Real Salt Lake wasted no time going on the attack. In the 2nd minute, Findley received an excellent chip over the defense from Saborio and found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Pat Onstad. Findley took the shot, but the onrushing Onstad made an outstanding save to deny Findley his first goal of the year.
But just a minute later Findley wouldn’t be denied. Kyle Beckerman received the ball on the left side of the penalty area and lofted a soft left-footed chip toward the near post where Findley had shed his man. Findley rose up and headed the ball past the helpless Onstad to give RSL a very early 1-0 lead.
RSL kept up the pressure, and in the 7th minute they nearly capitalized again. Javier Morales crossed a ball from the left wing towards Findley, who came up just short with a diving header. Onstad punched the ball away right to Andy Williams. Williams cracked a hard volley, but Onstad made a great save and parried the ball away. Beckerman shot it with his first touch, but Craig Waibel slid in to deflect Beckerman’s shot away.
Houston didn’t get their first chance of the game until the 21st minute. The Dynamo combined well up the left side of the pitch and found Brad Davis in the left corner. Davis put a good cross into the middle where an unmarked Dominic Oduro at the top of the six-yard box. Oduro got his head on it, but poked it right to Nick Rimando.
But Real weren’t fazed, and just three minutes later they doubled their advantage. Some nice work on the right wing resulted in Morales getting a good look from the top of the 18 yard box. His shot was knocked down by Adrian Serioux, but Saborio hit the rebound first-time. His low, hard shot squeezed between Serioux and Bobby Boswell and snuck into the goal right between Onstad and the near post.
Serioux nearly atoned for his poor first half in the 41st minute. Davis whipped a nice corner kick into the far post that Serioux got his head on, but he pushed his header just over the crossbar.
Houston came out more aggressively, but they continue to be undone by simple technical mistakes. Several promising opportunities were ruined by poor touches and careless passes. Throughout most of the match, it was Salt Lake who were more technically sharp, and it showed in the scoreline.
Real’s technical proficiency continued to shine through, and it netted them another goal in the 60th minute. Morales swung a curling free kick from the left side toward the near post. Saborio made a diagonal run from the far corner of the penalty box, lost his man, and just got enough touch on the ball with his head to slide it past Onstad.
Brian Ching made his first appearance in over a month, coming on as a substitute in the 62nd minute. Ching had missed six weeks with a hamstring injury.
Houston pulled a goal back in the 72nd minute thanks to some good passing and a great individual effort from Mullan. Mullan took a pass across the top of the penalty area and cut it back to the inside. He skinned Robbie Russell who slipped and fell on the play, then shot a low, hard ball to the far post that Rimando was helpless to save. His goal cut the Dynamo’s deficit to 3-1.
Saborio nearly earned himself a hat trick as he banged a 30-yard shot off the post in the 78th minute. He was subbed off a few seconds later.
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