: 1:54
Weather: Humid, 99 degrees