Coming into tonight’s contest at Children’s Mercy Park against Sporting Kansas City, interim manager Davy Arnaud was still seeking his first three points since taking over for Wilmer Cabrera. Unfortunately, he’ll have to keep waiting as the Dynamo were defeated 1-0 on the road. The Dynamo were coming off an embarrassing 5-1 loss against FC Dallas so this game was an important game to rebound off of. However, SKC’s style of play and the Dynamo’s lack of energy at times helped the home side stick it out for three points.
Sporting Kansas City flew out of the gate showcasing their high press and quick attacking style of play. Inside the first minute they came deep into Dynamo territory nearly connecting for a shot, but the Dynamo were rewarded with a free kick to halt the early pressure.
SKC would get a free kick at the top of the Dynamo’s 18 yard box in the 5th minute after Alberth Elis brought down Luis Martíns. The free kick was sent in by Johnny Russell and fortunately it was easily headed away. It would fall to Graham Zusi who launched it into the stands.
It would be the home side that would get on the board first as the Dynamo once again struggled to defend a cross into the box. Graham Smith was able to keep a ball in play and he quickly turned before his defender could get to him. He then played a terrific ball across goal for Johnny Russell to rise up and head into the back of the net.
The Dynamo had a great chance to respond to SKC’s goal in the 28th minute as Elis sent Christian Ramirez a fantastic ball in to potentially go 1v1 with SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia. However, the ball took an unfortunate bounce – one that Ramirez did not expect – and the following shot would go right to Melia.
Just before halftime Joe Willis made a terrific play out of the back. SKC had utilized a high press and that allows for some room to counter if played quickly. Willis looked up and saw Elis in a good position and launched him a great ball from the back which put Elis in on goal, but Melia was able to make the save.
Houston came out very strong to start the second half. A poor ball by Graham Smith out of the back saw Christian Ramirez pounce on it before it could reach Felipe Gutiérrez. Gutiérrez was forced to bring down Ramirez at the top of the box which earned him a yellow card. The following free kick by Ramirez was blocked by the wall and even though it was sent back in to the box, it would be cleared by SKC.
A.J. DeLaGarza in the 66th minute gave up a foul in a dangerous position for Kansas City at the top of the box. Johnny Russell delivered a shot that looked destined for the back of the net but a full stretch save by Joe Willis kept the deficit at one.
In the 73rd minute it appeared that the Dynamo equalized, but the goal would be called back for Elis being in an offside position. Tomás Martínez played a great ball over the top to Elis who made a run into the box. Elis then played the ball across goal to Ramirez who put the ball in the net, but the assistant referee called the play back.
The final whistle would blow and the Dynamo would lose their second straight and have been winless in their last seven league matches. Kansas City’s high pressing style along with their great link up play really did the Dynamo in. Houston tried to sit back and exploit space on the counter which was effective in their comeback draw against Colorado, but this time it didn’t work. The Dynamo were too slow to play the ball into space and the result allowed SKC to get numbers back behind the ball. Houston did have some chances when they played quickly and with energy, but it wasn’t enough and the end of the match saw our side chasing the game with SKC killing it off with possession.
The Dynamo will have a little time off due to an international break, but will return to action back at BBVA Stadium Wednesday September 11th against Minnesota United FC at 7:30 PM CT.
12’ SKC: Johnny Russell (assisted by Graham Smith, Felipe Gutiérrez)
47’ SKC: Felipe Gutiérrez (yellow card)
61’ HOU: Oscar Boniek García (yellow card)
64’ HOU: A.J. DeLaGarza (yellow card)
89’ HOU: Matías Vera (yellow card)
90’ + 3’ HOU: Maynor Figueroa (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Joe Willis; Adam Lundqvist, Maynor Figueroa, Kiki Struna, A.J. DeLaGarza (69’ Kevin Garcia); Oscar Boniek García, Tommy McNamara (81’ Niko Hansen), Matías Vera; Memo Rodríguez (59’ Tomás Martínez), Christian Ramirez, Alberth Elis
Sporting Kansas City (4-1-4-1): Tim Melia; Luis Martíns, Matt Besler, Graham Smith, Graham Zusi; Felipe Gutiérrez; Dániel Sallói (70’ Gerso), Roger Espinoza (70’ Ilie Sánchez), Benny Feilhaber (81’ Jimmy Medranda), Johnny Russell; Erik Hurtado