Houston Dynamo FC tried to follow up their win against the Vancouver Whitecaps with a road victory against Sporting Kansas City, but came up short in a 3-2 loss. The Dynamo played well in the first half to hold the lead, but were no match for SKC in the second half at Children’s Mercy Park.
Sporting Kansas City were the team in control during the opening minutes. Khiry Shelton misread a pass, but his run got him on goal, thankfully Dynamo goalkeeper Marko Marić was alert to it. Not long after that attempt Derrick Jones fouled a Kansas player in a dangerous spot, but the wall did its job and the ball was successfully cleared.
The Dynamo weathered the initial pressure by SKC and began to increase their possession which slowed the game down and took the noise out of the stadium. Then the Dynamo pounced on an opportunity and opened the game’s scoring. First Fafà Picault did outstanding to win back possession near the end line. He played a ball to Maxi Urruti who somehow spun and laid the ball off to Matías Vera who beat SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia.
Following the goal, the Dynamo seemed more confident in their possession even with SKC controlling that category of statistics. That helped them take the crowd out of the game and let them not give up the ball in dangerous positions of the field. This has let them defend well in the middle of the field to take away SKC’s ability to create chances by forcing their play out wide. The best chances the home side had came through though corner kicks.
Kansas City came close to equalizing in the 40th minute. The cross that came in was likely misread by the back line which curved outside rather than curving toward goal. Roger Espinoza hit the ball well which was saved by Marko Marić.
Just two minutes later Marić was at it again with his heroics. Dániel Sallói whipped in a cross towards Shelton who headed the ball strongly forcing Marić to keep the Dynamo’s lead.
The two sides would go into halftime with the visitors up a goal. The Dynamo strategy of clogging the middle and forcing SKC wide and relying on the counter attack for offense was largely successful at denying SKC quality chances and getting the Dynamo some opportunities of their own. However, later in the half the defense began to show some cracks.
Sporting Kansas City came out aggressive to open the second half forcing a few corner kicks. In the 50th minute Gadi Kinda played a great through ball to Sallói who went 1v1 with Marić. Marić did well to make some contact on the ball and Adam Lundkvist then cleared the ball off the line.
Following a free kick surrendered by Vera, Gianluca Busio delivered a stunning equalizer.
The Dynamo tried to get the lead in the 57th minute following a corner kick by Kansas City. Houston took possession and Picault and Maxi Urruti exchanged passes on the counter attack. Urruti looked to go in on Melia, but his final touch made it easier for Melia to make the block.
The home team would take the lead in the 61st minute. Oscar Boniek García lunged and drew a foul on Alan Pulido inside the 18 yard box. Pulido stepped up to take it and was able to convert.
Things would get worse for the Dynamo in the 65th minute. A poor turnover in the midfield led to a SKC counter attack. The ball would flow freely among the KC attackers and fall to Gadi Kinda who one timed it into the goal to put the home team up 3-1.
As the game continued to go on, SKC began to sit slightly deeper to defend their lead. However, the Dynamo just struggled to maintain possession which gave the home side more confidence controlling the ball in all areas of the field.
The Dynamo had a great chance to get a goal back, but came up short. Picault had a great run down towards the end line and squared a pass across goal for someone to run onto. Ari Lassiter came closest, but was unable to make contact.
Towards the end of the game, both sides exchanged some very close chances. First Johnny Russell for SKC had a great run at goal with numbers forward, but the space eventually got too tight and Marić easily made the space. Then the Dynamo had a free kick where Tim Parker got on the end of the cross, but Tim Melia made the save and the ball was cleared from danger.
Houston would get a consolation goal in stoppage time thanks to a brilliant pass by Darwin Cerén to Mateo Bajamich to set up the counter attack. Bajamich knew the Dynamo had numbers forward and continued his run before laying the pass off to Maxi Urruti to finish.
Still, after the final whistle the Dynamo would fall 3-2 on the road. The team executed their game plan well in the first half, but individual mistakes and poor turnovers led to increased possession in our half and chances for Kansas. This also led to a reduced number of chances for the Dynamo.
Next up for the Dynamo is LAFC at 10:00 PM CT on June 19th at Banc of California Stadium.
13’ HOU: Matías Vera (assisted by Maxi Urruti)
51’ SKC: Gianluca Busio
61’ SKC: Alan Pulido (penalty)
65’ SKC: Gadi Kinda (assisted by Gianluca Busio)
90’+4’ HOU: Maxi Urruti (assisted by Mateo Bajamich)
42’ HOU: Matías Vera (yellow card)
82’ HOU: Oscar Boniek García (yellow card)
90’+1’ SKC: Graham Zusi (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Marko Marić; Adam Lundkvist, Oscar Boniek García, Tim Parker, Zarek Valentin; Matías Vera (80’ Mateo Bajamich), Derrick Jones (67’ Darwin Cerén), Joe Corona; Memo Rodríguez (67’ Ariel Lassiter), Maxi Urruti, Fafà Picault
Sporting Kansas City (4-3-3): Tim Melia; Luís Martins, Andreu Fontàs, Ilie, Graham Zusi; Gadi Kinda, Gianluca Busio, Roger Espinoza (77’ Rémi Walter) Dániel Sallói, Alan Pulido, Khiry Shelton (74’ Johnny Russell)