Preview: SKC, Houston will further shape East race
SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
LIVESTRONG SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.
September 14, 2012 (WEEK 28, MLS Game #262)
7:30 p.m. CT (NBC SN)
Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo meet for the third time this season in a match that has huge implications on the Eastern Conference playoff chase when the clubs face off Friday evening at Livestrong Sporting Park (live chat on MLS soccer.com, 8:30 pm ET). The teams are separated by just five points in the East. Sporting lead after their 2-1 win vs. Toronto FC two weeks ago that extended their unbeaten streak to five games, while the Dynamo are coming off a dramatic 1-0 home win vs. Real Salt Lake last week that put an end to a four-game winless run.
REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Fabio Tovar; 4th: Jorge Luna Hernandez
MLS Career: 141 games; FC/gm: 25.0; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 48; pens: 51
- SPORTING KANSAS CITY – OUT: FW Teal Bunbury (L knee ACL tear); DF Cyprian Hedrick (L fibula fracture); DOUBTFUL: FW Bobby Convey (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: FW Jacob Peterson (R shoulder sprain)
- HOUSTON DYNAMO – DOUBTFUL: MF Adam Moffat (R adductor strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: HOU: Calen Carr (caution accumulation; through Sept. 15)
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: KC: Roger Espinoza, Chance Myers
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Julio Cesar, Jimmy Nielsen, Paulo Nagamura, Lawrence Olum, Matt Besler, Graham Zusi … HOU: Corey Ashe, Bobby Boswell, Macoumba Kandji
ALL-TIME (14 meetings): Sporting 3 wins, 16 goals … Dynamo 6 wins, 20 goals … Ties 5
AT KANSAS CITY (7 meetings): Sporting 2 wins, 9 goals … Dynamo 3 wins, 8 goals … Ties 2
7/7: KC 0, HOU 0
7/18: HOU 2, KC 1 (Carr 25, 79 – Kamara 41)
- The teams have played twice already this season. After a scoreless draw in Kansas City on July 7, the Dynamo took a 2-1 win at home July 18 behind a pair of goals from Calen Carr.
- The teams met in last year’s Eastern Conference Championship, won 2-0 by the Dynamo at Livestrong Sporting Park. It was the second time the teams had met with a trip to the MLS Cup Final on the line (also 2007, also won 2-0 by Houston).
- After winning the first meeting ever between the clubs, April 8, 2006 at Robertson Stadium, Kansas City has not won in Houston. The Dynamo have won four of the seven MLS league and cup meetings since at home (with three draws).
- Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. HOU: P7 W2 L2 D3 … Dominic Kinnear vs. KC: P20 W8 L5 D7
- The Dynamo took the lead in the 25th minute following a 23-pass sequence. Will Bruin took an Andre Hainault ball into the box and slotted a pass to Calen Carr, who had little trouble placing the ball past SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
- Sporting evened terms in the 41st minute. After Teal Bunbury was fouled from behind in the box by Hainault, prompting referee Mark Kadlecik to point to the spot, Kei Kamara converted the resulting penalty.
- But just before halftime, SKC were reduced in numbers when Peterson Joseph was sent off for a sweeping, two-footed tackle from behind on Carr.
- The home side hit for the winner in the 79th minute. After setting Brad Davis up out wide, Carr made a run in the box for the return ball, collided with the pass in a mass of bodies and watched it trickle into the goal.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-3-3): Tally Hall - Andre Hainault, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Boniek Garcia, Warren Creavalle (Luiz Camargo 68), Brad Davis - Calen Carr, Will Bruin (Brian Ownby 78), Macoumba Kandji (Brian Ching 60).
- SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Jimmy Nielsen - Michael Harrington, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic (Chance Myers 79) - Michael Thomas, Paulo Nagamura - Kei Kamara, Peterson Joseph (sent off 47+), Jacob Peterson (Bobby Convey 82) - Teal Bunbury (C.J. Sapong 45).
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City return to action after extending their undefeated run to five games with a 2-1 win against Toronto FC on Sept. 1 at Livestrong Sporting Park. Sporting are in first place in the Eastern Conference, with 50 points from 27 matches.
