SANDY -- Real Salt Lake is glad to have Nick Rimando right back where he belongs.
Fresh off of its U.S. Open Cup semifinal win over the Portland Timbers on Wednesday, Real Salt Lake will return to league play tonight, when it will host the Houston Dynamo at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Tonight's game will kick off at 7:30 p.m.
This match will be the third in seven days for Real Salt Lake. The Claret-and-Cobalt went 1-0-1 in the first two games of its busy stretch, tying 2-2 at the Colorado Rapids last Saturday before beating the Timbers 2-1 in Open Cup action.
Rimando, RSL's cat-quick goalkeeper, spent much of the past month on U.S. National Team duty, but came up big on Wednesday.
The Timbers got into scoring position several times, but came away empty after some clutch saves from Rimando.
The biggest came in the 40th minute when Will Johnson kicked a right-footer down the center of the box. It looked like a sure goal, but Rimando managed to poke the ball away with his fingertips at the last minute.
"I need to figure out what he's eating so I can eat the same thing," RSL coach Jason Kreis said.
RSL enters tonight's match in first place in the Western Conference and in a tie with the New York Red Bulls at the top of the Supporters' Shield standings.
The Utah side leads the West in points per game and is tied for second in the league with New York in PPG, trailing only the Montreal Impact.
Today's contest is the only regular season meeting between RSL and the Dynamo this year. RSL lost its lone match against Houston last season, giving up a 93rd minute penalty kick goal to fall 1-0. RSL has done well against Houston at home, posting a 3-1-4 record.
Houston enters the match on a hot run of form, unbeaten in its last four games and winners of three of its last four. The Dynamo cruised to a relatively easy 3-1 victory over the Columbus Crew.
One key to RSL's success has been early scoring.
"Scoring early is big for us," Kreis said. "We reward ourselves from the momentum that we create at the beginning of the match. It is always important. We've done a good job of that lately."