Real Salt Lake look to bounce back quickly vs. Dynamo

Real Salt Lake will try to rebound after seeing their 15-match unbeaten run come to an end when they face an improving Houston Dynamo side in Sandy, Utah, on Wednesday night.

Salt Lake (10-3-7, 37 points) suffered a 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy back on June 22 due to Gabriel Pec’s 74th-minute goal. That setback, followed by a bye over the weekend, has caused RSL to lose their grip on the top spot in the Western Conference.

And although Salt Lake manager Pablo Mastroeni said the fatigue of a long season may have played a role in his team’s latest loss, he didn’t believe the performance was a letdown.

“I think … we just weren’t sharp with the ball, in particular in that final third,” Mastroeni said. “It felt like a game where the team that made a play would get the result and they made a play. But it wasn’t for a lack of desire, or a lack of effort.”

MLS leading scorer Cristian Arango had to leave the match early after a frightening collision with Galaxy defender Martin Caceres that left both players in need of stitches.

Arango’s status for Wednesday’s match is still up in the air.

Houston (8-6-6, 30 points) is unbeaten in its past six matches and has recorded back-to-back wins after a 1-0 home victory against Charlotte FC on Saturday night.

Ibrahim Aliyu scored his fifth goal of the campaign in the fifth minute and goalkeeper Steve Clark made late saves on shots from Liel Abada and Iuri Tavares to preserve a shutout that took the Dynamo up to the No. 6 spot in the West.

“Guys made the right plays (Saturday) on the defensive end,” Houston manager Ben Olsen said. “Rode our luck once or twice. Steve made a great save. But overall, really pleased at winning a home game.”

The Dynamo are waiting for the secondary transfer window to open on July 18 so that they can add striker Ezequiel Ponce to the roster. Midfielder Adalberto Carrasquilla remains at Copa America with the Panama national team.

–Field Level Media