Three in a row. The Houston Dynamo were once again victorious against a Sporting Kansas City side that kept the game very close. SKC was locked into their game plan of pressing high and keeping a high back line. As the game wore on and Tab Ramos made changes, it proved to be too much in the 2-1 comeback win for Houston.
Early into the game it felt similar to the previous meeting between the two clubs with SKC coming out aggressively which pinned the Dynamo back in their own half forcing them to rely on counter attacks. Possession was a little sloppy by Houston which led to a few chances for the visitors, but the defense was up to stopping them.
In the 19th minute Houston finally looked threatening on the offensive side with Niko Hansen trying his luck possibly from an offside position. However, Tim Melia read the shot well and kept the two sides locked at 0-0.
Hansen’s attempt on goal seemed to wake up the Dynamo who up until that point had looked more reserved and measured which didn’t equate to increased possession or chances. After Hansen’s shot, the Dynamo began to press higher up the field and won passes in the midfield which led to some good runs.
In the 28th minute the Dynamo were able to win the ball in the midfield with Darwin Cerén finding Zarek Valentin on the wing. Valentin played a beautiful through ball to Hansen who tried to pick out Christian Ramirez, but the effort was blocked.
Even with momentum beginning to sway towards Houston, Kansas City would get the game’s first goal. A terrific through ball found Khiry Shelton behind Valentin. Marko Marić made a great reaction save to keep Shelton from scoring, but the ball fell to Erik Hurtado who buried the rebounded shot.
Houston came close to equalizing before halftime with Darwin Quintero playing a perfectly weighted through ball to Christian Ramirez. Ramirez did well to read the ball and prevent his defender Matt Besler from making a play on the ball, but his shot hit the crossbar and went out for a goal kick.
Both sides came out aggressive in the first half with the ball quickly moving through the midfield to the forwards of each team, but neither team had a great effort to test the goalkeepers.
In the 58th minute, Houston began finding more room which was likely due to substitutes Ariel Lassiter and Alberth Elis. The equalizer came just a minute later with Quintero playing a ball over the top to Darwin Cerén. Cerén took a touch and played a ball across goal to Alberth Elis who leveled the game with a tap in.
Quintero tried to put the home side up in the 64th minute with Lassiter laying the ball off to the playmaker. Quintero took a touch and tried to blast one in the lower corner from distance, but SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia was able to get low and make the save.
In the 76th minute Quintero played a great ball to Ari Lassiter who had tons of space in front of him. He went 1v1 with Melia who got a touch to it, and Lassiter’s final shot was into the side netting.
The home side would capture the lead in the 85th minute with substitute Mauro Manotas making his presence known. After some patient build up play, Quintero whipped the ball across to Zarek Valentin. Valentin calmly curled a ball into the 6 yard box and found the head of Manotas which easily beat Tim Melia.
The final whistle would blow and Houston notched their third win in a row. Tab Ramos’s second half adjustments and use of substitutes were crucial to getting the win. The fresh legs against SKC, who had worn themselves down some by pressing high for so long, were too much for the visitors. Hungry players off the bench helped attack space behind and convert.
Next up for the Dynamo is the Colorado Rapids in Commerce City, CO next Wednesday September 9th at 8:00 PM CT.
30’ SKC: Erik Hurtado
59’ HOU: Alberth Elis (assisted by Darwin Cerén, Darwin Quintero)
85’ HOU: Mauro Manotas (assisted by Zarek Valentin, Darwin Quintero)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Marko Marić; Adam Lundqvist, Maynor Figueroa, Alejandro Fuenmayor (80’ Kiki Struna), Zarek Valentin; Memo Rodríguez (80’ Mauro Manotas), Matías Vera, Darwin Cerén; Darwin Quintero (87’ Oscar Boniek García), Christian Ramirez (58’ Ariel Lassiter), Niko Hansen (58’ Alberth Elis)
Sporting Kansas City (4-3-3): Tim Melia; Amadou Dia, Matt Besler, Roberto Puncec, Jaylin Lindsey; Gadi Kinda (77’ Winston Reid), Gianluca Busio, Felipe Hernandez (62’ Gerso); Khiry Shelton, Erik Hurtado (62’ Johnny Russell), Graham Zusi