HOUSTON (Thursday, April 1, 2010) – Real Salt Lake (1-1-0, 3 pts.) rode an early goal by reigning MLS Player of the Week Javier Morales for the second consecutive game of the young 2010 season to take a 1-0 lead on the road, but a pair of hotly-contested penalty kick calls in the 53rd and 56th minutes gave host Houston Dynamo (1-0-1, 4 pts.) a 2-1 victory Thursday night at Robertson Stadium on the University of Houston campus.
The early strike by Morales was the result of a complete team effort, with MLS newcomer Ávaro Saborío helping unlock the Dynamo defense for his first appearance on an MLS scoresheet. Nearly 40 yards from goal, Saborío – starting in place of 2009 RSL Golden Boot winner Robbie Findley in Head Coach Jason Kreis’ lone lineup change from last week’s 3-0 win at San Jose – collected a pass from Morales, held the ball as RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman made an overlapping run. Saborío slotted the ball to Beckerman, who then found Morales in alone on Houston DF Bobby Boswell. Morales eluded Boswell before slotting a right-footed shot past Dynamo ‘keeper Pat Onstad for a 17th minute goal, the Argentine’s third in the first two games of 2010.
Both Houston goals came on Brad Davis penalty kicks in the 53rd and 56th minutes, with Davis’ conversions from the spot the only two Dynamo shots on goal on the night. Referee Jair Marrufo – infamous for last year’s “water break” at Robertson Stadium in a June game between these very teams – whistled Real Salt Lake DF Jamison Olave for fouls on Houston’s Geoff Cameron and Luis Angel Landin on back-to-back plays. Davis slammed each offering past 2009 MLS Cup Playoff penalty-kick hero Nick Rimando, who was not required to make a save during the run of play.
RSL again dictated the game’s tempo the rest of the way, with headers in the box by Will Johnson and Ned Grabavoy snuffed out by Onstad. In the 71st minute, Fabián Espíndola and Findley combined to create a phenomenal chance on the right edge of the box, with Espíndola’s offering from a sharp angle 15 yards out beating Onstad but caroming off the near post.
For a complete recap of tonight’s contest, click on the link to the MLSsoccer.com recap below:
To view highlights from tonight’s contest, visit:
RSL Match Notes
- Morales’ goal – his third of the 2010 campaign – placed him in the lead of the MLS Golden Boot race ever so briefly, as he was later tied by Los Angeles FW Edson Buddle, who tallied twice in the Galaxy’s 2-0 win vs. Chivas tonight after scoring in LA’s 1-0 win over New England last Saturday.
- Tonight’s 1-2 loss dropped RSL to 0-6-1 all-time at Robertson Stadium in Houston, with all six losses coming by one goal. Despite the winless mark, Real Salt Lake has still never been shut out in its seven visits to Houston.
- The loss also snapped RSL’s four-game undefeated road streak (2-0-2), started in last year’s Playoffs at Columbus and carrying through last week’s win at San Jose.
- FW Álvaro Saborío recorded his first MLS assist and his first MLS start tonight at Houston, after the Costa Rican international had scored 133 goals in 257 games across his club career with Saprissa (Costa Rica, 2001-06), FC Sion (Switzerland, 2006-09) and Bristol City (England, 2009-10)
- MF Nelson González also made his MLS debut, playing the final 15 minutes after coming on for Will Johnson … González joined RSL last July during the summer window from Quilmes (Argentina)
Dynamo (1-0-1) vs. Real Salt Lake (1-1-0)
Thursday, April 1, 2010 – Robertson Stadium
RSL – Javier Morales 3 (Kyle Beckerman 1, Álvaro Saborío 1) 17
HOU – Brad Davis 1 (penalty kick) 53
HOU – Brad Davis 2 (penalty kick) 56
Houston Dynamo – GK-Pat Onstad; DF-Andrew Hainault, DF-Bobby Boswell, DF-Ryan Cochrane, DF-Mike Chabala; MF-Brian Mullan (Corey Ashe 69), MF-Geoff Cameron, MF-Richard Mulrooney, MF-Brad Davis (Lovel Palmer 89); FW-Brian Ching (Luis Angel Landin 30), FW-Dominic Oduro
Substitutes Not Used: Tally Hall, Adrian Serioux, Cam Weaver, Danny Cruz
Real Salt Lake – GK-Nick Rimando; DF-Robbie Russell, DF-Nat Borchers, DF-Jamison Olave, DF-Chris Wingert; MF-Ned Grabavoy (Andy Williams 68), MF-Kyle Beckerman (Capt.), MF-Javier Morales, MF-Will Johnson (Nelson González 75); FW-Álvaro Saborío (Robbie Findley 60), FW-Fabián Espíndola
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish, Jean Alexandre, Tony Beltran, Rauwshan McKenzie
RSL -- Chris Wingert (caution; Reckless Foul) 46+
RSL -- Jamison Olave (caution; Reckless Foul) 54
RSL -- Fabián Espíndola (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 94+
HOU -- Bobby Boswell (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 94+
Referee's Assistants: C.J. Morgante; Jeff Muschik
4th official: Elias Bazakos
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial