A late goal for Real Salt Lake saw Houston Dynamo FC fall 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium tonight.
Real Salt Lake took an early lead, stealing possession near midfield in the sixth minute and quickly breaking out in a four-on-one counterattack. Forward Bobby Wood drew a Dynamo defender in before laying off to midfielder Justin Meram, who tucked his shot into the net.
Houston very nearly leveled in the 11th hour when forward Griffin Dorsey muscled his way around Real Salt Lake outside back Donny Toia and chipped a shot toward goal, but his effort trickled just wide of the far post from a tight angle.
Houston responded in the 39th minute with a cross from Picault to the heart of the six-yard box and found Ari Lassiter, but his header was off target and went over the crossbar.
Houston scored the equalizer 51st minute off a corner kick from midfielder Darwin Cerén. The midfielder found forward Fafa Picault for his fifth goal of the year. The five-foot-eight Picault outjumped every Real Salt Lake defender to get on the end of the corner from Cerén and drive his header into the turf and past RSL goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
Dynamo goalkeeper Marko Marić made a key save in the 80th minute when he denied midfielder Damir Kreilach at the near post. Maric came up with another massive save a minute later to deny midfielder Maikel Chang from a tight angle. Center back Teenage Hadebe recovered to back up his goalkeeper and was able to poke away the second ball, preventing a late Salt Lake goal.
The Dynamo had several dangerous chances over the final 30 minutes, but a goal from RSL forward Anderson Julio in the 88th minute sent the hosts away victorious. The forward collected a loose ball at the top of the Houston penalty area and fired a curling ball that snuck just inside the far post.
The Dynamo outshot Salt Lake 10-6 in the second half but were only able to put one on target – Picault’s goal. Midfielder Matías Vera hit the woodwork in the 63rd minute off a feed from left back Adam Lundkvist and had another look from inside the penalty area in the 76th but saw that shot whistle just over the bar. Picault had a shot blocked in the 61st and another attempt go just wide in stoppage time, while midfielder Boniek García attempted to turn a side volley on frame after a corner kick in the 87th, but his effort was blocked on its way to the target.
The Dynamo return to BBVA Stadium on Saturday for the second leg of the Texas Derby against FC Dallas. Houston and Dallas split the points in their first meeting, a 1-1 draw on May 8 in Frisco, Texas.