Real Salt Lake will put its unbeaten 2014 record on the line once again as it travels to Houston on Sunday in search of its first-ever win in the city.
Though RSL has just a 0-8-1 record against the Dynamo when playing on the road, the team will be looking to build on last week's dramatic come-from-behind win in Chicago and earn a result at BBVA Compass Stadium. A win would be particularly welcome as Real will likely bid farewell to Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, and Alvaro Saborio for several weeks, as all three are anticipated to join their national teams for World Cup preparations.
The Dynamo will be a formidable opponent, however, as they currently occupy second place in the Eastern Conference standings and are coming off back-to-back wins. RSL's defense will face a stern test in Houston, as striker Will Bruin has six goals in 2014, and Brad Davis has four assists.
Fortunately for Real, however, they have their own attacking duo in Saborio and Joao Plata. Both got on the board last week in Chicago, with Plata scoring twice and Saborio contributing a goal and an assist.
As RSL's injury situation improves, coach Jeff Cassar will be confronted with some difficult roster decisions on Sunday. Luis Gil has trained well over the last week and could play a role, though Luke Mulholland has made a strong case for staying in the starting lineup.
In addition, defender Chris Schuler, who has played a critical role in RSL's success so far in 2014, sustained a minor knee injury last weekend. However, a precautionary MRI revealed no major problems and he was able to participate in training on Friday.
The match will also mark assistant coach Paul Dalglish's return to Houston. Before coming to Salt Lake, Dalglish starred for the Dynamo, winning MLS Cups with the side in 2006 and 2007.