Major League Soccer

Dynamo-Real Salt Lake Preview

Real Salt Lake forward Rubio Rubin insists that only a lack of "killer mentality" is preventing Real Salt Lake from being among MLS' top sides.

The Claret and Cobalt were denied what would have been an impressive point at league leaders Seattle Sounders in midweek through Raul Ruidiaz's 88th-minute penalty.

That leaves RSL with one win in their last six games, half of those finishing all square, ahead of Saturday's clash against the Houston Dynamo.

Late drama has often been involved in Real Salt Lake matches this term, and Rubin accepts it is down to him and his team-mates to see out matches late on.

"As a team we understand it's been more than a few games now that we've given up goals late," he said. "We just have to find ways to get the result.

"Ultimately that's what makes a very good team great. I think we are a good team. We have to figure out ways to kill the game and be smart, especially in these moments.

"It happened again against Seattle and we have to work on it. At the same time we need to have a killer mentality to be able to kill a game. We've got to figure it out as a team."

Despite a lack of victories of late, Freddy Juarez's side are seventh in the Western Conference, one point and one place behind next opponents Houston.

The Dynamo were also undone by a late goal in their midweek match with the Portland Timbers, conceding to Jeremy Ebobisse's 91st-minute header as they let slip a two-goal lead in the second half.

"It was a tale of two halves," head coach Tab Ramos said on the back of the 2-2 draw, which leaves his side winless in three. "We had a very good first half and a very poor second half."

Saturday's meeting will be the first between RSL and the Dynamo since 2019.

Real Salt Lake - Bobby Wood

United States international Wood was introduced from the bench for his MLS debut against the Sounders, two-and-a-half months after joining from Hamburger SV. He is working to regain his fitness as quick as possible and this match, though likely too soon for his first start, will provide the forward with another chance to show what a big coup he is for RSL.

Houston Dynamo - Memo Rodriguez

Fabrice-Jean Picault and Tyler Pasher were on target for the Dynamo in their entertaining draw with the Timbers, each scoring for the second time this season. Picault received his fifth booking of the campaign and will therefore serve a suspension, however, so Rodriguez will likely slot back into the forward line after being left out for the first time this season last time out.

- Real Salt Lake are unbeaten in their last five matches against Houston (W3 D2). Over the last 10 meetings between the teams, each club has scored exactly 13 goals.

- Since the beginning of last season, RSL have won five of their 15 home matches (D5 L5). Among teams that have been in the league since the beginning of last season, only Cincinnati (one) and Miami (four) have fewer home wins than Real Salt Lake.

- Houston have scored in all 10 of their matches this season. The 10 consecutive matches with a goal ties a club-record for most consecutive games with a goal in a single season, having also done so between April and June 2009.

- Albert Rusnak's penalty was the lone goal for Real Salt Lake in their 2-1 loss to Seattle. Rusnak's last three goals have come from the penalty spot and only three players have more regular-season penalty goals since the beginning of the 2018 season than Rusnak's 10 (Josef Martinez, Carlos Vela, and Nicolas Lodeiro).

- Picault has two goals and three assists this season while Pasher has two assists and two goals. Rodriguez also has two goals and two assists, making Houston the only MLS team with three or more players with multiple goals and multiple assists in 2021.

Updated June 25, 2021

@STATS_Football