The Houston Dynamo battled to a 1-1 draw in Sporting Park against Kansas City Saturday night, in a testy match that really highlighted how much these two teams hate each other. The game ended with over 30 combined fouls, a red card, and 6 yellows. Tensions were high for sure with the Houston Dynamo, who had not forgotten about Roger Espinoza punching Dynamo captain Brad Davis in the face in their last tilt.
These longtime bitter rivals last met a week and a half ago when Sporting Kansas City knocked Houston out of the US Open Cup with a 3-1 win. The previous regular season meeting of these two sides took place in Houston, which ended in a 4-4 draw.
Sporting Kansas City was tied on points with Seattle and Portland, so they could have really used 3 full points to jump up into the top 3. Houston would have tied on points with Real Salt Lake with a win, but getting out with a point draws them to within 2 points of RSL and increases the lead over San Jose and Colorado.
It took Sporting only 6 minutes take the lead, after Houston conceded a corner, and Benny Feilhaber delivered his 11th assist of the season to KC forward Dominic Dwyer. Will Bruin had a fantastic opportunity to equalize in the 11th minute, when he beat his defender and had a 1 on 1 with the keeper. Bruin tried to dribble the ball past him, but SKC keeper Tim Melia was able to scoop it away and then fall on top of it.
Brad Davis kept Melia on his toes in the 32nd minute, when he picked up a pass from Will Bruin and blasted a screaming shot off his left foot that Melia swatted away to keep the SKC lead.
Tempers flared in the 44th. Dom Dwyer knocked down Tyler Deric on a drive towards goal, and Deric responded by knocking Dwyer down and standing over him. A scrum ensued, but the cooler heads on each team were able to keep a fight from breaking out.
Just after halftime, Dom Dwyer came within inches of pickup up his second goal of the match. After Houston conceded a corner and Graham Zusi whipped it into the box, Dwyer headed the ball on goal as he was falling towards the ground. Tyler Deric missed the ball, but luckily, Dynamo defender DaMarcus Beasley was able to clear it just in front of the goal line.
If Sporting thought that they were going to grab three points at home, then their hearts were broken in the 77th minute by Ricardo Clark, who tapped in a beautiful looping cross off of a free kick from Brad Davis. Clark immediately grabbed his left leg and collapsed to the ground with what appeared to be a cramp.
For the second straight match, a ten man Dynamo crew had to hold their own against a fully staffed SKC. In the 86th minute, Nathan Sturgis made a reckless challenge on Roger Espinoza that earned him a straight red card from head referee Jorge Gonzalez.
Krisztian Nemeth had a superb finish of a through ball from Feilhaber in the 3rd minute of extra time that could have won the game, but was called offsides. Late in extra time, Houston got very lucky that the referee missed a handball that could have given Sporting a chance at a win.
Houston will try to pick up those critical 3 points next Saturday at BBVA, where they will host the San Jose Earthquakes.
Houston (4-4-2): Tyler Deric, Sheanon Williams, David Horst, Raul Rodriguez, DaMarcus Beasley, Giles Barnes, Nathan Sturgis, Alex (Leonel Miranda 72’), Brad Davis, Ricardo Clark (Luis Garrido 80’), Will Bruin (Erick Torres 62’)
Sporting Kansas City (4-3-3): Tim Melia, Chance Myers (Saad Abdul-Salaam 79’), Kevin Ellis, Matt Besler, Amadou Dia, Benny Feilhaber, Soni Mustivar, Roger Espinoza (Paulo Nagamura 90’), Graham Zusi (Jacob Peterson 90 + 4’), Dominic Dwyer, Krisztian Németh
Sporting Kansas City: Dominic Dwyer (6’)
Houston Dynamo: Ricardo Clark (78’)
Yellow: Matt Besler (20’) Dominic Dwyer (45’), Tyler Deric (45’) Kevin Ellis (65’) Chance Myers (76’) Erick Torres (80’)
Red: Nathan Sturgis (86’)