Revenge is the thought in the minds of Real Salt Lake players tonight as they host the Houston Dynamo in the league’s showcase game on ESPN2. It was a month or so ago when the Dynamo hosted RSL on a Thursday night and scored a 2-1 win over the defending champs thanks to not one but two penalty kicks.
Jamison Olave was a big reason why RSL gave up those two penalties that night as he committed both fouls. Both times Brad Davis went to the spot and put it home for the Dynamo. One thing we can bet on is Olave being a little more disciplined tonight for his club. RSL has put themselves in a position to move up the western conference latter with a win tonight and giving up more penalties is not a way to do that.
I’ve always been a big backer of RSL at home and for good reason, they hardly lose in Salt Lake and at Rio Tinto Stadium. If anyone could knock them off their horse at home its a club like Houston who plays physical through the back and midfield and gets a lot of free kicks in dangerous spots. RSL gives up enough fouls around their box so they will have to limit those mental mistakes.
I think tonight is RSL’s game to lose. They need the three points and will want to continue their dominance at Rio Tinto. A couple guys need to step up offensively in this one like Robbie Findley who just got called into the US national team’s camp for the World Cup. Also RSL will need another strong performance out of Javier Morales. If he can regain the form he had to start the season there is no doubt that RSL will walk out of this one with three points.
Houston will have to play a little more tight in the midfield but also need to spread out RSL through the midfield. Teams that have seen some success against RSL did a good job spreading them out to create chances on goal.
I like RSL in this one for the revenge factor and because Houston hasn’t shown enough consistency recently (though injuries play a part of that). Expect a real physical match too and probably a couple cards as well.
Player to watch out for: Kyle Beckerman – He has to be the rock in the midfield for RSL. His play will dicate how RSL fares in this one.
WVH Prediction: RSL 2, Houston 1