HOUSTON (Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023) – Houston Dynamo FC opened its postseason, powered by Shell Energy, with a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake at home tonight to take an early lead in the Round One Best-of-3 series.
The result marked Houston’s first victory in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs since October 2017, and the Dynamo now boast a 16-3-5 (WLD) record at Shell Energy Stadium in all competitions this year.
Houston remains undefeated versus Salt Lake this year, holding a 3-0-1 (WLD) record in all competitions. The Dynamo have only lost one match since returning to MLS play after Leagues Cup on Aug. 20, earning a 9-1-4 (WLD) record in all competitions, while outscoring opponents 32-10 during that stretch.
Houston opened scoring in the 22nd minute after forward Nelson Quiñónes put a ball on the head of midfielder Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla in the penalty box. The Panamanian international headed the ball down to captain Héctor Herrera, and the Mexican international controlled the ball off his chest and sent the ball 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. Luna found the inside corner of the near post for the equalizer.
The Dynamo took back the lead in the 79th minute when forward Amine Bassi fired a left-footed shot into the roof of the net. The chance came after defender Griffin Dorsey’s shot was saved, and Bassi cleaned up the rebound.
Tonight marked the first time in Club history where two Dynamo players scored in their postseason debut.
Quiñónes just missed the top corner of the far post with a strike from the edge of the box in the 31st minute.
Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark got a hand on Bryan Oviedo’s cross in the 35th minute and defender Micael was well positioned to shield the rebound from Luna and clear the ball at the goal line.
Carrasquilla found midfielder Artur at the top of the box in the 41st minute, and the Brazilian midfielder forced a save from Salt Lake goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
Carrasquilla was fouled outside the box in the final moments of the first half. Herrera took the ensuing free kick and found defender Erik Sviatchenko, but his header missed the inside of the far post.
Clark was called into action for his lone save of the night in the 48th minute to deny a long-range effort from Andrés Gómez.
Quiñónes found Carrasquilla at the edge of the box in the 49th minute, but his shot was blocked by Oviedo. The forward forced a save moments later after he found space behind the backline. The 21-year-old Colombian finished with two chances created.
Forward Corey Baird created space for a shot in the 63rd minute, but he was denied by the near post. Houston retained possession and played the ball across the box to create space for a shot for Quiñónes, but his effort went wide of the far post.
MacMath came off his line in the 93rd minute, and midfielder Artur almost punished the mistake, shooting from deep and hitting the crossbar.
Houston’s playoff campaign, powered by Shell Energy, continues on Monday, Nov. 6 for the second game of the Best-of-3 Series. If necessary, the third game is scheduled for Nov. 11 at Shell Energy Stadium.