Real Salt Lake Dominate Dynamo In Savarino Return
SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake welcomed Houston Dynamo to Rio Tinto Stadium on a beautiful evening that saw Real Salt Lake pick up all three points as Jefferson Savarino returned.
Real Salt Lake’s 2-0 victory against Houston puts them in the third position in the West, tied on points with second-placed FC Dallas, and just four points behind conference leaders LAFC.
The victory also ties the best home start to Real Salt Lake history. They have won five of their six games at Rio Tinto Stadium to start the 2022 season. The only game in which they dropped points at home was when they drew 2-2 with Toronto in what Mastroeni later described as one of their most impressive performances of the year given the way the team played.
There was no change to the starting XI from a week ago when Real Salt Lake triumphantly defeated FC Montreal on the road.
The contest began with Real Salt Lake dominating the time of possession but neither club could generate any fluid attacking opportunity. That all changed a quarter of an hour into the fixture when Real Salt Lake began turning their time on the ball into goal-scoring opportunities.
Bobby Wood notched his third goal of the season in the 28th minute. Wood found a pocket of space 40 yards out from goal, fed the ball out to Maikel Chang who played a wonderful cross towards the back post which Wood was able to get on the end of.
Moments later, Justen Glad and Chang both had opportunities to double the lead but failed to connect.
Real Salt Lake was finding a lot of success through the air. Justin Meram, Andrew Brody, Aaron Herrera, and Chang dominated the flanks and Houston had no answer for the aerial threat that Wood and Sergio Córdova possessed.
The opening half ended in a scuffle. As the head referee blew his whistle, Dynamo center back Tim Parker put his elbow into the back of Córdova sparking anger from the Real Salt Lake players. Fortunately, no cards were shown and both sides entered the tunnel in an appropriate manner.
Real Salt Lake flew out of the halftime interval with their hair on fire as Córdova came within inches of doubling the lead seconds into the half.
Houston settles and began peppering the MacMath goal themselves, forcing Real Salt Lake to drop deeper. But as Houston began to look dangerous, Real Salt Lake countered with a devastating blow to the hopes of their traveling opposition.
Córdova Doubles The Lead
Córdova was picked out by a Jasper Löffelsend cross which he calmly controlled before trickling the ball into the back of the net, but not before Dynamo goalkeeper Michael Nelson was able to get a glove on the shot. Nelson agonizingly watched the ball slowly roll over the line and into the back of the net for the game’s second goal.
As the second half went by, the RSL faithful began to pick up voices as chants of “Savarino” echoed throughout the stadium. Fortunately, the fans got their wish in the 70th minute when the Venezualan international entered the pitch replacing Chang. As he entered, the entire stadium grew to their feet in applause.
The icing was put on the cake in the 92nd minute when Meram played a ball to the back post from a free-kick that found the diving head of Justin Meram who also managed to join Córdova and bag goals in consecutive matches.
It was an emphatic performance from Real Salt Lake who dominated the fixture from start to finish.
Real Salt Lake will travel to Vancouver next Saturday, June 4, with kickoff scheduled for 5 p.m.
As always, the fixture will be available to stream for free via the KSL Sports and KSL 5 TV app or on KSL Sports dot com.
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