Sporting KC moves into first place in East with 0-0 draw against Houston Dynamo

Sporting Kansas City tied with D.C. United for top spot

Kamara vs Houston - DL

Photo Credit: 
Kory Brinton

LIVESTRONG Sporting Park | Kansas City, Kan.
Attendance: 19,307 (sell-out)
Weather: Sunny and 104 degrees
Video: Match Highlights

Score                                               

1

2

F

Sporting Kansas City (10-5-3, 33 pts)

0  

0    

0

Houston Dynamo (6-5-7, 25 pts)

0

0    

0

Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen©; Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Paulo Nagamura, Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi; Kei Kamara (Soony Saad 81), C.J. Sapong (Teal Bunbury 68), Jacob Peterson

Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Michael Harrington, Konrad Warzycha, Michael Thomas, Peterson Joseph

Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Jermaine Taylor, Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe; Adam Moffat, Brad Davis©, Luiz Camargo (Warren Creavalle 66); Macoumba Kandi (Brian Ownby 80), Boniek Garcia, Will Bruin (Brian Ching 66)

Subs not used: Tyler Deric, Nathan Sturgis, Colin Clark, Cam Weaver

Stats:              

KC

HOU

Shots                

17      

7

Shots on Goal   

4

2

Saves                

2         

4

Fouls                

11   

9

Offside            

0      

4

Corner Kicks    

8  

0

Misconduct Summary:
None

Scoring Summary:
None

Sporting Kansas City moved into a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference with a scoreless draw against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday in front of the seventh-straight sell out crowd at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen recorded his seventh shutout of the season, most in MLS, and the Sporting KC defense lowered their League-leading goals against average to 0.94.

Both sides exchanged early efforts amidst the 104-degree conditions. Graham Zusi sent his shot high in the opening minute and Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall came well of his line four minutes later to get a hand to Matt Besler's long throw-in with Aurelien Collin looming nearby.

Dynamo Designated Player Boniek Garcia got by Seth Sinovic on the right side in the game's ninth minute, laying a pass back for Will Bruin inside the penalty area. Besler slid to block the attempt and Paulo Nagamura was quick to clear the ball out of danger.

Boniek threatened again before the 15-minute mark, receiving a long pass on the right side from Corey Ashe. The Honduran international dribbled toward goal, but Sporting KC captain Jimmy Nielsen came off his line to make the stop in the one-on-one situation.

Sporting Kansas City continued to pressure on the offensive end in a half that saw the home side outshoot their opposition eight shots to two. Kei Kamara nearly got to a loose ball inside the Dynamo penalty area after a throw-in from Sinovic but Hall intervened at the final moment.

In the 33rd minute, Sporting Kansas City nearly opened the scoring on a well-taken shot from Jacob Peterson from 25 yards out. The attempt had Hall beaten only to bang into the post and back into play.

Kamara let loose with another attempt from outside the area five minutes later, but the left-footed try was deflected en route and held by Hall.

The final minute of the first half brought a flurry of activity from the Sporting KC attack, beginning when Graham Zusi tried to catch Hall off his line with a shot from just inside midfield. The Sporting KC playmaker began the next buildup with a pass wide right to Peterson, who delivered a low cross in front of net. Kamara made a full-speed run but Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell kept pace and cleared away the chance.

Roger Espinoza fired the final shot of the first half, sending his attempt wide of frame following Zusi's sixth corner kick of the game.

Sporting Kansas City stayed on the front foot following halftime. Kamara's header off a Zusi free kick was directed on frame but Hall was alert to retreat to his line and maintain the clean sheet.

Reigning MLS Rookie of the Year C.J. Sapong came within inches of breaking the deadlock in the 57th minute, pushing his shot narrowly wide of the far post. Espinoza had done well to hold off his man inside the penalty area and found Sapong alone at the top of the area.

Espinoza again played the part of provider eight minutes later, picking out Kamara with room to run at the defense. The Sierra Leone international leads MLS in shots on goal this season but couldn't challenge Hall on this occasion.

For the remaining thirty minutes of the match, Sporting Kansas City maintained possession in Houston’s half, creating chances and breaking down the defense, but unable to capitalize with the coveted goal.

Zusi, who led all players with five shots on the night, received a ball at the top of the box from Kamara and unleashed a powerful shot that went over the crossbar in the 72nd minute. Moments later, Kamara made a run down the right flank, pulled back and shot low with his left foot, but was just wide of the near post.

In the 76th minute, Zusi charged down the center of the field and crossed the ball to Peterson. He wound up and shot low, forcing Hall to make the save.

Nielsen made a valiant save in the 90th minute to deny second-half substitute Brian Ownby. The Danish netminder turned away the attempt with a sliding stop at the right edge of the six-yard box for his second and final save of the night.

Sporting Kansas City will now prepare for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinals on Wednesday when they take on the Philadelphia Union at 6:30 p.m. CT at PPL Park. Should Sporting Kansas City advance, the 2012 U.S. Open Cup Final will be held at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on August 7 or 8 against the winner between Chivas USA and Seattle Sounders FC.

