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Storylines to watch: RSL v. Houston Dynamo

09 August 2:01 pm

Storylines to watch: RSL v. Houston Dynamo

By JP Chunga

Real Salt Lake will return to MLS action on Saturday, when it will take on the Houston Dynamo at 7:30 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Here are a few interesting storylines to watch ahead of Saturday’s match:

Houston, we have a problem

Historically, RSL has fared poorly against the Houston Dynamo, posting a 3-9-5 record against the Orange. The Claret-and-Cobalt has won just once in its last 12 league matches against the Dynamo, last beating the Texas side on May 13, 2010.  

Some good news: The Claret-and-Cobalt has done well against Houston at home, posting a 3-1-4 record against the Dynamo in the Beehive State.

Morales and Saborio dynamite against the Dynamo

Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales and Alvaro Saborio both have strong career numbers against Houston, with Morales notching two goals and four assists in nine career league games against the Dynamo and Saborio scoring two goals and registering one assist in four career games.

Saborio has been particularly hot lately, scoring five goals and assisting once in three games in all competitions since returning to RSL from international duty ahead of the July 27 loss at New York.

Rimando v. Hall

Saturday’s contest will be a battle between two of the top goalkeepers in the league, with RSL’s Nick Rimando and Houston’s Tally Hall facing off in between the pipes. RSL’s “Wall of the Wasatch,” Rimando has the best save percentage in MLS this year, stopping 78 percent of shots fired at the net. Hall isn’t far behind, tied for third with a save percentage of 74 percent. With both sides attacking well, Rimando v. Hall could be the deciding matchup in the game.

Kreis v. Kinnear

Saturday’s match will also pit two of the top coaches in MLS against each other in Jason Kreis and Dominic Kinnear. The two young American coaches most often discussed for future USMNT and other high-profile jobs, Kinnear and Kreis rank third and fourth, respectively, in terms of active MLS coaches in wins, trailing only Sigi Schmid and Bruce Arena. Kinnear has a record of 123-82-98 in MLS play, while the younger Kreis has an 85-57-52 mark in league action.

Red Alert?

Real Salt Lake and Houston have combined for eight red card in 14 matches dating back to 2007. Mercifully, no reds have been shown in this series since 2009, when five ejections occurred in three matches between the clubs.