HIGHLIGHTS: SKC 2, TOR 1
- TFC took the lead a minute from halftime. Robert Eckersley sent a ball over the top to Ryan Johnson, who had slipped behind Sporting's back line. He collected the ball at the edge of the penalty area and calmly slotted his left-footed shot past goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen and into the lower right corner of the goal.
- Sporting equalized on the hour mark after a fortunate carom at the edge of the penalty area. Paulo Nagamura hit a right-footed volley from Jeremy Hall's headed clearance that took a short bounce off the pitch and looped over goalkeeper Freddy Hall's lead.
- The game-winner came three minutes from time from substitute Oriol Rosell. Chance Myers laid a pass that found Rosell at the top right corner of the penalty area, and his first-time shot eluded goalkeeper Hall and rolled inside the far post.
- Sporting head coach Peter Vermes made two changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls at Livestrong Sporting Park. Lawrence Olum came into central defense for the suspended Aurelien Collin, and C.J. Sapong replaced the injured Teal Bunbury up top.
- SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-3-3): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Lawrence Olum, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Paulo Nagamura, Julio Cesar (Oriol Rosell 78), Roger Espinoza - Graham Zusi, C.J. Sapong (Dom Dwyer 86), Kei Kamara.
Taking the Lead: Jimmy Nielsen
- Sporting have won four times in their five-game unbeaten streak, the longest for the club since opening the season with seven consecutive victories.
- “It’s good for the mental aspect to maintain the mindset of winning the Supporters’ Shield. It keeps us ahead in our conference, which is the most important thing,” said SKC manager Peter Vermes. “We want to solidify playoffs and get home field advantage. It’s a good mentality to have.”
- Paulo Nagamura scored his first goal with Sporting KC, since coming to the club in the offseason from Chivas USA. It was the third time in his eight-year MLS career Nagamura has scored a goal and assisted on another in the same game.
- “Shooting is one of my strengths. I’m not a goal scorer, but it is good to step in and score when the team needs something. I saw the ball come to me and it sat well, and it was a good strike,” said Nagamura.
- Oriol Rosell made his second appearance with Sporting – his longest after coming on as a late substitute Aug. 11 vs. D.C. United – and scored his first MLS goal.
- “What he did really well when he came in was that he was moving the ball, circulating the ball like we wanted him to,” Vermes said. "That's a real specialty of his game. … He made a good decision – the place that he went to, his timing – on the ball that went out to Chance. He arrived at the right place, and his finish was excellent.”
- In the first match since Teal Bunbury was lost for the season with a knee injury, C.J. Sapong filled the central striker role, his first start since July 21.
- Rookie Dom Dwyer made his MLS debut, coming off the bench for the final four minutes. “The reason why he was in was because the work he's been putting in has been showing up in training,” Vermes said. “That's the reason he gets his shot. But the discouragement was something he had to deal with.”
- Said Dwyer: “I've been frustrated. You just have to work hard, keep yourself ready mentally and keep yourself prepared physically. It's been tough. I'm happy, but I'm not satisfied yet. I just want to keep working and get as many minutes as I can.”
- Bobby Convey was again unavailable for a fourth consecutive match and has not yet been able to return to full training.
- “We're slowly bringing him along," Vermes said. "He has a good day, then he has a bad day. So we're just trying to manage things and get through to where he can have a week of good and then get through it. … I wish I could tell you when he'll be back, but I think he'll be back by the end of the season, for sure.”
- Kansas City came back from a second-half deficit to win for the first time since Sept. 22, 2010, when the then-Wizards came back from 3-1 down at halftime to defeat Houston, 4-3.
- “The patience from us in the second half was huge. What we were able to do was to be patient and circulate the ball. And that sometimes is the most difficult thing to do in the second half because you are so antsy to get the goal,” Vermes said. “To have that calmness and composure is great. You have to take each game in 45-minute sections. We built it up in the second half to get those two goals and secure the win.”
