Recap: Sporting KC closes out preseason with 4-1 and 1-1 results in split-squad matches against Houston Dynamo

Sporting Kansas City concluded their 2019 preseason, presented by Children’s Mercy, with a 4-1 victory and a 1-1 draw in split-squad matches against the Houston Dynamo at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona on Wednesday night.

Sporting KC will train in Scottsdale, Arizona for another week before returning to Kansas City ahead of the side’s Champions League Round of 16 opener against Deportivo Toluca FC at Children’s Mercy Park next Thursday, Feb. 21.

In the first match, Sporting KC fell behind early on when Alberth Elis picked up a loose ball in the area and rifled home a low shot into the bottom corner to give the Dynamo a 1-0 lead. The advantage didn’t last long as Johnny Russell curled in a beautiful finish off Krisztian Nemeth’s through ball following a sweeping move from back to front by Sporting KC.

In the 23rd minute, Felipe Gutierrez gave Sporting KC the lead. Another flowing move saw Seth Sinovic square a ball for Gerso Fernandes, whose shot squirmed into the path of Gutierrez to slam home from close range. The goal was initially ruled out for offside, but following review from the VAR, the goal was allowed.

Nemeth added a third before halftime, firing low into the corner from Gerso’s cutback in the 28th minute after Sporting KC had forced a turnover deep into the Dynamo half.

The two sides shared a red card apiece in the second half, as first Romell Quioto was shown a straight red card for a studs-up challenge on Gutierrez before Roger Espinoza was also given his marching orders for a pair of yellow cards late in the half.

With the game drawing to a close, Graham Zusi freed Nemeth behind the Houston backline, and the Hungarian forward took his time before scooping a glorious finish over the Dynamo goalkeeper and into the back of the net to make the final score 4-1.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo Match One
February 13, 2019 – Kino Sports Complex (Tucson, Ariz.)
Sporting Kansas City 4, Houston Dynamo 1

Scoring Summary:
HOU – Alberth Elis (Unassisted) 5’
SKC – Johnny Russell (Krisztian Nemeth) 11’
SKC – Felipe Gutierrez (Gerso Feranndes) 23’
SKC – Krisztian Nemeth (Gerso Fernandes) 28’
SKC – Krisztian Nemeth (Graham Zusi) 91+

Misconduct Summary:
SKC – Krisztian Nemeth (Yellow Card) 34’
HOU – Romell Quioto (Red Card) 73’
SKC – Roger Espinoza (Yellow Card) 80’
SKC – Roger Espinoza (Yellow Card/Red Card) 87’

Sporting Kansas City Lineup: Tim Melia; Graham Zusi, Andreu Fontas, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Ilie Sanchez (Kuzain 77’), Roger Espinoza, Felipe Gutierrez; Johnny Russell, Krisztian Nemeth, Gerso Fernandes

In the other split-squad match on a separate field at Kino Sports Complex, Sporting KC battled to a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dymamo.

The two sides traded chances throughout the first half before Sporting KC took the lead at the stroke of halftime when Yohan Croizet fired home a stunning strike from distance. After Rodney Wallace’s cross was cleared, Croizet picked up the ball 30 yards out and struck a brilliant right-footed strike off the post and in to give Sporting a 1-0 lead at the interval.

Shortly after the break, Houston pulled level. Memo Rodriguez let fly from 40 yards and Sporting KC goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas got a hand on the strike, seemingly keeping the ball away from goal, but the assistant referee deemed the ball to have crossed the line and awarded the Dynamo the goal. A chippy rest of the second half ensued as the game would end in a stalemate.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo Match Two
February 13, 2019 – Kino Sports Complex (Tucson, Ariz.)
Sporting Kansas City 1, Houston Dynamo 1

Scoring Summary:
SKC – Yohan Croizet (Unassisted) 45’
HOU – Memo Rodriguez (Unassisted) 52’

Misconduct Summary:
SKC – Rodney Wallace (Yellow Card) 67’
SKC – Botond Barath (Yellow Card) 70’
SKC – Kelyn Rowe (Yellow Card) 75’

Sporting Kansas City Lineup: Adrian Zendejas (Eric Dick 70’); Jaylin Lindsey, Botond Barath, Graham Smith, Rodney Wallace; Kuzain (Ethan Vanacore-Decker 89’), Kelyn Rowe, Gianluca Busio (Justin Bilyeu 87’); Yohan Croizet (Felipe Hernandez 82’), Erik Hurtado, Tyler Freeman