Ben Olsen will be hoping Houston Dynamo can take another step in the "right direction" when they visit Real Salt Lake for Thursday's MLS meeting.

The Dynamo recorded a narrow 1-0 win over Charlotte FC in their last outing, with this the chance to find a third straight victory and continue their resurgent form.

El Naranja sit sixth in the Western Conference standings, one point adrift of the top four, yet head coach Olsen still wants improvements from his Houston roster.

"It's a step in the right direction, we've got a week to recover – Salt Lake away that is never going to be easy," Olsen said after the Charlotte win, looking ahead to RSL.

"And then LAFC comes [to us at home], so it was important to get the last three points.

"The clean sheet is the biggest storyline for us at the minute."

RSL will be the hosts at America First Field, aiming to respond to a surprise 1-0 defeat against LA Galaxy last time out.

Gabriel Pec's second-half finish was enough for a 1-0 win for the Galaxy in that meeting, downing Pablo Mastroeni's men, who dropped down to third in the West table.

Having suffered their first defeat in seven home outings, Mastroeni will be desperate for improvements and close the gap on the two-top duo – the Galaxy and Los Angeles FC.

Carlos Andres Gomez will miss this one through suspension after accumulating five yellow cards this season, while Houston's Franco Escobar will be out for the same reason.


Real Salt Lake – Cristian Arango

Cristian Arango has scored just one goal in five career MLS matches against Houston (including playoffs), averaging 0.30 goals per 90 minutes.

The only opponent he has faced three or more times with a lower scoring rate is Vancouver (no goals in six games), can Arango end that spell against Houston here?

Houston Dynamo – Ibrahim Aliyu

Ibrahim Aliyu scored in the fifth minute against Charlotte on Saturday, and the Dynamo man will hope to race out the blocks once more in Salt Lake.

It was the second-earliest goal Houston has ever scored in a 1-0 win in MLS play with only Stuart Holden doing so earlier, netting in the fourth minute of a 1-0 win over Chicago in 2009.


Real Salt Lake saw their 15-match undefeated streak ended last time out but still appear the narrow favourites for this clash.

However, the Charlotte defeat left RSL with just two wins from their last six matches, while Houston are on their own impressive unbeaten run.

The Dynamo are undefeated in six outings, only producing just one longer unbeaten run within a single regular season over the last decade – a seven-match streak from July to September last season.

Houston also did not lose any of their six meetings with RSL last season (W3 D3), though those three wins are the Dynamo's only successes in this fixture since 2017.

RSL will be desperate to find a form of yesteryear and restore their imperious head-to-head record this time around.


Real Salt Lake win – 51.2%

Draw – 24.8%

Houston Dynamo win – 24%