Real Salt Lake (4-0-5) at Houston (4-4-2), 7 p.m.
Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake will test their respective unbeaten runs when the two sides meet at BBVA Compass Stadium on Sunday.
Houston was riding a six-game winless streak until a 4-1 demolition of Chivas USA got the club back on track. A narrow defeat of the Columbus Crew on Wednesday has even helped the Dynamo improve to 14 points to see the club climb into a four-way tie for top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Will Bruin netted the lone tally of Houston's defeat of Columbus on Wednesday, his third consecutive match with a goal. It was something of an awkward finish for Bruin, who rose above the Crew defense to get his shoulder to a Brad Davis free kick and send the ball over the line, but it was the type of goal that often accompanies a hot streak.
"I've been doing a lot of shrugs in the gym, and I just shrugged it over the goal," Bruin told media members after Wednesday's affair. "I'm just trying to get in the box, get on the end of service and I'll take if it just redirects off my gut and goes in."
Real Salt Lake, meanwhile, has yet to taste defeat in league play under the guidance of first-year head coach Jeff Cassar.
The Claret and Cobalt are the last remaining MLS team without a loss this season, but it has not necessarily been a smooth ride.
Salt Lake was made to come from two goals down to take maximum points from its last outing as Joao Plata netted a stoppage-time winner in a 3-2 defeat of the Chicago Fire.
"This team has unbelievable character," Cassar said. "It's a credit to them. They knew that they had it in them, and you could just see with that first goal, all we needed was that goal to get it going and build the confidence. After they got the second one, they were like, 'we might win this game.' It's unbelievable how they want to continue to push and go for wins on the road. It's fantastic."
They'll need to exhibit some character in Sunday's affair in order to achieve something Real Salt Lake never has before: win a match at Houston.
The Claret and Cobalt have managed just a single point from their travels to Houston, going 0-8-1 in their nine road matches against the Dynamo. That record speaks volumes not only about the competitive side that Dominic Kinnear has fielded over the years, but also about the fierce playing conditions in Texas.
"It's not the end-all, be-all, but it's definitely a factor," RSL defender Nat Borchers told the club's official website regarding Houston's harsh weather. "You live in a climate like this and then you go some of these places where it's hot and humid and you're not used to it. You make poor decisions when you're tired, and that weather definitely gets you tired."