Houston Dynamo FC

Houston Dynamo FC look to close out Round One Best-of-3 series at Real Salt Lake 


Houston Dynamo FC travel to face Real Salt Lake in Game 2 in the Round One Best-of-3 series on Monday, Nov. 6, with kickoff scheduled for 8:00 p.m. CT. A Houston victory would advance the Dynamo to the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time since 2017.

The fourth-seeded Dynamo lead the series 1-0 after earning a 2-1 home victory over fifth-seeded Salt Lake in Game 1 at Shell Energy Stadium on Sunday. Houston opened scoring in the 22nd minute after midfielder Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla headed a ball from forward Nelson Quiñónes to captain Héctor Herrera, who controlled the ball off his chest and sent it into the net with his left foot. Salt Lake scored an equalizer in the 55th minute on a breakaway run as Anderson Julio found Diego Luna in open space. Forward Amine Bassi netted the winning goal in the 79th minute. Bassi fired a left-footed shot into the roof of the net for his first goal of the postseason.

Sunday marked the first postseason meeting between the two clubs and Houston’s first home playoff victory since October 2017. The Dynamo now boast a 16-3-5 (WLD) record at home in all competitions this year. The result also marked the first time in Club history where two Dynamo players scored in their postseason debut. 

After Sunday’s victory, Houston now holds a 3-0-1 (WLD) undefeated record versus Salt Lake in all competitions this year, including a 3-1 victory at home in the semifinal of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Aug. 23. The all-time regular season series is tied with 13 victories for each team and 11 draws.

In Houston’s previous trip to Salt Lake this season, the Dynamo returned with a 3-0 victory. Corey Baird scored the opening goal in the victory and that tally marked his fourth consecutive game with a goal. Daniel Steres scored his second goal of the season in the 29th minute after Herrera played a ball into the box for his 11th assist of the season. The final goal of the match came in the 75th minute after Aliyu Ibrahim found Carrasquilla at the near post. Goalkeeper Steve Clark also earned his 10th clean sheet of the season.

Dynamo fans are invited to watch the match at Pitch 25 on Monday evening. The watch party will include giveaways and a pop-up shop featuring Somos Fearless playoff merchandise.

If necessary, Houston’s playoff campaign, powered by Shell Energy, would return home on Saturday, Nov. 11 for Game 3 of the Round One Best-of-3 series, with kickoff scheduled for 3 p.m. CT. If Houston is victorious on Monday, the Dynamo would advance to the Western Conference Semifinals, which kickoff on Nov. 25.

Here are three key points ahead of Monday’s match:    

  1. FORMIDABLE FORM: The Dynamo have only lost one match since returning to MLS play after reaching the Round of 16 in the Leagues Cup. Since Aug. 20, the team has posted a 9-1-4 (WLD) record in all competitions, including 3-1-2 (WLD) on the road, while outscoring opponents 32-10 during that stretch. Houston earned 51 points with a 14-11-9 (WLD) record over the course of a resurgent season, the most points since the Dynamo last made in the playoffs in 2017 (50 points). It also marks just the fifth time in Club history earning more than 50 points and the first time since 2013 when the Dynamo made a run to the Conference Finals.
  2. CONSISTENT CAPTAINS: Team captains Héctor Herrera and Steve Clark have been leading the way on each end of the pitch for the Dynamo this season and will look to continue that form through Houston’s postseason run. In addition to four league goals this season, Herrera, who scored in Game 1 on Sunday, totaled 17 assists, good for second-best in MLS. That mark also set a new single-season Club record, surpassing the previous record held by midfielder Brad Davis, who finished with 16 assists in 2011. Meanwhile, Steve Clark had a standout year in goal, totaling 85 saves and earning 12 shutouts, also good for second-best in the league this season. That clean sheet mark ties the Club’s single-season record set by Tally Hall in 2012. Clark’s previous season-high total was eight clean sheets in 2014 and 2016 with the Columbus Crew. Earlier this season, Houston went 540 minutes without conceding a goal, the second-longest streak in club history (longest: 727 minutes between June and July in 2007). Houston ended the season with the second most clean sheets in MLS with 13, as fellow goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell, who started every match of the Dynamo’s U.S. Open Cup championship campaign, helped the team earn a scoreless draw at the LA Galaxy in September.
  3. TRICKY TEMPERATURES: Despite playing in a sweltering Shell Energy Stadium for a majority of the season, the Dynamo will have to adjust to a drastically different climate at America First Field in Utah. Low temperatures for Monday evening are forecasted to be near 45 °F, compared to last Sunday’s match in Houston where the temperature at kickoff was around 80 °F. In terms of preparation, temperatures at training for the Dynamo were much cooler earlier in the week, between 40 and 50 °F. However, the high temperature in Houston on Monday will again rise above 80 °F, while Salt Lake City will not barely rise above 65 °F at its peak.