Houston Dynamo FC and Real Salt Lake played to a scoreless draw at BBVA Stadium this evening. Although the contest finished goalless, it featured plenty of action, as the teams combined for 26 shots, with both goalkeepers stepping up to make spectacular saves throughout the night.
The draw gave Houston at least a point in seven of their last eight matches and in 12 of 16 outings on the season. It also kept the Dynamo undefeated at BBVA Stadium on the year at 3-0-4.
Real Salt Lake created the first dangerous chance of the evening in the 11th minute. After a Dynamo clearance fell to midfielder Maikel Chang, his right-footed shot bounced toward goal but was palmed to the side by Houston goalkeeper Marko Marić. The ball caromed off the right post and back out to the penalty spot, where RSL midfielder Damir Kreilach attempted a diving header. Maric easily collected the second shot to snuff out the threat.
It was Houston’s turn to hit the woodwork in the 33rd minute when midfielder Memo Rodriguez caught the right post with a curling effort after a full-field counterattacking move. Forward Mateo Bajamich, making his first start in MLS, raced down the right flank before playing the ball inside to Rodriguez at the top of the penalty area. The Houston Homegrown’s shot beat ‘keeper Zac MacMath but was a few inches too far right and caught the post.
Marić came up big again in first-half stoppage time, making a diving save to parry away a shot from midfielder Justin Meram and keep the game scoreless going into intermission. The Croatian goalkeeper finished the night with four saves en route to his second clean sheet in three matches and his third of the season.
Salt Lake caught the post again in the 50th minute as Rusnák ran onto a ball behind the Dynamo back line and fired a quick shot from eight yards that caught the outside of the near post and ricocheted out for a goal kick.
Rodriguez made Club history with his 100th appearance in all competitions, becoming the first Dynamo Academy alumnus to reach the century mark for the Club. Additionally, Bajamich earned his first start in MLS play, while newcomer Corey Baird, acquired via trade from Los Angeles FC on Friday, made his Dynamo debut when he came on for midfielder Joe Corona in the 62nd minute.
Baird nearly combined with forward Tyler Pasher in the 67th minute after he raced onto a ball behind the RSL defense and played a centering pass to Pasher, but MacMath was quick off his line and was just able to beat Pasher to the ball.
Pasher and Baird combined for another dangerous chance in the 71st, this time reversing roles. It was Pasher who ran onto the ball along the left flank before curling a centering ball into the path of Baird at the six-yard box. Baird was able to get to the ball, but his first-touch effort whistled over the crossbar.
Real Salt Lake nearly found their opener in the 78th minute when defender Aaron Herrera whipped a ball in from the right flank that pulled Marić off his line. The ball carried across the face of goal to forward Anderson Julio, who had an open look at goal but put his shot wide of the target.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 87th minute when centerback Justen Glad received a second yellow card for a foul off the ball. The man advantage nearly paid off for Houston in stoppage time as Baird laced shot following a corner kick that forced a leaping save from MacMath to push the would-be winner over the crossbar.
The Dynamo begin a two-game road trip on Wednesday in the state capitol against Austin FC at Q2 Stadium. This will be the first regular season meeting between both teams and the first of three games this season. The Dynamo travel to Allianz Field on Saturday to face Minnesota United to close the road trip.