Real Salt Lake forward Jefferson Savarino (10) celebrates after scoring against the Houston Dynamo during the second half of an MLS playoff soccer match Monday, Nov. 6, 2023, in Sandy, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
SANDY, Utah (AP) — Jefferson Savarino scored the equalizer in the second half and Real Salt Lake forced a rubber match in the best-of-3 first-round series with a 5-4 shootout victory over the Houston Dynamo on Monday night.
Amine Bassi gave Houston (14-12-9) a 1-0 halftime lead when he scored unassisted in the 28th minute, but he was denied a goal by Zac MacMath in the first round of the shootout.
Savarino knotted the match in the 70th minute for Real Salt Lake (15-12-8), scoring unassisted.
MacMath finished with four saves for RSL. Steve Clark saved two shots for the Dynamo.
Cristian Arango, Damir Kreilach, Savarino, Brayan Vera and 20-year-old Diego Luna delivered goals in that order in the shootout for Real Salt Lake.
Adalberto Carrasquilla, Thorleifur Úlfarsson, Griffin Dorsey and Nelson Quiñónes scored for the Dynamo after Bassi’s miss.
Real Salt Lake snapped a three-match losing streak against Houston. The Dynamo, who had a 3-0 road victory over RSL in August, fall to 3-11-6 all time in Utah.
Real Salt Lake played its first postseason match at home since a 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers in a 2019 first-round matchup. The club improves to 7-2-3 all time at home in the playoffs. RSL has not lost on its home field in the postseason since a 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders in 2012.
Houston is 3-2-4 in its last nine matches away from home in all competitions. The Dynamo’s six road wins in all competitions are their most since also winning six times away from home in 2013.
The Dynamo won the opener 2-1 in Houston.
The series finale will be played on Saturday in Houston.