Preview: Sporting host Dynamo to end 9-game homestand

SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
LIVESTRONG SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.
3 p.m. CT (Telefutura; KSMO)
September 10, 2011 (WEEK 26; MLS Game 245)

Sporting Kansas City conclude their MLS-record nine-game homestand when they play host to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday afternoon at Livestrong Sporting Park. There were yet more late heroics in this long home run for Sporting, coming back for a 2-2 draw with the LA Galaxy on Monday afternoon in their last game. The Dynamo saw a five-game unbeaten run come to an end in their last game, a 1-0 loss at Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

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REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): Chris Strickland; JAR (opposite): Peter Balciunas; 4th: Ismail Elfath
MLS Career: 84 games; FC/gm: 26.5; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 15; pens: 30

INJURY REPORT:

  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY - OUT: DF Daneil Cyrus (L foot fracture); MF Luke Sassano (R knee sprain); MF Konrad Warzycha (R knee surgery); PROBABLE: MF Craig Rocastle (R knee sprain)
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO - OUT: MF Alex Dixon (L finger fracture)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: KC - Aurelien Collin (caution accumulation; through Sept. 10) ... HOU - Bobby Boswell (caution accumulation; through Sept. 10)

WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Omar Bravo, Julio Cesar, Birahim Diop, Graham Zusi Ö HOU: Danny Cruz, Brad Davis, Hunter Freeman, Adam Moffat, Je-Vaughn Watson, Cam Weaver

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (11 meetings): Sporting 2 wins, 12 goals ... Dynamo 5 wins, 18 goals ... Ties 4
  • AT KANSAS CITY (5 meetings): Sporting 1 win, 6 goals ... Dynamo 3 wins, 8 goals ... Ties 1
  • In the first meeting this season, Aurelien Collin scored in the 90th minute to cancel out a Brad Davis free kick early on as the teams played to a 1-1 draw at Robertson Stadium, July 16.
  • The teams also met in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match on April 6, Sporting claiming a 1-0 victory in a behind an extra-time goal from C.J. Sapong.
  • Since winning the first meeting ever between the clubs on April 8, 2006, Kansas City have not won in Houston. The Dynamo have won two of the last five league meetings at Robertson Stadium, with two draws.
  • Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear v KC: P17 W8 L4 D5 Ö Peter Vermes vs. HOU: P4 W1 L1 D2

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • 7/16: HOU 1, KC 1 (Davis 8 - Collin 90)
  • The Dynamo took the lead after just eight minutes. Brian Ching drew a foul some 22 yards from goal and Brad Davis curled the resulting free kick over the wall and inside Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen's left-hand post.
  • The home side went a man down in the 56th minute when Colin Clark came in with a studs-up challenge on KC center back Aurelien Collin, then 14 minutes later, Ching was sent off with a straight red card from referee Kevin Stott after kicking at Collin's heel deep in the Sporting end.
  • Collin then made the Dynamo pay, taking a pass about 25 yards goal and hammering a hard, low shot which took a slight deflection to send Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall diving the wrong way.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-2-3-1): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor (Bobby Boswell 46), Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe - Geoff Cameron, Je-Vaughn Watson - Danny Cruz (Hunter Freeman 79), Brad Davis (Lovel Palmer 61), Colin Clark (sent off 51) - Brian Ching (sent off 69).
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Michael Harrington (Teal Bunbury 80) - Birahim Diop - Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza - Kei Kamara, C.J. Sapong, Omar Bravo

