Houston Dynamo FC were looking for their first win following back-to-back draws first against LAFC and then to in-state rivals FC Dallas. This time they returned home to BBVA Stadium and took care of business against another rival Sporting Kansas City. It was a back and forth game with each side taking hold of the momentum for long stretches. However, the Dynamo broke through and did well to keep Kansas City from equalizing. The ending of the game was one of the strangest we’ve seen in a long time with Dynamo Head Coach Tab Ramos getting thrown out.
The opening minutes were a little sloppy by both sides with Houston and Kansas City trying to play into form. The Dynamo were the first to turn on their pressure which saw Maxi Urruti attempt to capitalize on a deflected pass which put him 1v1 with SKC goalkeeper John Pulskamp, but Pulskamp made the save and Urruti was ruled offside anyways.
Play by both sides included lots of pressure and trying to capitalize on counter attacks and mistakes in the midfield. Early in the game the majority of the dangerous chances came by the home side. Just after the 10th minute following a short corner, Joe Corona perfectly picked out Tim Parker just outside of the 6 yard box, but the headed effort was off the mark.
As the game wore on, the Dynamo press which had been effective at limiting Kansas in the middle of the field began to wane and Sporting Kansas City increased their possession and pressure which made it difficult for the Dynamo to move the ball up the field. This led to more opportunities for the visitors including a shot by Gadi Kind that forced Dynamo goalkeeper Marko Marić to go full stretch.
Houston was able to get their second wind around the 30th minute mark and increased their pressure in the midfield with some good looks on goal, but that final touch or pass was lacking again even if the effort in the midfield was there.
By halftime, both sides would head to their respective locker rooms level with neither side really threatening or deserving the lead. Houston did very well with their shape to push Kansas City out wide to prevent service to their forwards which also helped them win the ball in the middle of the field. However, the offense was relatively one dimensional in that they often played the ball out wide and tried to cross it in, either in the air or as a low squared pass. This made it easy for Kansas City to defend with their back line.
The second half saw Kansas City take advantage of some sloppy possession by Houston. This allowed SKC to really push on goal and led to a big chance in the 51st minute. The Dynamo made some big tackles in the middle of the field, but it still fell to Dániel Sallói forcing a huge save by Marić.
Despite Kansas City being the team in control early in the second half, it was the Dynamo that found the back of the net first. Derrick Jones made a tackle in a great position and continued his run into the box. Maxi Urruti was able to get free and Jones laid the ball off to Urruti who smashed it into the net.
The visitors tried to respond not long after the opening goal as Luís Martins delivered a cross which was sent into the box to Gadi Kind, but his header was straight to Marko Marić. In the 65th minute, SKC nearly got it again, but Marić was there to deny the equalizer. The ball came in to Sallói from the wide position, but was closed down so Sallói laid the ball back to Alan Pulido, but Marić made the save.
The Dynamo had begun to play their way back into the game with increased possession inside Kansas’s half of the field. Following a failed counter by the visitors, Zarek Valentin played a great ball over the top to Fafà Picault who took his space and went 1v1 with the keeper. However, he opted for a chip and it wasn’t well executed. At all.
Just before the 90th minute Tab Ramos got his marching orders and had to leave the match. Fafà Picault was fouled right in front of the assistant referee, but no call was given. Ramos left the coaching area to stick up for his player and was shown a straight red from center official Chris Penso.
Overall, it was a good game and experience for the Dynamo who continue to show growth in the 2021 season. The defense and midfield did well with their shape to force play out wide and to win possession, and the offense was able to take advantage. Furthermore the play of Marko Marić and Derrick Jones stood out and they were instrumental in the outcome of this game.
The second half of this double game week will be against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on May 15th at 8:00 PM CT.
56’ HOU: Maxi Urruti (assisted by Derrick Jones)
70’ SKC: Roger Espinoza (yellow card)
90’+6’ HOU: Fafà Picault (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Marko Marić; Adam Lundkvist, Oscar Boniek García (46’ Maynor Figueroa) , Tim Parker, Zarek Valentin; Matías Vera, Derrick Jones, Joe Corona; Memo Rodríguez (69’ Darwin Cerén), Maxi Urruti (69’ Christian Ramirez), Fafà Picault
Sporting Kansas City (4-3-3): John Pulskamp; Luís Martins, Andreu Fontàs, Jaylin Lindsey, Gadi Kinda; Gianluca Busio, Ilie, Rémi Walter (69’ Roger Espinoza); Johnny Russell (20’ Dániel Sallói, Alan Pulido (801 Wilson Harris), Khiry Shelton