It was really just a game where you have to finish your chances. We had one that we didn’t finish and an opposite play where they did finish. – RSL captain Kyle Beckerman
HOUSTON — Real Salt Lake suffered its second straight shutout with a 1-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo on Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium.
RSL dropped to 5-2-3 for the season and 1-2-3 away from home.
Fatigue might have caught up with RSL in the second half of a game that had already been postponed from Saturday evening's scheduled 6:30 p.m. start due to severe weather conditions.
Houston began to attack more frequently after halftime, culminating in the winning goal by Giles Barnes in the 65th minute.
Barnes took possession of a long goal kick from goalkeeper Joe Willis and a fortunate bounce to put the ball in the net against RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, who was making his second start of the season.
"(The goal) was kind of a weird play," Attinella said. "I saw Barnes broke through late, and once he was there, he was in. It was a long ball that got the better of us."
RSL coach Jeff Cassar accepted that the team's second game of the week and the delay had an effect on the team, but didn't want to use it as an excuse.
"We just weren't good enough in any of the areas," Cassar said. "We spoke at halftime that it was probably going to come down to one play. (The Dynamo goal) was a goal kick that bounced. It shouldn't have happened."
What will hurt even more is that the score came mere seconds after a series on the other end where RSL came close to scoring on two different plays.
A goal by Joao Plata was waved off when a foul was called by referee Juan Guzman prior to the shot.
RSL regained possession and got a pass to Yura Movsisyan, whose point-blank shot elevated over the net.
"It was really just a game where you have to finish your chances," RSL captain Kyle Beckerman said. "We had one that we didn't finish and an opposite play where they did finish."
RSL appeared to catch Houston on the back foot as the game opponent, pressing the attack and working the ball.
On the opposite end, Tony Beltran, Justen Glad and Jamison Olave keyed a defense that consistently kept the Dynamo out of the middle.
That changed after the break as the Dynamo gained the advantage.
"I actually thought our back line defended pretty well," Cassar said. "I don't think our front four defended the way we typical have been. We weren't good enough on the offensive end to not defend. If you're going to cheat like we did, you sure better put your chances away. And we didn't."
Perhaps the closest RSL came to scoring came off a Plata corner kick in the ninth minute that took an extreme curve toward the goal. Willis managed to snatch the ball out of the air just before the ball crossed the goal line. Playing the second of five straight road games, Cassar made the decision to give Attinella his second start of the season in place of veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
"There was a period of time in the second half that they were getting a lot of corner kicks and free kicks," Cassar said. "I thought Jeff did a good job of dealing with that. I thought our marking on set plays was pretty poor tonight. Too many free headers. But I thought Jeff was commanding in the box."
It was a welcome chance for Attinella to show what he could do.
"Jeff told me a few weeks ago that I was going to get this one," Attinella said. "Obviously you want to win, but it was good to be back out there. At the end of the day, if we don't win, that doesn't matter."