Real Salt Lake-Dynamo Preview
Tab Ramos has hailed Houston Dynamo's fighting spirit, despite his side going eight matches without a victory heading into Saturday's visit of Real Salt Lake.
The draw-happy Dynamo have collected just six points from the last 24 on offer and find themselves ninth in the Western Conference standings.
Ramos' side have struggled for momentum all season long, but the 54-year-old is taking positives from last week's 1-1 draw with San Jose Earthquakes.
"The team fought really hard to save the tie because the last five to eight minutes were really difficult," he said. "These are the type of results that bring a team together.
"I can't say that I'm happy that we got to another road tie, but what I can say is I like how together this team is and how they're fighting together.
"I think our defense looks solid. We're settled there. I'm happy with where we are on the defensive side."
Houston's back line will have to be on top of their game this weekend if they are to keep out an RSL side boasting 10 goals in their last four matches.
The Claret and Cobalt have put four and three unanswered goals past Vancouver Whitecaps and Colorado Rapids respectively in recent weeks and are seventh in the table.
Salt Lake are now seeking successive wins in MLS for just the second time this season when they travel to BBVA Stadium, where the humidity is expected to make the weather feel close to 105 degrees Fahrenheit at kick-off.
"It will be humid, but the conditions are the same for them," RSL head coach Freddy Juarez said. "Without looking too much into it, there are moments we will have to be intelligent with the ball.
"When we defend we have to be smart with when we press. We cannot afford to run ourselves ragged."
Houston Dynamo - Teenage Hadebe
Signed from Turkish side Yeni Malatyaspor last month, Hadebe was given time to adjust to life in a new country before starting for Houston in their draws with Vancouver Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes. The center back impressed in both games and Ramos credits the 25-year-old with helping to shore up his side's defense in their last couple of matches, during which time they have conceded once.
Real Salt Lake - Bobby Wood
Wood took his opportunity brilliantly to fire RSL two goals ahead against the Rapids, with that his first goal since joining from Hamburg in April. The former United States international's work ethic and movement has been clear to see, but more goals are needed and his strike last week should boost confidence.
- Real Salt Lake are unbeaten in six straight games against Houston (W3 D3), their longest unbeaten run against the Dynamo in RSL's MLS history. RSL has lost only three of the last 14 meetings between the sides dating back to 2013 (W8 D3).
- Six of Houston's last seven matches have ended in draws (L1), including the last two. Only the Fire in 2011 and the Galaxy in 2009 have had seven draws in a span of eight games in a single season in MLS history.
- Real Salt Lake beat Colorado last weekend for just their third win in their last 12 games after opening the season with back-to-back wins. Those two wins to start the season represent RSL's only winning streak since the start of last season.
- The Dynamo have scored 64.7 percent of their goals in the first half this season (11/17), the highest percentage in MLS, just ahead of Real Salt Lake (14/24 - 58.3 percent).
- Damir Kreilach has scored four headed goals this season, tied with Felipe Mora for most in MLS. Kreilach is the only RSL player to score at least four headed goals in a season since 2013, also scoring with his head six times in the 2018 campaign.
Updated July 30, 2021