Dynamo 0, Real Salt Lake 0
Real Salt Lake struggled to find an offensive spark in its first game without injured midfielder Javier Morales, playing to a 0-0 draw with the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night.
Morales was lost for at least four months after breaking and dislocating his ankle last week in a 1-0 victory over Chivas USA.
''We're going to have to answer questions about who's going to be the integral figure creating chances,'' Real coach Jason Kreis said. ''Can other guys get a little more involved and precise in the attacking third? That's just something that's going to take time.''
Battling to a draw had its positives for both sides. Houston (3-3-4) put on an impressive defensive show in a hostile environment where Salt Lake rarely surrenders points. RSL netted its fifth shutout in seven games - the best among MLS teams early in the season.
Dynamo coach Dom Kinnear said his team would have loved to capture the full three points, but he thought getting a draw out of Rio Tinto Stadium said good things about his team's performance.
''It's a tough place to play for a number of reasons,'' Kinnear said. ''The No. 1 reason being they are a good team. To get a shutout here is an accomplishment.''
Salt Lake (5-1-1) did a good job of controlling possession in the first half, but it did not result in any scoring chances. RSL managed just four total shots and only a single shot - a right-footer from Alvaro Saborio in the 45th minute - was on frame before halftime.
Houston ended up being in no position to take advantage. Real allowed the Dynamo to create just one shot in the first half.
Things opened up more after halftime with the two teams combining for a total of 15 shots. Half of Houston's six shots were on target and saved by Rimando.
''Both teams had some chances,'' Kinnear said. ''Both teams put themselves in position to maybe get a goal. It didn't work out. Nick Rimando made some good saves. We were close a couple of times. So were they. Both teams knocked the ball around and competed well for 90 minutes.''
RSL blew a chance score in the middle of the second half. Alturo Alvarez sent a through ball to Saborio in the 63rd minute and he blasted a runner into the center of the net. The apparent goal was waved off though, after Saborio started his run too early and was ruled offsides.
Houston's best chance came in the 65th minute. Geoff Cameron slipped a pass through to Will Bruin in the right side of the box. From there, Bruin blasted a right-footer at the center of the net that Rimando secured to keep the game scoreless.
Salt Lake's last chance for a goal came in the 93rd minute when Andy Williams tried to curl the ball inside the right post, but hooked the shot wide.
''We did get the ball in some good spots,'' Kreis said. ''We were looking for one decisive play. It didn't happen tonight.''