Dynamo look to extend unbeaten streak vs. Real Salt Lake

Will getting a rare road victory give Real Salt Lake a much-needed momentum boost heading into two home matches this week?

That’s the question facing the club as it hosts the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday in Sandy, Utah. This is the first of two home matches for Salt Lake this week. RSL also hosts Seattle on Saturday. Salt Lake has enjoyed considerable success at home this season, winning four of five matches.

It has been a different story away from home. Real Salt Lake made a major breakthrough when it claimed a 1-0 victory over the Sounders in Seattle during the weekend. It marked the first win for Salt Lake in seven road matches this season.

RSL (5-6-1) posted its first shutout of the season after limiting Seattle to two shots on goal. Nick Rimando had two first-half saves to keep the Sounders off the board. It offered a stark turnaround from Salt Lake’s previous six road matches, where it yielded a total of 17 goals.

“This shows what happens when everybody is committed defensively,” RSL coach Mike Petke said. “It’s not going to be pretty at times, but they got extremely organized and did an excellent job. It feels great.”

Getting a win over Houston would give Salt Lake a serious chance to climb the MLS standings. The Dynamo are two points ahead of RSL and are currently fifth overall in the Western Conference.

It will be a difficult task to accomplish.

Houston (5-3-3) carries a four-game unbeaten streak into Utah after pounding New York City FC 3-1 on Saturday. The Dynamo have scored 11 goals in their last four games. They pounced on NYCFC after halftime, pulling away with late goals from Tomas Martinez and Alberth Elis.

Not only did the result give Houston back-to-back wins for the first time this season, but it also marked the second straight come-from-behind victory for the first time in club history. The Dynamo prevailed despite being outshot 21-13 by NYCFC and possessing the ball only 44.9 percent of the match.

“Little by little, we took the game,” Houston coach Wilmer Cabrera said. “We were more solid. We were settling into the game and we had the possibilities to create chances.”

Houston will test Salt Lake’s defense for all 90 minutes. The Dynamo are the top offensive team in the Western Conference thus far, scoring 26 goals in 11 matches. RSL has allowed 25 total goals through 12 matches this season.