Real Salt Lake 0, Houston Dynamo 1 | 2016 MLS Match Recap
Real Salt Lake are undefeated at home no longer.
The Houston Dynamo handed RSL their first loss at Rio Tinto Stadium this season by using a first-half Alex goal to pick up a 1-0 win on Saturday night. Salt Lake had numerous chances to pull level in the Western Conference affair, but were largely off the mark as they put just one of their 15 shots on frame.
The game's decisive play came in the 36th minute. Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark stripped John Stertzer of the ball in RSL's half and played a pass to Alex, who raced forward before smashing a shot past Nick Rimando and into the top right corner of the net.
Real Salt Lake tried to find an equalizer, but their lack of accuracy in the final third doomed them to their first home loss in 15 matches in 2016. Houston improved to 6-11-11 on the year, but are still last in the West. RSL dropped to 12-10-8 and remains in fourth.
- FINAL THIRD TROUBLES: Real Salt Lake had chances to avoid their first home loss of the year: 15, to be exact. Yet only one was on goal, as RSL's players repeatedly failed to test Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis. Shots went wide, over the crossbar, and everywhere but the back of the net, leaving Salt Lake with no goals and a frustrating defeat. It was clear that playmaker Javier Morales was sorely missed.
- BIG MISTAKE: As poor as RSL were in front of goal, they might have been able to pull out a result if not for a costly turnover. Jamison Olave played an ill-advised pass to John Stertzer when the Dynamo were pressing up the field in the 36th minute, and the midfielder was quickly swarmed and dispossessed of the ball. Stertzer didn't help himself by becoming frantic and taking too many touches under the pressure, and it allowed Alex to bury the winner.
- IN-FORM BRAZILIAN: Speaking of that winner, it gave Alex three consecutive games with a goal. The veteran Brazilian certainly did not have his best performance on Saturday, as he was substituted in the 57th minute, but it was another effective one.