For the first time at home, and only the second time this season, Real came out in a 4-3-3 formation rather than their customary 4-4-2 diamond midfield. After an opening 10 minutes that saw Houston emerge as the aggressors, RSL began to find its rhythm in its new shape.
"I like mixing things up," head coach Jason Kreis explained. "I think Houston spent the entire week planning for playing against the diamond, and then halfway through the first half, they're changing their formation to match ours. So I think it keeps our opposing players on their toes. I'm pleased with having the ability to do something a little different, but not fully pleased with the way we played."
After Houston's Adam Moffat undercut Olmes Garcia inside the box resulting in a penalty kick, Saborio buried the PK for his 9th goal in just 11 MLS games this season.
RSL almost took the lead in the 32nd minute when Joao Plata rocketed a shot that ricocheted off the crossbar.
Houston rarely challenged RSL's defense, as Nick Rimando did not have to work hard to record the shutout.
"Don't get me wrong, I love to put teams away, but sometimes it feels good to get a 1-0 shutout," said defender Chris Wingert. "Especially since we've been letting up a few goals at the end of games lately, we did a good job to shut them down."
"It's a big confidence booster," added defender Tony Beltran. "We hadn't gotten [a shutout] in a couple weeks. We knew that if we got a shutout, the way our forwards are playing, we were going to get a win."
Real Salt Lake (12-7-5) now has 41 points, two more than Sporting Kansas City in the race for the Supporter's Shield.
Real will next travel to play the defending champions LA Galaxy next Saturday at 8:30 p.m. in a game that will be televised by ABC-4.