Houston Dynamo FC came up just short at Real Salt Lake


 Photo credit: Xavier Rosales, SFL Staff Photographer

HOUSTON (Monday, Nov. 6, 2023) – Houston Dynamo FC came up just short at Real Salt Lake earlier tonight, falling 5-4 in a penalty shootout in Game 2 of the Round One Best-of-3 series.

The series finale will be played in Houston at Shell Energy Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 11 where kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. CT, as both teams will look to secure their place in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals.

The penalty shootout was ultimately decided by the first kick after forward Amine Bassi’s attempt was saved by Salt Lake goalkeeper Zac MacMath and every ensuing attempt for both teams was converted.

Houston was awarded a penalty in the 26th minute after defender Franco Escobar was taken down on the left side of the penalty box by Justen Glad. Bassi’s initial penalty attempt was saved, but the 25-year-old buried the rebound to score his second goal of the postseason. Bassi is the fifth Dynamo player to score in back-to-back postseason games and the first since Omar Cummings scored in two consecutive games during the 2013 postseason.


Real Salt Lake scored the equalizer in the 70th minute after they were awarded a free kick outside the box. Jefferson Savarino found the inside of the far post for his first goal of the postseason.


Dynamo midfielder Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla was fouled outside the box in the opening minutes of the game outside the box. Captain Héctor Herrera took the ensuing free kick, but his cross into the box missed defender Erik Sviatchenko at the far post.


The Dynamo won their first corner kick of the game in the seventh minute after forward Corey Baird found Nelson Quiñónes outside the box. The Salt Lake backline recovered to concede the corner kick as Quiñónes attempted to pull the ball back at the near post.


Real Salt Lake defender Bryan Oviedo missed the top corner of the near post with a first-touch effort from the edge of the box in the 37th minute.


Baird suffered a foul in the 50th minute that led to a free kick for the Dynamo outside the box. Herrera took the ensuing free kick and found Sviatchenko in the heart of the box, but his header was handled by MacMath.


Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark was called into action in the 56th minute after Carrasquilla cleared the ball. The ball fell to Braian Ojeda who attempted to find the back of the net with a shot from the edge of the box. Clark was well positioned again two minutes later to deny Chicho Arango at the near post.


Houston nearly tallied their second goal of the evening in the 60th minute after Herrera found Baird near midfield. The forward then played the ball into space for Quiñónes, who dribbled into the box. The Colombian playmaker played the ball across the box back to Baird, but his effort went wide of the near post.


Defender Griffin Dorsey delivered a ball from the right sides to the head of Carrasquilla near the penalty spot in the 80th minute, but the Panamanian international could not get enough power on the shot to beat MacMath.


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