Sporting Kansas City's winless skid reached six games with a 2-0 defeat to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium. First-half goals from Giles Barnes and Andrew Wenger gave last-place Houston (2-5-2, 8 points) its first victory since March 12, while Sporting Kansas City (4-5-2, 14 points) remains sixth in the Western Conference ahead of Wednesday's match at the Colorado Rapids.
Manager Peter Vermes made two changes to Sporting Kansas City lineup from last Sunday's 1-1 draw against LA Galaxy. Holding midfielder Soni Mustivar returned to the fold after missing six games with a hamstring strain, while right back Chance Myers had overcome a thigh injury for his first runout since April 9. Saturday was also a homecoming for Sporting KC's Brad Davis, who returned to face the club where he made 271 regular season appearances and won two MLS Cups between 2006-2015.
The home team in the head-to-head series had just one win in the previous nine regular season matches, and Sporting Kansas City looked poised to continue that trend in the early stages. The visitors registered three shots in the first 10 minutes, coming closest to breaking the deadlock in the ninth minute. Dom Dwyer cut into the box from the right flank and squared the ball to Graham Zusi, who took a touch atop the box and fired just wide of the post.
Looking to snap a six-game winless streak of their own, Houston found its footing halfway through the opening stanza and posed a threat on 24 minutes. Barnes whipped a teasing cross to the far post from the left wing, where Seth Sinovic made a crucial intervention with his outstretched foot to prevent Wenger from heading home.
The hosts would claim the lead six minutes later when Deric’s long goal kick fell fortuitously to Erick Torres, who flicked the ball into the path of Barnes down the left channel. The Jamaican international pulled the trigger from the edge of the box, beating goalkeeper Tim Melia far post for his 30th career goal in the MLS regular season.
Owen Coyle’s side had seized momentum and nearly doubled their advantage twice in the next five minutes, only for Melia to produce two impressive saves. Barnes created both chances with crosses from the left side, but Cristian Maidana and Ricardo Clark were both thwarted by the Sporting KC netminder.
Wenger bagged Houston’s second goal on the stroke of halftime, receiving a pass from Maidana and rifling a left-footed shot high inside the near post for his third tally of 2016.
Sporting Kansas City out-shot their opponents for the sixth successive match, notching 12 attempts after the break. Defender Nuno Andre Coelho almost cut the deficit in half on 54 minutes, but his thunderous free kick from 35 yards sailed inches above the crossbar.
Winger Jimmy Medranda was introduced on the hour-mark and added another dimension to the Sporting Kansas City attack, orchestrating an opportunity in the 66th minute. The 22-year-old Colombian drove toward goal and squared it to Davis, whose threaded ball was just beyond Dwyer’s reach. Six minutes later, Medranda won a free kick that Diego Rubio subsequently bent narrowly over the woodwork.
Another road game beckons for Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, as the club will face Supporters' Shield leaders Colorado (6-2-2, 20 points) at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The match will kick off at 8 p.m. CT with three hours of live television coverage on 38 The Spot and SKCTV starting at 7:30 p.m. CT. The Rapids won the first head-to-head meeting of 2016 on April 13, running out 2-1 winners at Children's Mercy Park.
2016 MLS Regular Season
Game 11 of 34
BBVA Compass Stadium | Houston, Texas
Weather: 77 degrees and sunny
|Sporting Kansas City (4-5-2, 14 pts)||0||0||0|
|Houston Dynamo (2-5-2, 8 pts)||2||0||2|
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia; Chance Myers (Jimmy Medranda 62), Nuno Andre Coelho, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Benny Feilhaber, Soni Mustivar, Roger Espinoza; Brad Davis (Diego Rubio 67), Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi (Saad Abdul-Salaam 77)
Subs Not Used: Alec Kann, Ike Opara, Lawrence Olum, Paulo Nagamura
Houston Dynamo: Tyler Deric; Jalil Anibaba, David Horst, Agus, DaMarcus Beasley (Abdoulie Mansally 67); Ricardo Clark, Alex, Andrew Wenger, Cristian Maidana (Leonel Miranda 75), Giles Barnes; Erick Torres (Will Bruin 57)
Subs Not Used: Joe Willis, Raul Rodriguez, Boniek Garcia, Collen Warner
|Shots on Goal||3||7|
HOU -- Alex (caution; unsporting behavior) 29
HOU -- Jalil Anibaba (caution; unsporting behavior) 53
SKC -- Roger Espinoza (caution; unsporting behavior) 62
HOU -- Ricardo Clark (caution; unsporting behavior) 95+
HOU -- Giles Barnes 3 (Erick Torres 1) 30
HOU -- Andrew Wenger 3 (Cristian Maidana 2, Giles Barnes 2) 46+