Real Salt Lake 1 at Houston Dynamo 1
March 2, 2019; BBVA Compass Stadium
Real Salt Lake (0-0-1, 1 point); Houston Dynamo (0-0-1, 1 point)
Man of the Match: Albert Rusnák got RSL out to a first-half lead with his first goal of the season, but was the catalyst to Real Salt Lake’s attack throughout the match. In addition to finishing with a game-high four shots, he also put two shots on goal and had five chances created – both of which led both teams in the match. It was a great start to the season for Rusnák as he raises his profile in the league.
Telling Stat: Houston has a dynamic attack with Mauro Manotas flanked by Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis. The trio led the Dynamo to the fourth-most shots on goal in the Western Conference in 2018. However, RSL’s defense limited Houston to just one shot on goal in the match on Saturday. With the focus on improving road form, RSL got off on the right track in the opener.
What You Missed: Stalwart defender Justen Glad was out of action on Saturday after breaking his toe in training on Thursday before the team departed for Texas. Glad, who turned 22 years old on Thursday, started in 33 of RSL’s 34 regular season matches in 2018, including 50 consecutive matches, dating back to 2017.
So What: As mentioned, one of the focuses of preseason was adjusting certain tactics in road matches. After RSL posted a 3-11-3 road record in 2018, Head Coach Mike Petke put an emphasis on defensive discipline and it showed on Saturday. It was just one match and there are 16 road matches left to play, but there is reason to be optimistic after Game One.