The last two Dynamo games have been total flashbacks to the misery of the 2010 season. Late goals, sloppy goals, no attack, missed passes, missed chances, and missed opportunities. It could be more of the same when the Dynamo travel to Rio Tinto Stadium just outside of Salt Lake, Utah to take on Real Salt Lake.
The Dynamo, again, will be forced to play without two of their starting players. Brian Ching continues to be sidelined by a string of injuries, limiting to just a few minutes this season. His current ailment is plantar fascitis which is expected to sideline him for another three weeks. Danny Cruz will not travel with the team either, as he is still out with a knee injury. Calen Carr, who has not featured for the Dynamo since being signed earlier this season is also out with a head injury.
Real Salt Lake will also be forced to deal with their own injury issues after Javier Morales horror ankle fracture last weekend. Paulo Jr. is also listed as questionable.
It's hard to say which RSL team will see the field Saturday night. After losing to Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions Final, Real Salt Lake has struggled to put together good result in Major League Soccer action. Jason Kreis' team lost to the Portland Timbers just days after the heartbreaking defeat to Monterrey, but was able to grind out a 1-0 victory against a 9-mine Chivas USA team this past weekend.
Real Salt Lake has plenty on the line Saturday night. A win would mean a lot of the team's confidence, and would also help them emotionally begin to move on after Morales' injury. Also at stake is RSL's 28-game unbeaten streak (at home, against MLS opposition).
"Our team looks at it as a challenge for us to go in there and put an end to that streak or to put in a good performance and get a good result," said forward Cam Weaver. "It's a challenge to a team that if you can break that streak, it's a good thing and that's how we have to view it."
"I think two weeks ago people were ready to crown us a contender, and now they don't know," said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. "But you have to keep concentrating on what you can do. So we're traveling for a reason. We're traveling to win this game."
- The Dynamo have followed a six-game unbeaten run with back-to-back losses, their first losses since opening the season with a home defeat by Philadelphia.
- After conceding six goals in the opening seven games of the season, the Dynamo have now allowed four in their last two.
- "Some of these goals we're giving up are very soft, and it's something we need to identify," said Kinnear. "If a team scores good goals against us, you can accept that, but the way we gave up the first goal (in Toronto) is definitely our mistake."
- Je-Vaughn Watson has made back-to-back starts in the midfield and come away with an assist in each one. Spanish import Koke made his first MLS start in the loss at Toronto FC, starting up top in place of rookie Will Bruin.
- Geoff Cameron was also able to return to the lineup after missing the midweek game against Wednesday, returning to the center of midfield with Watson moving wide on the right.
- "We fought back and got that goal back and we pushed for the equalizer, which is a positive to take from the game," said fullback Andre Hainault. "But we've got to get better overall.
- The Dynamo will again be without striker Brian Ching as he is suffering from plantar fasciitis in his foot. After starting the season with a hamstring ailment, Ching made his only 2011 start against New York on April 2, but suffered a rib injury that then sidelined him for another three weeks.
- The Houston Dynamo lost for a second consecutive match, falling 2-1 to Toronto FC at BMO Field. The Dynamo have 12 points from 9 games on the season, sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
- In last week's loss to Toronto FC, Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made three changes to the team that fell 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids at Robertson Stadium. Eddie Robinson came into the back four for Corey Ashe, Colin Clark into the midfield for Geoff Cameron, and Koke started up top for Will Bruin.
- Last week's line-up looked like this: 4-4-2 with Tally Hall - Hunter Freeman (Corey Ashe 75), Eddie Robinson, Bobby Boswell (Colin Clark 75), Andre Hainault - Je-Vaughn Watson, Lovel Palmer, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis - Cam Weaver (Will Bruin 62). Koke.
Houston Dynamo - OUT: FW Calen Carr (concussion); MF Danny Cruz (R knee hyperextension); FW Brian Ching (L plantar fascitis)
Real Salt Lake - OUT: MF Javier Morales (L ankle fracture dislocation); QUESTIONABLE: FW Paulo Jr. (L hamstring strain)
- REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Mark Declouet
- Salazar MLS Career: 128 games; FC/gm: 26.9; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 39; pens: 49
Project Houston Dynamo Starting XI
F: Will Bruin
F: Sergio Koke
LM: Brad Davis (C)
CAM: Geoff Cameron
CDM: Lovel Palmer
RM: JeVaughn Watson
LB: Corey Ashe
CB: Bobby Boswell
CB: Andre Hainault
RB: Hunter Freeman
GK: Tally Hall
Substitutes: Tyler Deric (GK), Eddie Robinson, Mike Chabala, Colin Clark, Jermaine Taylor, Cam Weaver, Alex Dixon