SANDY, Utah (AP) – Alvaro Saborio continued his torrid scoring pace and Real Salt Lake's defense clamped down on the Houston Dynamo for a 1-0 victory Saturday night.
Saborio converted a penalty kick in the 37th minute for his fifth goal in three games and Nick Rimando recorded three saves for his seventh shutout of the season.
Real Salt Lake improved to 12-7-5, and its 41 points are tops in Major League Soccer.
''I think we were a little flat in the first half,'' Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis said. ''All-in-all I'm really pleased. I think we got the result in a different way tonight and I think that's important heading into the stretch, you have to feel like you can win multiple ways.''
Salt Lake used a 4-3-3 formation against the Dynamo (9-7-6), a departure from its typical 4-4-2 set. The result was a domination in possession - 64 percent in the first half - and its first victory in four matches.
Saborio's goal came after teammate Olmes Garcia was taken down just inside the penalty box by Houston's Adam Moffat. Saborio beat goalkeeper Tally Hall in the lower right corner of the net for his ninth goal in 11 league matches this season.
Real Salt Lake's defense was untested most of the night, thanks largely to the advantage in possession. Houston did manage to put pressure on Rimando late, with five shots in the final 10 minutes.
Real Salt Lake defender Nat Borchers made a spinning takeaway against Will Bruin in the final minutes to thwart another opportunity.
Houston had won three of four overall entering the match, but fell to 3-5-3 on the road.
Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis took three shots, but was otherwise held in check by the back line of Borchers, Chris Wingert, Carlos Salcedo and Tony Beltran.