Real Salt Lake vs Houston Dynamo
RSL Hope Open Cup Semifinal Triumph Propels Club In League
RSL beat Portland Timbers 2-1 in a US Open Cup semifinal. MLS Disciplinary Committee, which on Friday fined and suspended midfielder Alvarez three matches for a "reckless challenge that injured New York Red Bulls Designated Player Tim Cahill".
Houston signed 21-year-old Honduran international Alex Lopez.
Real Salt Lake
Suspended: Alvarez (three matches)
Doubtful: Salcedo (gall bladder removal)
Injured/Unavailable: Balchan (shoulder), Schuler (foot), Saunders (knee), Stertzer (shoulder), Watson-Siriboe (knee)
Doubtful: Arena (ankle), Ching (adductor), Cummings (adductor)
Injured/Unavailable: Carr (knee), Driver (Achilles)
Real Salt Lake will once again play for a title. The club downed Portland Timbers by 2-1 in an emotional US Open Cup semifinal and will need that elation from the victory to hold up. RSL have often times not dealt well with midseason tournaments and how they affect the club in league play. RSL must first put the result behind themselves and focus on Houston, a club they normally would face little resistance in beating.
Houston meanwhile will be well-prepared for the match. Manager Dominic Kinnear is aware of RSL’s ability to lose focus on league play and will likely look for an early goal to help sway the momentum in his team’s favor. Houston have been scoring goals at a strong rate recently, having beaten Columbus by 3-1. Now the club have six goals in three matches but more importantly three wins and a draw from their last four.
RSL will still be feeling the emotions from Wednesday but not in a good way.
Houston will win the match. My recommendation for this match is “HHAD away win” for Houston.
HEAD TO HEAD
Houston have two wins and a draw in their last three meetings against RSL, including a win a year ago in Houston.