FAST FACTS:

  • With the draw, Sporting Kansas City’s record moves to 10-5-3 in 2012 and 6-2-1 at home this season. 
  • Sporting Kansas City is 136-74-44 all-time at home and 15-4-7 all-time at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in the regular season.
  • Sporting Kansas City has sold out seven straight MLS matches at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park and eight of the team's nine home games this season. The club average of 19,348 fans in 2012 ranks sixth-best in MLS.
  • Sporting Kansas City is now tied for first place in the Eastern Conference, level with D.C. United on 33 points but holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 204-204-103 all-time in MLS. The 103 ties are most in MLS all-time.
  • Sporting Kansas City is now 3-5-5 all-time against Houston in the regular season and 2-3-2 at home in the regular season series.
  • Sporting Kansas City is unbeaten in the last four regular season meetings with the Dynamo.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 4-4-1 against the Eastern Conference in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City played their seventh match in a 22-day stretch on Saturday. They’ll continued the busy schedule with the U.S. Open Cup semifinal on Wednesday in the first of three straight road      games that will see the team then travel to Columbus on Saturday and Houston the following Wednesday.
  • Saturday’s temperature of 104 degrees was the highest for a Sporting KC match this season. The team is 3-3-1 when the temperature is above 75 degrees in 2012.
  • Saturday’s match marked the first Sporting KC game this season in which neither team received a yellow or red card. It was the second time in 2012 that Sporting KC did not receive any disciplinary action.
  • Sporting Kansas City has the lowest goals against average (0.94) in MLS this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City has allowed only five goals at home all season for a 0.55 goals against average, the lowest of any MLS team at home in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City made one change to the starting lineup from Wednesday’s 3-1 win in Montreal. Forward Jacob Peterson made his third start of the season for Sporting KC, replacing Teal Bunbury.
  • The Houston Dynamo started the same lineup from their 0-0 draw against Chicago on Tuesday.
  • Defender Geoff Cameron traveled with the team to Kansas City but missed his second straight match with a strained hamstring.
  • Sporting Kansas City was shutout for the fifth time this season and third time in their last four MLS matches.
  • Saturday’s match was the first scoreless draw of the season for Sporting Kansas City and the club is now 0-4-1 when not scoring in 2012.
  • Conversely, Sporting Kansas City is 6-0-1 when keeping a clean sheet this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City outshot their opponent for the 13th time in 18 games (9-3-1).
  • Sporting KC is 5-1-2 when tied at halftime in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 8-4-3 when wearing Sporting Blue uniforms this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 3-1-3 when tied at the 75-minute mark in 2012.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 9-4-2 on natural grass playing surfaces this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 6-3-1 in the central time zone this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 36-29-21 all-time in the month of July.
  • Sporting Kansas City's 298 shots this season are most in MLS.
  • Sporting Kansas City is 18-2-3 with Chance Myers, Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin starting in defense.
  • Midfielder Graham Zusi has taken the most corner kicks in MLS this season with 80.
  • He ranks second in the League with eight assists, including an MLS-high four game-winning assists.
  • Sporting Kansas City leads MLS in corner kicks this season with 116.
  • Houston Dynamo did not have a corner kick on Saturday, marking the second time this season the team has not earned a corner.
  • Houston played their second straight scoreless draw, following a 0-0 tie at home against Chicago on Tuesday.
  • The Dynamo have just one loss in their six MLS matches.
  • Sporting Kansas City has now gone 27 consecutive matches at home without back-to-back losses
  • Sporting Kansas City defender Chance Myers is the only field player to have played every MLS minute this season for Sporting Kansas City.
  • Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi is the only player to have appeared in every match for Sporting Kansas City in all competition this season.
  • Zusi matched his single-game career high with five shots on Saturday, most of any player on the field.
  • Sporting Kansas City captain and goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen has played every MLS minute in net for Sporting Kansas City in 2012.
  • The Dynamo were one of three teams Sporting KC had yet to play half way through the season, along with fellow Eastern Conference counterparts Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls.
  • The two teams will meet again in 11 days when Sporting KC makes their first ever trip to BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • Sporting Kansas City ranks first in MLS in shots (298), corner kicks (116) and fewest shots against (186) this season.
  • Sporting Kansas City leads MLS in all-time shots taken with 6,947.
  • Sporting Kansas City striker Kei Kamara leads MLS with 72 shots and 31 shots on goal this season.
  • His two shots on goal on Saturday moved him into a tie with Mark Chung for seventh on the club’s all-time chart with 95 in his KC career.
  • His four shots on Saturday also moved him into fifth on the club’s all-time chart with 266 in his KC career, surpassing Josh Wolff.
  • Sporting Kansas City captain Jimmy Nielsen leads all MLS goalkeepers with 10 wins in 2012. His seven shutouts are tied for most in the League with Joe Cannon.
  • Nielsen lowered his all-time MLS goals against average to 1.11, third best in MLS history among goalkeepers with a minimum of 4,000 minutes played.
  • The 2012 MLS All-Star First XI will be announced on Sunday during ESPN’s broadcast of the Chicago Fire-LA Galaxy game that begins at 2 p.m. CT.
  • Saturday’s match was sponsored by Outback Steakhouse and simulcast live on KCTV5 and KSMO-TV.
  • Prior to the match, Budweiser hosted a PoolBall playing area for fans  in the Sprint Plaza.
  • Immediately following the draw, Indie Rock group Ha Ha Tonka performed live in the Sprint Plaza. THECOOLTV hosted the concert and streamed the show live online.
  • U.S. Men’s National Team captain Carlos Bocanegra was in attendance at Saturday’s match while in Kansas City for Major League Baseball’s Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game.
  • LIVESTRONG Sporting Park hosted matches for the 13th annual Sporting Club 3v3 Classic, sponsored by Sporting Kansas City and GSI Sports, on Saturday night.

QUOTES:

Post-game reaction from tonight’s match between Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo will be available on SportingKC.com, including comments from players and managers.