Real Salt Lake-Dynamo Preview


Real Salt Lake appeared headed for its first defeat before pulling out a thrilling win last weekend.

The club has never picked up three points in Houston.

Looking to stay unbeaten, Real Salt Lake tries to avoid a ninth loss in 10 all-time road matchups against the Dynamo on Sunday night.

While it didn't look good for RSL after falling behind 2-0 at Chicago last Saturday, the club stormed back in remarkable fashion to win 3-2. Joao Plata got RSL on the board in the 72nd minute, then followed Alvaro Saborio's tying goal one second into stoppage time with the game-winner three minutes later.

"This team has unbelievable character. It's a credit to them. They knew that they had it in them, and you could just see with that first goal, all we needed was that goal to get it going and build the confidence," coach Jeff Cassar said. "After they got the second one, they were like, 'we might win this game.' It's unbelievable how they want to continue to push and go for wins on the road. It's fantastic."

At 4-0-5, RSL is three matches shy of tying the longest unbeaten start to a season in MLS history. RSL's 13-game unbeaten streak (7-0-6) dating to last year is the second-longest in team history.

"Right now, we are feeling good. We still have a lot to improve on and to work on where we want to be," goalkeeper Nick Rimando said. "Each game we are trying to get better and I just felt today was another step in the right direction. Playing down and then coming back and getting three points on the road…whenever you get three points on the road, it's huge for the confidence. We got another big step next week against Houston."

While RSL beat the Dynamo 1-0 at home in last season's only showdown, it's yielded 22 goals in going 0-8-1 all-time in Houston.

"It's a hard place to play, but I think our guys are feeling really good about the way we're playing," Cassar said. "We're going to have to come out and not just match their intensity, but see if we can beat their intensity and not let them have any mental break. ... They're a very dangerous team."

The Dynamo (4-4-2) are seeking a third straight victory after winning 4-1 at Chivas USA last Saturday and 1-0 over Columbus on Wednesday. Will Bruin scored for the third time in as many games while Tally Hall posted his fourth shutout.

"It's always good to get three points at home while we're coming off a good victory as well. There is a lot of confidence around the squad at the moment and we have got to keep the train rolling," forward Giles Barnes told the league's official website. "Everyone is pulling for each other and we're pulling the same direction."

Bruin has scored six of Houston's 13 goals.

"Will has been big for us," coach Dominic Kinnear said. "What he does off the ball, the way he works, the way he battles, the way he fights ... a box score or a stat sheet is never going to show that, and that's why he's been a key player for us because he's had that mentality since day one."

With RSL stars Saborio, Rimando and Kyle Beckerman expected to be named to their respective national teams, Sunday could mark the trio's last match together for a while.

"They're going to want to leave on a high note because they're such team players," Cassar said. "And I think it will set the tone for the time when they're away."