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Despite jumping out to a pair of early leads, Real Salt Lake could not hold off the surging Houston Dynamo, which got goals by four different players in the first half before holding on for a 4-3 victory over RSL in front of 13,579 fans at Robertson Stadium.
With the result, the Dynamo (7-4-8, 29 pts.) jumped in front of Real Salt Lake (7-7-6, 27 pts.) to take over the top spot in a crowded Western Conference table, but RSL remains in second place after the remainder of the Week 21 results in MLS fell the Utah side's way.
RSL jumped out in front just three minutes in, thanks to FW Yura Movsisyan's first goal of the campaign, and after an equalizer from Houston MF Brian Mullen just after the quarter-hour mark. The Utahns would seize the lead once again when MF Javier Morales scored on Movsisyan's rebounded effort in the 25th minute.
But the Dynamo would press forward in waves during the last half of the first stanza, resulting in scores by FW Brian Ching (29'), MF Ricardo Clark (35'), and FW Nate Jaqua (42'). Real Salt Lake striker Kenny Deuchar came off the bench and put home his third goal of the season in the 80th minute to bring a road point within reach for RSL. But a veteran Dynamo side killed the game off in the final 10 minutes to capture first-place from a good old-fashioned shootout in Texas.
- After relinquishing only four goals in its last 10 MLS games, Real Salt Lake allowed as many in the first half on Saturday night, marking the second-most goals allowed in a half in club history (6; 2nd half - 8/26/06 @ NY). RSL was missing three starters on the defensive side of the ball tonight in DF Jamison Olave (suspension), MF Dema Kovalenko (injury), and DF Ian Joy (injury).
- There were firsts all around in the RSL line-up tonight, as DF David Horst made his MLS debut, while D/M Robbie Russell made his first MLS start at right back and M/F Clint Mathis made his return to the Utah side as a 61st minute substitute.
- Movsisyan's goal in the third minute was not only his first of the season, but his first with Real Salt Lake since joining the squad last September, ending a scoreless streak of 16 games with the Utah side.
- Deuchar ended a goalless streak of his own, snapping a 13-game stretch without finding net (5/03 v. LA).
- Another streak that fell tonight was Morales' seven-game stretch without an assist. The Argentine playmaker was credited with an assist on Deuchar's second half tally, bringing his total for the season to eight, tying him with LA Galaxy superstar David Beckham for second place in MLS across the category. The duo trails only Columbus M/F Guillermo Barros Schelotto, against whom RSL will face off against next week at Crew Stadium (5:30 p.m. MT kick, live on KSL-TV Digital 5.3 / Comcast Ch. 105).
- After notching two assists across his first 44 MLS contests, RSL FW Robbie Findley provided a helping hand - or head - this evening, as he recorded a pair of helpers on headed passes finished off by Movsisyan and Deuchar.
- Tonight's loss ends Real Salt Lake's month-plus reign atop the Western Conference standings, which began with its 2-0 win over Columbus on July 12.
- Tonight's match mirrored in many ways Real Salt Lake's visit to Robertson Stadium last season, which ended in a similar 4-3 scoreline in favor of the Dynamo on Sept. 8, 2007.
RSL -- Yura Movsisyan 1 (Robbie Findley 3) 3
HOU -- Brian Mullan 2 (Brad Davis 3) 16
RSL -- Javier Morales 4 (unassisted) 25
HOU -- Brian Ching 9 (Brian Mullan 3, Craig Waibel 2) 29
HOU -- Ricardo Clark 1 (unassisted) 35
HOU -- Nate Jaqua 1 (Brian Ching 4, Brad Davis 4) 42
RSL -- Kenny Deuchar 3 (Robbie Findley 4, Javier Morales 8) 80
Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Robbie Russell, David Horst, Andy Williams (Clint Mathis 61), Kenny Cutler (Fabian Espindola 46), Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman, Robbie Findley, Yura Movsisyan (Kenny Deuchar 76).
Substitutes Not Used: Dustin Kirby, Tino Nunez, Chris Seitz, Brennan Tennelle
Houston Dynamo -- Pat Onstad, Craig Waibel, Bobby Boswell, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett, Brian Mullan, Ricardo Clark, Dwayne De Rosario (Stuart Holden 82), Brad Davis (Corey Ashe 69), Nate Jaqua (Kei Kamara 53), Brian Ching.
Substitutes Not Used: Tony Caig, Geoff Cameron, Patrick Ianni, Richard Mulrooney