HOUSTON – Houston Dynamo FC defeated Real Salt Lake 4-3 on penalties in Game 3 of the Round One Best-of-3 series to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals for the eighth time in club history.
The two clubs played to a 1-1 draw in regulation at Shell Energy Stadium.
The Dynamo will continue postseason play later this month when they host Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, Nov. 25 or Sunday, Nov. 26. This is the sixth time that both teams will meet in the MLS postseason in which Houston holds a 4-1 record over Sporting. Full details on match timing will be available after the completion of all games in the Round One Best-of-3 series.
The first miss of the penalty shootout came from Real Salt Lake when goalkeeper Steve Clark saved Diego Luna’s shot to the right side of goal. Forward Nelson Quiñónes had his shot saved in a similar spot by Zac MacMath on Houston’s fourth kick. On next attempt, Salt Lake’s Danny Musovski’s hit the left post, and the 4-3 result was sealed with Griffin Dorsey’s shot to the left side of goal that flew past MacMath’s fingertips.
The Dynamo scored the opening goal of the match in the 28th minute off a cross from captain Héctor Herrera that fell to Quiñónes. The Colombian forward played the ball to the opposite post and his cross was headed down by Herrera, who followed the play into the six-yard box. Forward Corey Baird was well positioned to strike the ball for his first-career MLS postseason goal.
Herrea finished with three chances created against Salt Lake. The Dynamo captain has been a key contributor in the final third this season, tallying 17 assists in the regular season.
Salt Lake scored the equalizer in the 65th minute off a cross from Bryan Oviedo that found Diego Luna at the far post.
Houston’s first shot of the game came in the fourth minute after Herrera found Dorsey outside the box. The defender dribbled past Bryan Oviedo to create space for a shot, but his effort was off target.
Salt Lake midfielder Andrés Gómez tallied the first shot of the evening for the visiting team in the 22nd minute with an effort from the edge of the box that skipped past the bottom corner of the near post.
Clark tallied his first save of the evening in the 25th minute after Salt Lake capitalized on a turnover outside the box. Gómez’s effort from the top of the box was handled by the Dynamo shot stopper for the first of two regulation saves against Salt Lake.
Houston’s next opportunity came moments later after Dorsey dribbled to the heart of the box, but his effort went wide of the near post.
The Dynamo were awarded a corner kick in the 63rd minute after midfielder Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla found Dorsey near midfield. The defender dribbled toward the endline and played the ball back to Baird, but his effort was blocked by a defender for the first of two consecutive corner kicks.
Forward Amine Bassi played a ball toward Quiñónes running into the left side of the box in the 78th minute. The Colombian attacker controlled and struck the ball, but his shot was blocked by Justen Glad.
One minute later, Quiñónes found himself running with the ball down the left wing after a pass from Carrasquilla, but his shot was corralled by the gloves of MacMath.
Quiñónes was involved in another scoring opportunity in the 81st minute, playing a ball off hist chest to Bassi in the box. The 25-year-old took the shot half volley, but MacMath once again corralled the shot.
Houston almost took the lead in the 88th minute after Bassi took his chances with a strong shot from outside the box. Forward Thorleifur Ulafarsson managed to get his head on the rebound but was unable to beat MacMath.
This was the sixth meeting of the year between both squads and the Dynamo finished unbeaten in regulation against Salt Lake with a 3-0-3 (WLD) record in all competitions.