Real Salt Lake is back at Rio Tinto Stadium this Wednesday to face the Houston Dynamo, here’s what you need to know:
1. Real Salt Lake is coming off an important western conference road win in Seattle. It was RSL’s first road win and road shutout of 2018 as Sebastian “Bofo” Saucedo started his second match of the season and scored his first career MLS goal, earning a goal of the week nomination (you should definitely go vote for him…)
The only thing better than netting your first MLS career goal is by having it named goal of the week!
— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) May 29, 2018
Sunny earned his first start of the season on Saturday, and Danilo Acosta started for the first time since facing Colorado on April 21st when he was subbed off at the half for Pablo Ruiz. Acosta’s performance against the Sounders earned him a spot on the MLS Team of the Week.
Head coach Mike Petke discussed why changes to the lineup were made:
2. The match against Houston is RSL’s second in an eight-day period, with another short turn around ahead of Seattle’s visit to Rio Tinto Stadium this Saturday. RSL has won four consecutive matches at home since their 5-1 loss to LAFC in the home opener, outscoring opponents 9-3 at Rio Tinto Stadium since March 10th. The last time these two teams met at Rio Tinto they played to a scoreless draw, but RSL leads the series at Rio Tinto with 6 wins, 5 draws, and 2 losses.
3. Albert Rusnak, who has 3 goals and 3 assists this season, is on international duty with the Slovakian National Team for the next two matches and the RSL coaching staff has no shortage of options to fill the role, but Petke says whoever fills in needs to play the position their way:
Tony Beltran (knee 10/17), Jordan Allen (knee 6/17), Shawn Barry (knee 3/10/18), Demar Phillips (ankle 4/7/18), Alex Horwath (achilles 4/18/18), and Luke Mulholland (back 4/3/18) remain out.
4. Though there are 3 teams between them in the standings (Vancouver, LA Galaxy, and Minnesota), RSL is just two points behind the Dynamo, but Houston has one game in hand. Real Salt Lake has a solid record against western conference opponents at 3-1-2, taking a point against Dallas and all three against Colorado, Vancouver, and Seattle. Houston has not been as strong against their western conference opponents at 1-3-1. RSL defender Justen Glad says every point against a western conference team is vital:
5. The Houston Dynamo are fresh off a big 3-1 win against NYCFC and sit in 5th place in the west at 5-3-3. The Dynamo have only one loss on the road this season with a record of 1-3-1, something that is pretty hard to accomplish in this league, even if you have one of the most potent offenses. Alberth Elis leads the Dynamo with a whopping 7 goals and 5 assists in eleven matches, followed by Mauro Manotas at 5 goals, Romell Quioto at 3 goals and 5 assists, and Tomas Martinez at 3 goals and 4 assists. Petke says balance is key against a team like Houston:
Our coverage of Real Salt Lake vs Houston Dynamo begins at 6:30 PM with Spencer Warne and Tom Hackett, kick-off is at 7:30 PM with Bill Riley and Jay Nolly.
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