SPORTING KANSAS CITY

Sporting Kansas City once again provided some late dramatics at their Livestrong Sporting Park home, getting a stoppage-time penalty kick for a 2-2 draw Monday with the LA Galaxy. Sporting have 37 points from 27 matches on the season, in second place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The Galaxy took the lead in the 25th minute. A cleared cross went only as far as Omar Gonzalez, and he nodded the ball back over the advancing KC back line to a completely alone Sean Franklin, who guided the ball first-time past goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen from the heart of the penalty area.
  • Sporting pulled even in the 72nd minute. A corner kick sailed over the mixer where C.J. Sapong knocked it back. The ball deflected off the back of Davy Arnaud, but Julio Cesar swung his leg through a side volley and beat LA goalkeeper Josh Saunders at his near post.
  • The Galaxy were back in front two minutes later, and again it was Franklin. A failed clearance this time fell to David Beckham just outside the area, and he slid a pass to his right to put Franklin in alone on goal, who rolled the ball under an onrushing Nielsen.
  • Yet as the game passed the 90-minute mark, there was more late drama in KC. Frankie Hejduk was adjudged to have handled a cross from the right, and referee Ricardo Salazar pointed to the spot. Omar Bravo calmly sent Saunders the wrong way for yet another late Sporting leveler.
  • Sporting manager Peter Vermes made two changes to the team that lost 3-2 to FC Dallas at Livestrong Sporting Park. With Kei Kamara and Teal Bunbury on international duty, Aurelien Collin and Jeferson came back into the team.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Jimmy Nielsen - Aurelien Collin, Julio Cesar, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza (Davy Arnaud 64) - Chance Myers, Jeferson (Soony Saad 80), Omar Bravo - C.J. Sapong

TEAM NEWS

  • For the fourth time in the last 10 games, Sporting KC scored a goal in the 89th minute or later to claim a tie, getting a stoppage-time penalty kick for the 2-2 draw with LA. KC's two losses in that time have also come with the winning goal being scored after the 90th minute.
  • "It's us against everybody because nothing's going to go our way and we realize that and that's why everybody keeps fighting back," said SKC manager Peter Vermes. "They've got unbelievable determination to get back in the game and they're not going to die and that is a quality that needs to be commended because game after game we fight for everything."
  • Davy Arnaud made his first appearance for Sporting since being injured in the June 25 game vs. Vancouver. Arnaud played the final 26 minutes.
  • "That's why Davy comes in late. He just doesn't have that total 90," Vermes said. "But, the experience of someone like Davy shows at the end because he was pumping balls in the box, he was in good spaces. He's a winner and that something that we need on the field."
  • Aurelien Collin made his first start since July 23 because of a fracture in his lower back after coming on the week before as a substitute.
  • "At the end of the day he's a psycho and that is good for our team because you need those types of guys inside the white lines and on your team and you want to play with them," Vermes said. "The goal he scores is that never die attitude and that's the one thing about this group of guys that no matter how the season started or how the games going they're going to try to find a way to get back in it."
  • But Collin was slotted in at right back as Julio Cesar and Matt Besler maintained their central defense pairing.
  • "I didn't want to just put somebody out there who did the job more defensively," Vermes said. "Chance [Myers] does a good job of getting down that line and puts guys under pressure with his speed. He can get around them and Collin has played as a right back before so the idea was to push Chance up there and let him run and be dangerous going forward with Collin covering him a little bit."
  • After missing three games to injury, midfielder Jeferson was able to return to the starting lineup and play 80 minutes.
  • "I would also say that Jeferson relieves a lot of pressure. The way that he playmakes and calms the game and can thread the needle so from that point of view very good," said Vermes.
  • The Houston match is the last of the nine-game homestand for Sporting, where they have taken 14 of a possible 24 points so far. Of the final six games of the season, three will be on the road.
  • "I think we have a pretty solid base. We just need to continue to play well at home and really put pressure on teams," said Graham Zusi. "We need to continue to be hard to play against and hard to score against. I think going forward we can grow from this (LA) game."
  • Shavar Thomas (SKC) played 90 minutes for Jamaica in its 2-0 loss to Colombia, after playing 90 minutes in the 5-2 loss to Ecuador in Quito.
  • Kei Kamara played for Sierra Leone in their 2-1 win against Egypt in an African Cup of Nations qualifier.

