Build KCI Match Preview: Sporting faces quick turnaround with Wednesday trip to Houston

Sporting Kansas City at Houston Dynamo FC
2021 MLS Regular Season | Match 5
Wednesday, May 12, 2021 | 7:30 p.m. CT
BBVA Stadium | Houston, Texas

Broadcast Schedule:
English TV
| Bally Sports Kansas City Plus
Streaming | BallySports.com and Bally Sports app
English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB
Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM

How to Watch | Five Things to Know | By the Numbers | Match Notes
BallySports.com | MatchCenter | Media Assets

A longstanding Western Conference rivalry will resume Wednesday when Sporting Kansas City (2-1-1, 7 points) travels to face Houston Dynamo FC (1-1-2, 5 points) at BBVA Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT as the clubs square off in the first of three head-to-head meetings this season.

Wednesday's match will be shown live on Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, BallySports.com and the new Bally Sports app with three hours of live coverage beginning at 7 p.m. CT. Listeners can also catch the action locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB (English) and La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish), while the Sporting KC app will provide additional in-game updates.

Manager Peter Vermes’ side faces a quick turnaround Wednesday after securing an emotional 2-1 win over Austin FC on Sunday. The visitors led for most of the match, surging ahead in the seventh minute through Jon Gallagher, but a raucous Children’s Mercy Park crowd ignited the hosts in the second half. Sporting totaled 25 shot attempts on the night—two more than their first three games of the season combined—and were rewarded for their dominance when Ilie Sanchez headed home to level terms in the 82nd minute.

Buoyed by the equalizer, Sporting landed a game-winning haymaker with 90 minutes on the clock. Luis Martins’ cross was glanced across the face of goal by Khiry Shelton and nodded into the net by fellow substitute Gadi Kinda, capping a dramatic comeback to seal all three points. Sunday marked only the seventh time in club history that Sporting has won a regular season match when trailing after the 80th minute.

Forward Johnny Russell was at the heart of a Sporting attack that manufactured 21 scoring chances on Sunday. Making his 100th competitive appearance for the club, Sporting’s newly appointed captain finished the match with eight chance creations of his own, the most by a Kansas City player since Opta began tracking the statistic in 2010. The Scottish winger also assisted Ilie’s goal, becoming just the second MLS player since the start of 2020 to record an assist and create eight chances in a game. Russell was recognized for his rampant performance on Monday, earning a spot on MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week.

Sunday also saw 34-year-old Sporting veteran Graham Zusi return from a long-term foot injury for his first appearance in five months. Landing his 2021 debut with a start at right back, Zusi passed longtime Sporting teammate and current Austin FC defender Matt Besler for first place on the club’s all-time chart with his 295th regular season appearance.

Second-year Houston head coach Tab Ramos—who throughout the 1990s played alongside Vermes for the U.S. Men’s National Team, Spanish side Figueres and the New York/New Jersey MetroStars—has led the Dynamo to results in three of their first four matches. Houston opened the campaign with a 2-1 defeat of the San Jose Earthquakes and rebounded from a narrow loss at the Portland Timbers with consecutive 1-1 draws versus LAFC and in-state rival FC Dallas.

Several players have contributed to Houston’s attack in the early stages of 2021. Their four goals have come from four different players, as former Sporting winger Tyler Pasher, midfielder Memo Rodriguez and talented forwards Fafa Picault and Maxi Urruti have all found the back of the net. Pasher, who has spent the previous three seasons starring for Indy Eleven in the USL Championship, leads Houston with eight chances created but missed last Saturday’s game at FC Dallas with a hip ailment and is listed as questionable for Wednesday’s contest.

Sporting and Houston have forged a fierce rivalry over the last decade, meeting in four editions of the MLS Cup Playoffs and five Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups while also locking horns frequently in the regular season. With 36 meetings over the last 10 seasons in all competitions, the Dynamo are Sporting’s most frequent opponent dating back to 2011.

The sides met four times during the shortened 2020 regular season, taking two wins apiece. Sporting striker Alan Pulido made a decisive mark in the series, tallying a goal and an assist in a 4-0 home victory on March 7 and bagging both goals when Sporting prevailed 2-1 on Oct. 3 at BBVA Stadium.

Since the start of 2020, Sporting’s 6-3-2 regular season road record is tied for the best in MLS. That mark includes a 2-1 triumph at the New York Red Bulls on April 17 to kick off the 2021 campaign. The Dynamo, meanwhile, have experienced mixed results at BBVA Stadium, going 4-3-5 on home turf during that same time period. Houston managed just three wins from 10 home fixtures in 2020, however their fortunes have improved this year with a win over San Jose on April 16 and a stalemate with LAFC on May 1.

Series: 
Topics: