The Houston Dynamo head to the fortress of Rio Tinto Stadium to take on Real Salt Lake tonight on Fox Soccer Channel’s Soccer Night in America. After a 6 game unbeaten streak the Dynamo have lost their last two and will look to get back on the right track against one of the league’s best teams. Salt Lake has played six league matches and won five of them. They also finished as runners up in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Both Houston and RSL face injuries heading into this match. Real will be without midfield maestro Javier Morales after he suffered a nasty injury in last week’s win against Chivas USA. Forward Paulo Jr. is questionable with a hamstring injury. The Dynamo again will be without winger Danny Cruz and captain Brian Ching is back on the shelf with a foot injury now hampering the big Hawaiian. Houston rookie defender Kofi Sarkodie and Real Salt Lake’s Luis Gill and Danny Toia will be unavailable for the game because they have been called up to the U-20 U.S. national team.
In order for Houston to break the MLS record unbeaten home streak of RSL, 28 games, they will have to be solid in the middle of the field and get goals on the counter. The offense will go as MLS April player of the month Brad Davis goes. If Davis can pick out Will Bruin and Koke up front and control the wing the Dynamo can be successful. Koke got his first start last week in Toronto and he is slowly getting into the flow with the team. Another new signing Je-Vaughn Watson has started the last two games and could start opposite Davis on the other wing.
The Dynamo defense of Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe, Hunter Freeman, and Bobby Boswell has been solid and will have to be on top of their game to keep RSL off the score sheet. Goalkeeper Tally Hall has played well this year but makes the occasional slip up. This can’t happen if Houston is to steal a result in Utah.
If the defense can play well and control the middle of the field I like Houston to possibly get out of Rio Tinto with a 1-1 draw.
(image courtesy of Nigel Brooks)