HOUSTON DYNAMO

The Houston Dynamo saw their unbeaten streak come to an end at five games, falling 1-0 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Aug. 27 at Empire Field. The Dynamo have 35 points from 27 games on the season, in third place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's only goal finally came in the 86th minute. Substitute Long Tan turned his marker expertly outside the box before putting Shea Salinas through on the left. He then raced into the area before putting a well-placed low strike inside the bottom right corner past Dynamo 'keeper Tally Hall.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that defeated Real Salt Lake 3-2 at Robertson Stadium. Adam Moffat returned from suspension, in place of Je-Vaughn Watson.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-3-2): Tally Hall - Hunter Freeman, Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Adam Moffat - Colin Clark (Je-Vaughn Watson 67), Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis - Brian Ching (Cam Weaver 85), Carlo Costly (Calen Carr 67).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo saw their unbeaten streak halted at five games in league play last time out, a 1-0 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC. In the streak, the three wins all came at Robertson Stadium; they drew twice away from home.
  • "I will say Saturday was the angriest we've been in the locker room in a long time," Dynamo boss Dominic Kinnear said. "It was a missed opportunity, especially when you look at what happened on the weekend and that it was a chance to move forward. It's one of those where the guys spent a lot of time in the locker room, but you can't dwell on it. We just have to look at it, point out the mistakes, and move on."
  • The Dynamo are still winless away from Robertson Stadium, with an 0-5-8 record. They are one of three teams still winless away from home this season (also: Vancouver and Toronto FC). Just three teams in MLS history have finished the season without a road win: LA, 2003 (0-9-6); RSL, 2005 (0-14-2); NY, 2009 (0-13-2).
  • "I don't think we're playing great away from home, but we're playing the game and we're creating a lot of scoring opportunities," Kinnear said. "I think we deserved more than we got, and I don't think we should have come out on the wrong end of it, but that's the game sometimes."
  • While the Dynamo have had their fair share of late drama in snatching points, it was also the fourth time this season they've allowed the tying or winning goal in the final quarter-hour of games, costing them six points.
  • "We've done this more than once to ourselves this year," said midfielder Brad Davis. "In the last five minutes of the game, we're unable to close the game down."
  • The Dynamo enter the week still holding one of three automatic qualification places in the Eastern Conference, but have played 27 games, along with Sporting KC the most of any team holding a playoff spot.
  • "I don't think it's hard [to bounce back], because we can look at the way we've been playing," said goalkeeper Tally Hall. "It was just one game, and it wasn't a case of putting us in or keeping us out of the playoffs. We know we're dangerous, and we know we'll create opportunities and can play good soccer. I'm confident that we'll keep doing that and make a push towards the playoffs."
  • With the weekend off from league play, the Dynamo defeated Mexico's CF Monterrey 3-0 in a hard-fought friendly at Robertson Stadium. Cam Weaver, Brad Davis and Jason Garey scored for Houston in a game that saw three players sent off.
  • Here's the Dynamo team: Tyler Deric, Hunter Freeman, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron (Josue Soto 65), Corey Ashe (Kofi Sarkodie 46), Colin Clark (Francisco Navas Cobo 74), Luiz Camargo, Adam Moffat, Brad Davis (Danny Cruz 80), Brian Ching (Jason Garey 46), Cam Weaver (Will Bruin 65).
  • "I thought we played some real nice football tonight," Kinnear said. "The guys looked comfortable, and I thought they enjoyed it."
  • After making their first appearances in months after suffering injuries, Will Bruin and Danny Cruz both came on as a substitutes against Monterrey, after playing in a reserve match a few days earlier.
  • "We were telling Will just to get his runs in and work on his fitness so the next time he steps on the field he feels comfortable," Kinnear said. "It was the same for Danny. We were trying to get him some movement and touches on the ball, and I think it went well."
  • Andre Hainault played 90 minutes for Canada in the 4-1 win against Saint Lucia and in the 3-0 win over Puerto Rico, both in World Cup qualifiers.
  • Carlo Costly played 90 minutes for Honduras in the 2-0 loss to Colombia on Saturday at Red Bull Arena.
  • Jermaine Taylor played minutes for Jamaica in the 2-0 loss to Colombia on Tuesday.