A Tale of 2 MLS Draws: Real Salt Lake-Houston Dynamo and D.C. United-Toronto FC

SANDY, UT - JULY 17: Marcelo Silva
SANDY, UT - JULY 17: Marcelo Silva /

When the Houston Dynamo visited Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC visited D.C. United both games ended in a draw. One team in each match played a man down.

But the Houston Dynamo struggle mightily on the road. Yet with a man down they held Real Salt Lake scoreless. Even more dramatically in the other match, Toronto FC stands atop the Eastern Conference and went a man down. They drew last-place D.C. United only because of a goalmouth scramble resulting in an own goal.

HOUSTON, TX – MARCH 12: Members of Houston Dynamo celebrate after Andrew Wenger
HOUSTON, TX – MARCH 12: Members of Houston Dynamo celebrate after Andrew Wenger /

Real Salt Lake draws Houston Dynamo

The Dynamo’s offense-heavy scheme rarely helps them on the road. Real Salt Lake has had success at home. So the game turned grim last Saturday with Alex’s yellow-red card in the 65th minute. The Dynamo lost a player.

Then the Houston Dynamo instantly unleashed a defensive scheme not seen before this season.

Yet the Houston side didn’t forget their offense.

In the second-half stoppage time, M Dylan Remick headed a corner kick toward the goal. Had it not deflected off M Boniek Garcia, the Dynamo would have won their second road game of the season.

They still got a point, drawing 0-0.

"Dynamo Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera: The plan changed when we lost Alex. So we had to execute something different and they responded very well. When you don’t concede a goal during a game, it is always good."

HARRISON, NJ – APRIL 15: Lloyd Sam
HARRISON, NJ – APRIL 15: Lloyd Sam /

D.C. United draws Toronto FC

To have any chance at all with a much stronger Toronto FC team last Saturday, D.C. United G Bill Hamid and his  teammates had to play career games.

Hamid reached the level needed, with several highlight-reel saves including a one-on-one against F Sebastian Giovinco. Others on the last-place D.C. United squad reached a new plateau.


D Kofi Opare found his zone of excellence with a goal in the sixth minute. He scored his first goal of the season, and the one that drew their formidable opponent.

So D.C. United protected the 1-1 draw after a 44th minute direct red card to M Lloyd Sam.

"United Head Coach Ben Olsen: The second half was a different ball game because we were down to 10 men but it took guts and the guys dug in. We were selfless and disciplined in how we defended for the second half. It was a performance that we can build on."

Next: MLS considers $2 million TAM increase

The Dynamo didn’t look like a road-struggling team, nor did D.C. United look like a a last place team last Saturday. These teams climbed to greater performance plateaus. No turning back now.