Sporting Kansas City dropped a 1-0 decision at the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday and remain in fifth place in the Western Conference standings with five games remaining in the regular season. Will Bruin scored the game's only goal in the 67th minute as the teams met for the fourth time in 2015.
The opening 45 minutes of action failed to produce a single shot on goal for either side, marking only the sixth MLS match of the year for both teams to enter the halftime break without recording an attempt on target. The defensive-minded stalemate carried over into the early stages of the second half before Houston found the front foot with all four of their shots on goal in the match coming in a seven-minute span.
Tim Melia, who returned to the starting lineup after missing the past two games for Sporting Kansas City, made a routine save on Brad Davis' shot from distance in the 60th minute then was called into action with back-to-back stops minutes later. Melia reacted well to turn away an attempt from Giles Barnes then was back on his feet to handle a follow-up effort from Davis.
The home side's pressure paid off in the 67th minute when U.S. Men's National Team veteran DaMarcus Beasley played a dangerous pass across the goalmouth that Melia managed to get a glove on only to see the ball end up on the foot of Bruin at the backpost for a simple finish. Bruin now has 11 goals in 2015 and 46 goals in his five-year MLS career.
Houston went down to 10 men in the 70th minute when Honduran international Boniek Garcia was sent off for the first time in four MLS seasons after receiving his second caution of the match. Both came for fouls on Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer, who has suffered the third most fouls in MLS this season (71), including four fouls won on the night - second most to midfielder Benny Feilhaber's six.
The ejection - the fourth straight game between the sides this year in which a Houston player was given an early exit - sparked signs of a comeback for Sporting Kansas City, beginning with the visitors first shot on goal in the 75th minute courtesy of second-half substitute Jacob Peterson. Dwyer was then on the end of a cross from Chance Myers, who had moments earlier played a clever throw-in off the back of teammate Graham Zusi to catch Houston by surprise, but Deric was properly positioned to collect the header.
The Dynamo, who are now 9-0-3 when scoring first in 2015, showed their strength at protecting leads by holding Sporting KC to only two more chances over the final 10 minutes. Paulo Nagamura won a header near the six-yard box, this time from Seth Sinovic's service, that was ultimately off frame as the time ticked away at BBVA Compass Stadium. Last time Sporting KC was in the venue, Benny Feilhaber struck for a 95th-minute equalizer in April's 4-4 draw however there would be no such late heroics to rescue a road result as Dwyer's 93rd minute header drifted harmlessly into the arms of Deric.
Sporting Kansas City now returns home to host the Seattle Sounders FC at 4 p.m. CT on Sunday at Sporting Park. The Western Conference contenders are separated by a single point heading into the fixture, which will be nationally televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. A limited number of tickets are available on Ticketmaster.com and the first 10,000 fans inside the stadium will receive Sporting KC tote bags courtesy of UMKC.
2015 MLS Regular Season
Game 29 of 34
BBVA Compass Stadium | Houston, Texas
Weather: 86 degrees and clear
Full Time: Video Highlights
|Sporting KC (12-9-8, 44 pts)||0||0||0|
|Houston Dynamo (10-12-8, 38 pts)||0||1||1|
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Seth Sinovic (Bernardo Anor 86), Matt Besler (c), Kevin Ellis, Chance Myers; Soni Mustivar (Jordi Quintilla 80), Benny Feilhaber, Paulo Nagamura; Marcel de Jong (Jacob Peterson 54), Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi
Subs Not Used: Jon Kempin, Erik Palmer-Brown, Saad Abdul-Salaam, Mikey Lopez
Houston Dynamo: Tyler Deric; DaMarcus Beasley, Raul Rodriguez, David Horst, Boniek Garcia; Brad Davis (Sheanon Williams 74), Rasheed Olabiyi, Ricardo Clark, Leonel Miranda; Giles Barnes (Erick Torres 68), Will Bruin (Alex 80)
Subs Not Used: Joe Willis, Nathan Sturgis, Mauro Manotas, Rob Lovejoy
|Shots on Goal||3||4|
SKC -- Soni Mustivar (caution; reckless tackle) 33
SKC -- Matt Besler (caution; reckless foul) 41
HOU -- Boniek Garcia (caution; reckless foul) 45
SKC -- Seth Sinovic (caution; reckless tackle) 56
HOU -- Boniek Garcia (caution; reckless foul) 70
HOU -- Boniek Garcia (ejection; second caution) 70
SKC -- Benny Feilhaber (caution; delaying a restart) 88
HOU -- Will Bruin 11 (DaMarcus Beasley 1, Brad Davis 9) 67