SANDY, Utah (Saturday, May 28, 2022) – Real Salt Lake (7-3-4, 25 points) vanquished Houston Dynamo FC 3-0 to remain undefeated at home in 2022, matching the Club’s best-ever start to a season at Rio Tinto Stadium with a 5-0-1 (W-L-T) mark.
With a Club-record sixth consecutive sellout crowd to start the 2022 season, Real Salt Lake sought to continue its home dominance, capturing 13 of a possible 15 points entering the match against Houston. The two sides battled back-and-forth for much of the first half, with neither side having a clear opportunity at goal. Until the 29th minute, when veteran leader Justin Meram found Wood unmarked in the middle of attacking third. Wood turned and found Maikel Chang on the right wing before sprinting towards goal. Chang crossed the ball far post, where Wood was able to rise over teammate Sergio Cordova and head the ball down and redirected the ball with his leg into the bottom-left corner of the goal to take the 1-0 lead.
Wood nearly netted his second of the half, once again with a give-and-go from Chang - who has provided a goal and three assists in his last three games- but his shot landed squarely on the chest of Houston’s diving goalkeeper. In the final minute of the first half, Cordova nearly sent the crowd into histrionics when his bicycle-kick shot skipped just inches wide of the goal. The first half ended moments later with RSL holding the 1-0 advantage heading into the halftime break.
Real Salt Lake picked up right where it left off, with another shot from Cordova just missing the right post in the 47th minute. In the 51st minute, Houston nearly broke through when Thor Ulfarsson headed a pass that appeared to be the equalizer, but a diving save from MacMath pushed the ball out for a clearance. Just six minutes later, Cordova found the back of the net for his second goal in as many games, when he willed his shot into the back of the net, following through on several rebounds. The ball pinged off the post and across the line, finally trickling into the back of the net to double the RSL lead.
With the 2-0 lead currently in hand, newly arrived Designated Player Jefferson Savarino made his triumphant return to the Rio Tinto Stadium pitch for the first time since October 2019, coming on as a 70th-minute substitute for Chang. Houston pressed RSL’s backline, looking to claw back into the match, but several impressive saves from MacMath kept the visitors at bay.
In the second minute of stoppage time, Glad finished off the night, netting the third goal of the match and his third of the season. Glad headed in a free-kick cross from Meram to help RSL remain undefeated at home with the 3-0 win over Houston Dynamo. Interestingly, Glad and Cordova have each scored all three of their goals in the same three matches (March 12 at NE, May 22 at Montreal, May 28 v. Houston) all victories for RSL.
UP NEXT: Real Salt Lake will cross the border again for a matchup against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday, June 4, with kickoff at 5:00 p.m. MT. RSL’s last trip up North resulted in its first-ever win in Montreal and just the fifth-ever victory on Canadian soil in Club history. The Claret-and-Cobalt will return to the RioT on Saturday, June 18, when the team hosts San Jose Earthquakes at 7:30 p.m. MT. Tickets are available for purchase at rsl.com/tickets.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
RSL: Bobby Wood (Maikel Chang) 29th minute: Winning a ball in the midfield, Wood sent a pass outside to Chang, who cut down towards goal before sending a cross in towards the middle of the box. Having sprinted into the box, Wood rose up and headed Chang’s cross down to his feet, tucking the ball into the bottom-left corner.
RSL: Sergio Cordova 57th minute: After his initial shot was blocked, Cordova found himself with the ball in the middle of the box, his follow-up shot pinged across the face of goal before finally tricking over the line and into the back of the net.
RSL: Justen Glad (Justin Meram) 90+2nd minute: After being awarded a free kick from deep outside the 18-yard-box, Meram serviced in a cross towards the back post. Glad was able to rise up and head in the cross for the third and final goal of the match.
- Zack Farnsworth (right ankle), Bret Halsey (ankle), Erik Holt (left foot), Jonathan Menendez (adductor), Anderson Julio (hamstring) and Damir Kreilach (back) were unavailable due to injury.
- Designated Player Jefferson Savarino made his Real Salt Lake debut, coming on as a second-half substitute for Justin Meram in the 87th minute, becoming the 26th player to feature for the Club this season.
- Real Salt Lake fans set a new Club record with its sixth consecutive sell out at Rio Tinto Stadium to open the season.
- With tonight’s win, RSL improves to 5-0-1 at home this season, matching the Club’s best-ever RioT starts (2010, 2016)
- RSL’s 25 points amassed during its first 14 games this year matches the fastest Club start to 25 points (14 games, 2014)
- Tonight’s 3-0 victory extends RSL’s unbeaten run over Houston to 10 games (5-0-5), dating back to 2017. The 10-game unbeaten run matches the Club’s longest unbeaten streaks against a single opponent; Philadelphia (2010-17) and Portland (2011-14, incl. playoffs)
- Tonight’s win was RSL’s 10th at home against visiting Houston in 18 games (10-2-6), the sixth visitor against whom RSL owns 10 or more MLS reg. season wins (COL – 16; DAL – 12; SEA – 11; LAG – 10; and KC – 10)
- Tonight’s win improves RSL’s all-time MLS reg. season record to 212-211-137, the first time RSL has been +.500 since 2019
Match: Real Salt Lake vs Houston Dynamo
Date: May 28, 2022
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah
Weather: Sunny, Clear and 70 degrees
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 2 3
Houston Dynamo 0 0 0
RSL: Bobby Wood (Maikel Chang) 29’
RSL: Sergio Cordova 57’
RSL: Justen Glad (Justin Meram) 90+2’
Real Salt Lake (4-4-2): Zac MacMath; Aaron Herrera, Justen Glad, Marcelo Silva, Andrew Brody; Pablo Ruiz (Nick Besler 89’), Maikel Chang (Jefferson Savarino 70’), Jasper Löffelsend (Scott Caldwell 70’), Justin Meram, Bobby Wood, Sergio Cordova (Rubio Rubin 76’)
Subs not used: Tomas Gomez, Johan Kappelhof, Tate Schmitt, Chris Kablan, Everton Luiz
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Michael Nelson; Adam Lundkvist, Tim Parker, Tennage Hadebe, Zeca; Memo Rodriguez, Adalberto Carrasquilla, Matia Vera (Darwin Ceren 67’); Corey Baird (Darwin Quintero 46’), Roberto Avila (Tyler Pasher, 46’), Thor Ulfarsson (Fafa Picault 68’)
Subs not used: Daniel Steres, Ethan Bartlow, Griffin Dorsey, Sam Junqua, Xavier Valdez
Stats Summary: RSL / HOU
Shots: 15 / 13
Shots on Goal: 6 / 4
Saves: 4 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 4
Fouls: 11 / 9
MISCONDUCT SUMMARY:HOU: Beto Avila (caution) 15’
HOU: Adalberto Carrasquilla (caution) 25’
Referee: Armando Villarreal
Assistant Referees: Corey Rockwell, Kail Smith
4th Official: Calin Radosav
VAR: Tim Ford