Houston Dynamo FC are set to host Real Salt Lake (RSL) in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal on Wednesday, Aug. 23 at Shell Energy Stadium, where the Dynamo now boast an 11-3-3 (WLD) record in all competitions. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. CT.
The winner of this match will advance to play the winner of Inter Miami CF and Cincinnati FC, who kick off at 6:00 p.m. CT on Wednesday, in the final. If Houston finds victory over RSL, the Dynamo will travel to play for the trophy.
In the quarterfinals, Houston defeated Chicago Fire FC 4-1 on the road on June 6 to advance to the semifinals for the first time since winning the title in 2018. Forward Aliyu Ibrahim scored twice on the night to bring his goal total in the competition to three. Forward Nelson Quiñónes also scored his first goal for Houston, while Amine Bassi converted from the penalty spot to open scoring.
Houston continued its resurgent season on Sunday night, defeating the Portland Timbers 5-0 at home to climb to sixth in the Western Conference standings inside the MLS playoff line. The Dynamo also made a run to the Leagues Cup Round of 16, highlighted by finding victory over the top-seeded team from Liga MX, C.F. Pachuca, on penalties in the Round of 32.
RSL, who currently sit third in the Western Conference, return to action after bowing out of Leagues Cup in a 4-0 road defeat to LAFC on Aug. 8. They advanced to the U.S. Open Cup semifinals after a 3-2 home victory over the LA Galaxy on June 7. Damir Kreilach scored a first-half brace, while Jefferson Savarino netted the second-half game-winner. All three goals were set up by Rubio Rubin.
Houston and Real Salt Lake were the only two teams to advance to the Round of 16 in League Cup, while sitting in an MLS playoff position and still alive in the U.S. Open Cup.
Notably, after meeting 38 times in their histories, the two clubs have split the series down the middle, each holding a 13-13-12 (WLD) record. Houston’s 11-3-3 (WLD) home record in all competitions this year will go up against RSL’s strong 6-3-3 (WLD) road record in league play.
The Dynamo captured the 2018 U.S. Open Cup, the club’s first title in the tournament, with a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Union on September 26, 2018, at BBVA Compass Stadium (now Shell Energy Stadium). The Open Cup title was the third domestic championship in Dynamo history and first since the club’s back-to-back MLS Cup titles in 2006 and 2007.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is a single-elimination tournament to determine the champion of American soccer. Teams from every level of soccer are included, from local amateur and semi-pro sides up to Major League Soccer. Founded in 1914, the Open Cup is the oldest national soccer competition in the United States and the second-oldest team championship in American sports. The 2023 tournament is the 108th edition of the competition.
Here are three key points ahead of Wednesday’s match:
- ELIMINATION GAMES: The Dynamo enter Wednesday’s match with a 5-1 (WL) record in elimination games this year across all competitions. Houston has earned four clean sheets in that stretch and have only conceded three goals. The team has outscored opponents 11-3 in elimination games and look to advance to their first final since 2018. Houston reached the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2018 after defeating LAFC in a penalty kick shootout and would go on to win the trophy at home against the Philadelphia Union.
- CLEAN SHEETS AT HOME: The Dynamo have posted 12 clean sheets across all competitions this year. The team holds a 10-0-2 record overall when posting a clean sheet and nine of those clean sheets have come at Shell Energy Stadium. The latest clean sheet came on Sunday when Houston defeated the Portland Timbers 5-0. The Timbers finished with six shots, but none were on target. The Timbers finished with a 0.19 XG on Sunday, the lowest of any opponent the Dynamo faced this season.
- POTENTIAL RETURN TO INTERNATIONAL PLAY: The winner of Wednesday’s match at Shell Energy Stadium might qualify to the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup at the final whistle. Inter Miami CF secured a berth in the international tournament after winning the 2023 Leagues Cup last Saturday and a victory on Wednesday would pave the way for the berth awarded to the U.S. Open Cup champion to go to the winner of the Dynamo and RSL match.