Match Recap

Recap: Sporting KC falls 2-1 to Houston Dynamo FC

Sporting Kansas City (2-5-5, 11 points) fell 2-1 to Houston Dynamo FC (5-4-2, 17 points) on Saturday at Children’s Mercy Park.

Daniel Salloi bagged his first goal of the season to draw Sporting level on the hour mark after Houston had taken a first-half lead through Hector Herrera, but the Dynamo surged ahead for good in the 78th minute behind a decisive strike from Ibrahim Aliyu.

Manager Peter Vermes deployed a starting XI highlighted by a formidable front four that had never previously started together: Salloi, captain Johnny Russell, forward Alan Pulido and striker Willy Agada. Nemanja Radoja and Memo Rodriguez sat deeper in the midfield, while goalkeeper Tim Melia was shielded by a backline of Jake Davis, Andreu Fontas, Robert Voloder and Tim Leibold. Regular starters Dany Rosero (quad) and Remi Walter (knee) remained out with injuries, while midfielder Erik Thommy saw his streak of 57 straight regular season appearances end due to an absence for personal reasons.

The hosts began brightly as Pulido conjured the first decent look after 15 minutes, winning a tackle 35 yards from goal and carrying the ball forward only to see his venomous blast blocked through traffic. Seconds later, Rodriguez did brilliantly to intercept a pass in Houston’s defensive third before blazing a low drive inches wide of the far left post.

Houston threatened at the opposite end in the 22nd minute. Coco Carrasquilla found a pocket of acreage on the edge of the box to clip a diagonal ball to the opposite post, but Ibrahim Aliyu miscalculated his side-volley attempt and Sporting were let off the hook. His fleeting chance preceded another promising attack from Sporting, with Russell lofting in a seductive delivery from the right that glanced across the face of goal without a finishing touch.

Herrera vaulted the visitors ahead on a sweetly struck curler in the 31st minute. An orchestrated move saw Houston play a short corner kick and work the ball centrally to the longtime Mexican international, who was afforded too much space on the edge of the area to bend a 20-yard strike into the far right corner for his first goal of the 2024 campaign.

Sporting wasted no time looking to respond and nearly did so in spectacular fashion in the 37th minute when Salloi’s 35-yard heat-seeker was palmed away by Houston goalkeeper Steve Clark. Rodriguez’s all-action display against his former club carried into the late stages of the first half, the former Dynamo man aggressively gaining possession and unleashing a long-range missile that Clark was forced to cast aside.

Houston right back Griffin Dorsey went close to doubling his side’s lead three minutes into the second period but was unable to put his left-footed curler on frame. Sporting had a golden chance go begging on the other end shortly thereafter when Agada chased down a clever Rodriguez long ball over the top and dragged his breakaway shot across Clark and wide by the slimmest of margins.

Salloi opened his 2024 scoring account with 61 minutes on the clock. Rodriguez ignited the attack by dribbling goalward and attempting to squeeze a pass into the penalty area. Although his initial service was repelled, he steered the rebound into the path of Salloi, who took a touch and swiveled at the top of the box before picking out the bottom left corner for his 59th career goal for Sporting in all competitions, fourth most in club history. Rodriguez, a former Dynamo player, picked up his team-leading third assist of the season on the play, inflicting damage on his former employers.

Melia produced two phenomenal saves midway through the second half, first a reflex stop to thwart Aliyu at the near post and then an outstretched smothering of Erik Sviatchenko’s powerful header off a corner kick.

Houston would find their winning goal with 12 minutes remaining. Dorsey embarked on a blazing run from the defensive right channel into the central attacking third before slipping a through ball to Aliyu, who side-footed a shot past Melia for his team-best fourth goal of the year.

Sporting had an excellent chance to restore parity in the 88th minute. Substitute Alenis Vargas floated a clever diagonal ball to the left side of the box for Leibold to head back across goal, teeing up Agada for a header on the doorstep that Clark somehow kept out.

Vermes’ side will look to bounce back next Saturday, May 18, by visiting Austin FC (4-4-4, 16 points) at Q2 Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT with live coverage on MLS Season Pass via Apple TV.

2024 MLS Regular Season | Match 12
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
Attendance: 18,562
Weather: 74 degrees and sunny

Sporting Kansas City 1-2 Houston Dynamo FC
Sporting Kansas City (2-5-5, 11 points)
Houston Dynamo FC (5-4-2, 17 points)

Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Jake Davis, Andreu Fontas, Robert Voloder, Tim Leibold (Zorhan Bassong 90'); Nemanja Radoja, Memo Rodriguez; Johnny Russell (C) (Alenis Vargas 82'), Alan Pulido (Marinos Tzionis 74'), Daniel Salloi; Willy Agada (Stephen Afrifa 90')

Subs Not Used: John Pulskamp, Robert Castellanos, Felipe Hernandez, Khiry Shelton

Houston Dynamo: Steve Clark; Griffin Dorsey, Erik Sviatchenko, Micael, Daniel Steres (Tate Schmitt 46'); Artur, Hector Herrera (C) (Latif Blessing 70'); Coco Carrasquilla, Amine Bassi (Brad Smith 86'), Ibrahim Aliyu (Ethan Bartlow 90+2'); Sebastian Kowalczyk

Subs Not Used: Andrew Tarbell, Jan Gregus, Brooklyn Raines, McKinze Gaines, Gabe Segal

Scoring Summary:
HOU -- Hector Herrerra 1 (Amine Bassi 3) 31'
SKC -- Daniel Salloi 1 (Memo Rodriguez 3) 61'
HOU -- Ibrahim Aliyu 4 (Griffin Dorsey 1) 78'

Misconduct Summary:
SKC -- Memo Rodriguez (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 45'
SKC -- Andreu Fontas (yellow card; unsporting behavior) 85'
HOU -- Sebastian Kowalczyk (yellow card; unsporting bevhavior) 90+4'

Match Statistics
Shots on Goal
Corner Kicks

Referee: Alexis Da Silva
Assistant Referee: Kyle Atkins
Assistant Referee: Corey Parker
Fourth Official: Victor Rivas
VAR: Fotis Bazakos
AVAR: Jozef Batko