Sporting Kansas City stumbled to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of rivals Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night at BBVA Compass Stadium. Jimmy Medranda fired the visitors ahead with a sensational long-range effort in the 33rd minute, but Houston responded with a pair of goals in the second half to deny Sporting KC the point it needed to clinch a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Despite Wednesday’s loss, Sporting KC remains in second place in the Western Conference with two matches still to play — two points ahead of the fifth-place Dynamo, who will visit Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. CT in the second of back-to-back matches between the teams. Sporting KC’s regular-season home finale will air live on FOX Sports Kansas City and FOX Sports Midwest, and a limited number of tickets are available via SeatGeek.com.
Manager Peter Vermes made two changes to the Sporting KC lineup from Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Minnesota United FC. Diego Rubio made way for Daniel Salloi in attack, while goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra earned his first start for the club in place of the injured Tim Melia.
Houston extended its regular-season unbeaten run against Sporting KC to seven matches on Wednesday, but not before falling behind shortly after the hour-mark on a jaw-dropping strike from Medranda. The 23-year-old Colombian received a cutback pass from Saad Abdul-Salaam and one-timed a 30-yard belter with the outside of his left boot, the ball bending away from Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric and nestling low into the far left corner.
Dykstra was forced into action not long later, doing well to tip Tomas Martinez’s long-range blast over the woodwork. The Dynamo threatened again seven minutes before the break when Vicente Sanchez hammered Andrew Wenger’s delicious cross onto the frame of the crossbar.
Salloi came close to doubling Sporting KC’s lead on the cusp of intermission, latching onto the end of a loose ball in the box, but his shot lacked the direction to beat Deric. Houston would survive yet another scare in the 53rd minute when Roger Espinoza found Gerso with space on the right side of the box, but the ensuing attempt was palmed away by Deric.
Houston gained a foothold over the final 30 minutes, as Ricardo Clark and Mauro Manotas both volleyed narrowly high of frame in quick succession. The hosts’ ascension ultimately drew them level in the 63rd minute when A.J. DeLaGarza’s cross from the right wing was cleared only as far as Martinez at the opposite post, and the Dynamo midfielder’s side volley beat Dykstra to restore parity.
Sporting KC were left to rue their luck in the 77th minute when they fell behind for the first time. Martinez’s in-swinging free kick was turned into the net by Erik Palmer-Brown for an unfortunate own goal, giving the Dynamo a 2-1 advantage they wouldn’t relinquish.
Vermes’ side had two opportunities to rescue a point in second-half stoppage time, but Seth Sinovic’s right-footed rocket was saved and Salloi’s strike from the top of the box glanced marginally over the bar.
2017 MLS Regular Season
Game 32 of 34
BBVA Compass Stadium | Houston, Texas
Weather: 79 degrees and clear
|Sporting Kansas City (12-8-12, 48 points)||1||0||1|
|Houston Dynamo (12-10-10, 46 points)||0||2||2|
Sporting Kansas City: Andrew Dykstra; Saad Abdul-Salaam, Ike Opara, Erik Palmer-Brown, Seth Sinovic; Roger Espinoza (C), Ilie, Jimmy Medranda; Gerso (Diego Rubio 73), Latif Blessing (Kharlton Belmar 84), Daniel Salloi
Subs Not Used: Adrian Zendejas, Amer Didic, James Musa, Soni Mustivar, Cristian Lobato
Houston Dynamo: Tyler Deric; A.J. DeLaGarza, Philippe Senderos, Leonardo, Dylan Remick (Jalil Anibaba 94+); Ricardo Clark (C), Eric Alexander (Alex 78), Tomas Martinez; Mauro Manotas, Vicente Sanchez (Erick Torres 73), Andrew Wenger
Subs Not Used: Joe Willis, Kevin Garcia, Joseph Holland, Charlie Ward
|Shots on Goal||5||4|
HOU -- Ricardo Clark (caution; unsporting behavior) 45
HOU -- Andrew Wenger (caution; unsporting behavior) 79
SKC -- Ilie (caution; unsporting behavior) 87
SKC -- Jimmy Medranda 2 (Saad Abdul-Salaam 1) 33
HOU -- Tomas Martinez 2 (unassisted) 63
HOU -- Erik Palmer-Brown (own goal) 77
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistant Referee: Eduardo Mariscal
Assistant Referee: Adam Garner
Fourth Official: Robert Sibiga
VAR: Jon Freemon