Houston Dynamo vs Real Salt Lake: Live blog
Corey Baird finds the opener for Houston Dynamo
Gooooooooaaaal! Corey Baird
The hosts have the lead!
It was a bit of a scramble in the RSL penalty box but the Houston forward was there to prod the ball home.
Houston Dynamo are ahead!
That chance for Dorsey has got the Houston supporters back on their feet and has whipped up the atmosphere once more.
Griffin Dorsey makes a brilliant run from the halfway line, driving through the RSL defence. He reaches the penalty box and looks to pass the ball into the bottom corner but gets it all wrong and his effort bobbles wide of the post.
Glorious opening for Houston there!
Neat footwork from Zac Macmath as the RSL goalkeeper coolly truns away from Griffin Dorsey on the edge of the six-yard box. Ice in his veins.
Decent effort from Andros Gomez, who cuts inside from the right and fires a left-footed shot just wide of the Houston goal.
First attempt from the visitors.
Brilliant pass from Herrera looks to get Quinones sprinting clear on the right wing. Houston win a throw-in.
Corey Baird is absolutely furious after the referee blows for a foul on the Houston striker. His reaction, as much as the challenge itself, earns him a booking.
RSL have managed to take the sting out of the game after a quick start from Houston.
The hosts are still having plenty of the ball but RSL's midfield structure is making it hard for Houston to progress through the middle.
Hector Herrera is down after being clattered by Brayan Vera. The Mexican wants the RSL defender to be booked, but he gets away with a talking to.
Glimpse of an opening for Diego Luna as he sprints after an ambitious long ball out of the RSL defence.
He doesn't get the ball but RSL are more successful with the second line of the press and win a throw-in on the right flank.
After ten minutes there's a clear pattern starting to develop.
Houston are dominating possession, looking to prise apart a resolution RSL defence with sharp interplay in the middle. RSL are playing a little more directly, but have willing runners in Anderson and Luna.
Good running from Anderson Julio to latch onto a long ball played into the right channel. The RSL frontman looks to find a teammate in the middle but his pass is cut out.
Delicate chip over the RSL defence from Amine Bassi, searching for Artur running behind the backline.
The ball just misses the Houston midfielder, but it was a nice idea from Bassi.
Hector Herrera delivers a wide freekick from the right, it drifts into the box but evades the Houston attackers. RSL clear up field and Diego Luna is able to put his foot on the ball.
First bit of possession for RSL now.
First opening of the game goes to Dorsey. The Houston right back surged into the RSL box and lashed a shot at goal, but it flies hopelessly over the crossbar.
Nearly an opening for Houston as Bassi found himself in space on the right flank, looking to fire a low cross into the box. A RSL defender gets back to intercept the pass and clear the danger.
The hosts are enjoying the lion's share of the ball in the opening stages, shifting the ball from side to side.
And we're off!
Houston get us underway at Shell Energy Stadium for this all-important playoff decider...
Everything on the line in Houston
What an atmosphere we have for tonight's game! Two strong, evenly-matched teams.
Only one will make it through to face LAFC in the Conference semi-finals...
The players are out in Houston for this playoff decider. The hosts come into the game as favourites on home turf but RSL have talented forwards who can hurt Houston on the counter-attack.
Recap: Diego Luna wins it for RSL
Real Salt Lake went into Game Two knowing that they had to beat Houston Dynamo to keep their playoff journey alive. The game went to penalties and, after Houston opener Amine Bassi missed, RSL scored all five penalties to secure the victory.
The crucial fifth penalty was taken by Diego Luna, the 20-year-old who scored RSL's only goal in Game One.
PASSION OF THE PLAYOFFS
Steve Clark interview: “I hope we’ve brought success to Houston Dynamo”
Ahead of tonight's must-win clash, we caught up with Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark to get a sense of the mood in the camp. Clark has been crowned Conference champion three times in his MLS career but is yet to win the big one, MLS Cup.
He talks us through his journey to this point, the influence of Hector Herrera, and this team's MLS Cup credentials...
No Chicho Arango for Real Salt Lake
The visitors starting XI is in and there's bad news for fans of Real Salt Lake. DP striker Christian 'Chicho' Arango is only on the substitutes bench as he continues his recovery from injury.
He changed the game when he came on as a second half substitute in Utah, can he do the same for RSL tonight>
Here's how Houston Dynamo line up
No surprises for the hosts as Ben Olsen names an unchanged side from Game Two. That midfield trio of Artur, Herrera and Carrasquilla struggled to dominate out in Utah but they should have the quality to dictate the game on home turf.
RSL rocking the Beehive kit for crucial decider
Real Salt Lake will be wearing their Beehive kit for tonight's must-win Game at Shell Energy Stadium. Pablo Mastroeni's side had to ride their luck in Game Two but showed real character to secure a win on penalties, scoring all five of their spot kicks.
If tonight's Game is tied after 90 minutes again, we'll be going straight to a penalty shootout to decide which team advances to the semi-finals.
Calm before the storm at Shell Energy Stadium
In little over an hour, we'll be underway with all the action from this winners-takes-all playoff decider. Before this season Houston Dynamo had not made the post-season since 2018 and the home support will be looking to push their team over the line this evening.
We're expecting team news very shortly...
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS
MLS Playoffs schedule: who has qualified for the Conference Semi-Finals?
Houston Dynamo and Real Salt lake are looking to secure one of the two remaining spots in the MLS Cup Conference Finals. With this best-of-three series tied, the winner of tonight's Game Three will progress through to the semi-final to face LAFC.
Here's the full list of teams already qualified...
HH in the house
Here he is! The Houston Dynamo captain arrives at Shell Energy Stadium for this crucial playoff Hector Herrera has been in incredible form this season, contributing 17 assists and five goals, and will be looking to leave his mark on tonight's game.
Hello and welcome to AS USA, where we'll be bringing you full live coverage of Houston Dynamo vs Real Salt Lake.
Ben Olsen's side will be the favourites at Shell Energy Stadium, but a Chicho Arango-inspired RSL could cause Houston real problems.
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