It was an unbelievable night for the Houston Dynamo who pulled out all the stops in a road victory over rivals Sporting Kansas City. The win was Tab Ramos’s first for the Dynamo and he can be proud up and down the field of the performances his team put in. The final score was 5-2 and the Dynamo never looked like they ever intended to sit on their lead.
Sporting Kansas City came out aggressively in the opening minutes utilizing a high press which forced Houston deeper in their half of the field and it led to some turnovers. Kiki Struna cleared a low cross out for a corner which led to a header that was off the mark. Not long after that Gianluca Busio forced a save by Marko Marić after letting a shot rip from about 35 yards out. In the opening 10 minutes, Kansas amassed 3 corners although they were unable to capitalize on those set pieces. However, the visitors would find a way back into the game.
The Dynamo got their first good look on goal in the 15th minute with Darwin Quintero beating his defender on the left wing. After cutting inside he fired a shot that was saved by KC goalkeeper Tim Melia before being cleared.
Momentum began to swing in Houston’s favor after letting SKC press for the first 15 minutes. A sweet give and go between Darwin Quintero and Memo Rodríguez led to the game’s first goal which included a great back heel by Memo. Quintero weaved through defenders and set up Alberth Elis for a tap in. SKC defenders cried offside, but the run was checked by VAR and the goal stood. Just a minute later, Elis nearly forced an own goal by a Kansas City defender after his shot took a deflection, but it was off the post.
It wouldn’t take long for SKC to equalize. Figueroa tried to play the offside trap, but Gerso’s run was perfect and he sent in a cross destined for Alan Pulido, which was cleared awkwardly by Kiki Struna. Zarek Valentin tried to head the ball off the line and out of danger, but Johnny Russell was there to bang it in.
Elis tried the get the Dynamo back on top as he found acres of space on a counter attack. He played a low ball towards Christan Ramirez, but the low cross was poor and Melia got to it. Even though he spilled it, there were no Dynamo players near it to capitalize on the error.
Houston responded well to Kansas City’s equalizer and did well to win the ball in the midfield and to spring counter attacks with KC players likely a little tired after their early pressure.
Just before halftime the Dynamo would recapture the lead. A great switch by Quintero to Elis on the right wing led to another tap in this time by Christian Ramirez. Quintero’s perfectly weighted cross set up Elis with enough space to take a touch and drill a low cross to the feet of Ramirez who put it passed Melia.
Niko Hansen, who came on for Alberth Elis at halftime, got the Dynamo off the second half off to a good start. Valentin played a ball out of the back to Christian Ramirez who helped it on which found Hansen with acres of space. He had Quintero to his left, but Hansen showed the confidence to chip Melia to make it 3-1 in the 48th minute.
However, SKC responded in a bizarre turn of events. A set piece led to the ball bouncing off the top of the crossbar and then finding its way to Gadi Kinda who acrobatically hit it off the post, this time bouncing over the line. VAR would check and confirm the goal for the home side.
The Dynamo were about to blow up the score line with a pair of quick goals by Quintero. After a give and go between Quintero and Darwin Cerén, which included a nice back heel by Cerén, Quintero would take a few touches across the middle of the 18 yard box and he let it go beating Melia in the lower right corner.
Just four minutes later Hansen would find space in the midfield and take on his defenders. He spotted Quintero running back post and placed a perfectly weighted ball across to Quintero to beat the onrushing Kansas City goalkeeper.
Kansas City nearly pulled one back at the end of the game, but after a header looked like it had beaten Marko Marić, Maynor Figueroa chested the ball off the line and cleared it away from danger with his head.
The final whistle would blow and the Dynamo and coaches can feel proud of this performance. They never sat back on their lead, they stretched KC with their speed on the wings, switched the ball quickly and at the right times, punished KC for committing too many players forward, and possessed well late in the game to make KC chase and to kill the game off.
Next up for the Dynamo is Minnesota United FC back in Houston next Wednesday, September, 2nd at 7:00 PM CT.
17’ HOU: Alberth Elis (assisted by Darwin Quintero, Memo Rodríguez)
26’ SKC: Johnny Russell
44’ HOU: Christian Ramirez (assisted by Alberth Elis, Darwin Quintero)
48’ HOU: Niko Hansen (assisted by Christian Ramirez, Zarek Valentin)
49’ SKC: Gadi Kinda
57’ HOU: Darwin Quintero (assisted by Darwin Cerén)
61’ HOU: Darwin Quintero (assisted by Niko Hansen)
25’ HOU: Matías Vera (yellow card)
38’ SKC: Gianluca Busio (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Marko Marić; Adam Lundqvist, Maynor Figueroa, Kiki Struna, Zarek Valentin; Memo Rodríguez (80’ Tomás Martínez), Matías Vera, Darwin Cerén (90’+1’ Nico Lemoine) ; Darwin Quintero (66’ Oscar Boniek García) , Christian Ramirez (66’ Mauro Manotas), Alberth Elis (HT Niko Hansen)
Sporting Kansas City (4-1-4-1): Tim Melia; Jaylin Lindsey, Winston Reid, Matt Besler, Graham Zusi; Gianluca Busio; Gerso (58’ Khiry Shelton), Roger Espinoza (58’ Felipe Hernandez), Gadi Kinda (72’ Cameron Duke), Johnny Russell (64’ Dániel Sallói); Alan Pulido (64’ Erik Hurtado)