The Houston Dynamo put an end to their four-game winless streak, getting a dramatic late penalty kick for a 1-0 win against Real Salt Lake last Thursday at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in third place in the Eastern Conference with 45 points from 28 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: HOU 1, RSL 0
- The Dynamo had a glorious opportunity to take the lead in the 75th minute. Macoumba Kandji squared a ball towards the center of the box for a streaking Will Bruin, where he was knocked to the ground by RSL defender Chris Schuler prompting referee Ismail Elfath to point to the spot. Brad Davis stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but goalkeeper Nick Rimando made a great diving save to his left.
- Just when it looked as though the teams would settle for the scoreless draw, Rimando made the mistake of rushing off his line to punch away a cross, only to run over Kandji in the process. This time it was Colin Clark who stepped up to take the spot kick and he drove the ball hard down the middle for the full three points.
- Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made four changes to the team that went down to a 3-1 defeat by the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Kofi Sarkodie, Calen Carr, Luiz Camargo and Colin Clark all came into the team, with Andre Hainault, Jermaine Taylor, Boniek Garcia and Je-Vaughn Watson all on international duty.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-3-3): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Ricardo Clark, Bobby Boswell (Cam Weaver 74), Corey Ashe - Calen Carr, Luiz Camargo, Brad Davis - Macoumba Kandji, Will Bruin (Alex Dixon 89), Colin Clark.
Week 27 Top 3 Performers: Hall clocks in at #2
- The Dynamo put an end to their four-game winless run with their first victory since Aug. 3. “There was a lot of adversity tonight and the guys fought really hard. It’s a valuable three points,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “ ... I think the guys are spent. Mentally it’s been tough and physically it’s been more tough, but the three points are there and hopefully the wins continue.”
- Besides the players lost to international duty, Kinnear faced some real selection issues because of illness. The Dynamo had just five available substitutes, as potential substitutes Nathan Sturgis and Brian Ownby were both unavailable to post.
- “Coming into the locker room, we had a team in mind and what you saw running out wasn’t the same that we planned on,” Kinnear said. “We had three lineups on paper, knowing guys were sick and just in case they couldn’t make the game. I’m very proud to coach this team to see what they have gone through over the past few days and to come out of here with three points is very valuable for us.”
- Making his first start since June 23 – and his first MLS appearance since July 3 – Colin Clark played the full 90 minutes and contributed his first goal of the season, hammering home the late penalty after Brad Davis was earlier denied.
- “I think a lot of the guys here are always prepared to play,” said Colin Clark. “When your name is called you just do what you can. We had some people sick, some hurt which gave people some chances and I think everyone did pretty well tonight.”
- The shutout was the 11th of the season for goalkeeper Tally Hall, tying the club record set by Pat Onstad in 2007. “[Tally] was excellent,” said Brad Davis. “You need your goalie to come up big in some games and he was excellent tonight keeping us in the game and giving us a chance to win.”
- After playing every minute of every match thus far this season, center back Bobby Boswell was also ill and forced to come off after 74 minutes.
- Kofi Sarkodie made his first league start of the season, playing 90 minutes at right back. In addition, Ricardo Clark moved to center back after starting the previous two matches in central midfield.
- “I thought it was good. Ricardo [Clark] had a good game back there. I wasn’t planning on playing him back there, but it worked out. He made some great interceptions, had good individual defending at times and passed well out of the back. He showed he can play well back there for us,” said Kinnear.
- Luiz Camargo made his first appearance since Aug. 10. Cam Weaver made just his second appearance – both as a substitute – over the past four months.
- “There were a lot of guys out there struggling physically and gutting it out,” said Calen Carr, who moved to right back late in the match. “You just look around man to man everyone’s giving it all they’ve got. Everybody put in a hard shift and we got rewarded.”
- The win extended the Dynamo’s home unbeaten streak to 22 games in league play, tying the Columbus Crew (2008-09) for the second-longest in MLS history. Real Salt Lake’s 29-game streak from 2009-11 is the league record.
“We pride ourselves on getting results at home; not just results but wins,” said Colin Clark. “It’s a mentality throughout the team. Even coming in shorthanded, we still wanted to come out and win.”