Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo | MLS Match Preview

SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs HOUSTON DYNAMO

SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.

May 26, 2013 (WEEK 13, MLS Game #119)
2:30 p.m. CT (NBCSN / NBCSports Live Extra)

Just two weeks after ending the Houston Dynamo’s long home undefeated run, Sporting Kansas City now play host when the Eastern Conference clubs face off Sunday afternoon at Sporting Park before an NBC Sports Network audience. Sporting return home off a two-game road trip that ended with a 1-1 draw at D.C. United last weekend. The Dynamo are coming off a second consecutive home loss, this time a 2-0 reverse by the New England Revolution.

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REFEREE: Drew Fischer. AR1 (bench): Daniel Belleau; AR2 (opposite): Kevin Duliba; 4th: Daniel Radford
MLS Career: 12 games; FC/gm: 26.2; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 1; pens: 4

DISABLED LIST: KC: Teal Bunbury
SUSPENDED: HOU: Bobby Boswell (through June 1)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Seth Sinovic … HOU: Corey Ashe, Andrew Driver, Kofi Sarkodie
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: KC: Mikey Lopez (U.S. U-20); Soony Saad (Lebanon; vs. Oman)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (16 meetings): Sporting 4 wins, 18 goals … Dynamo 6 wins, 21 goals … Ties 6
AT KC (8 meetings): Sporting 2 wins, 10 goals … Dynamo 3 wins, 9 goals … Ties 3
FUTURE MATCH: 10/9: Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City, 8:30 p.m. CT

  • The teams are meeting for the second time in three weeks. Aurélien Collin’s header in the 73rd minute was the only goal of the game as Sporting put an end to the Dynamo’s 30-game league home undefeated streak on May 12 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • It was the first victory for the road team in the series since 2009, and Sporting’s second win ever in Houston. A year ago, both league meetings at Sporting Park ended in draws.
  • The teams met in the MLS Cup Playoffs for a second consecutive season last year, the Dynamo winning their semifinal series 2-1 on aggregate. In 2011, the Dynamo won 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Championship at Sporting Park.
  • Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. HOU: P9 W3 L2 D4 … Dominic Kinnear vs. KC: P22 W8 L6 D8

LAST MEETING (MLS)
5/12: HOU 0, KC 1 (Collin 73)

  • The game's lone goal came after 73 minutes. SKC fullback Seth Sinovic found Aurelien Collin on a long throw-in into the penalty area and he flicked the ball past Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall, despite the best efforts of Corey Ashe to clear the shot off the line.
  • KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made three saves for seventh shutout of the season. Sporting became the first visiting team to win at BBVA Compass Stadium, and the first to win in Houston since June 18, 2011.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-4-1): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie (Brian Ching 77), Jermaine Taylor (Eric Brunner 46), Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Adam Moffat (Jason Johnson 77) - Boniek Garcia, Brad Davis, Ricardo Clark, Andrew Driver - Will Bruin.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Jimmy Nielsen - Mechack Jerome, Ike Opara, Aurelien Collin, Seth Sinovic - Oriol Rosell (Lawrence Olum 61) - Paulo Nagamura, Peterson Joseph - Jacob Peterson (Kei Kamara 55), Claudio Bieler (C.J. Sapong 87), Graham Zusi.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City concluded their two-game road trip with a second result, gaining a 1-1 draw with D.C. United on Sunday afternoon at RFK Stadium. Sporting are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 21 points from 13 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Kansas City took the lead at the hour mark. Via a corner kick by Graham Zusi, defender Ike Opara jumped to head the ball and the ball sailed past, deflecting off the head of United defender Ethan White and into the net.
  • But the home side were even five minutes later. Chris Pontius delivered a beautiful ball from the left flank to Kyle Porter, and he slipped a picture-perfect finish inside the back post from inside the goal area.
  • Sporting manager Peter Vermes made two changes to the team that took a 1-0 victory against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Matt Besler and Benny Feilhaber came back into the team in place of the suspended Aurelien Collin and Oriol Rosell.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-1-3): Jimmy Nielsen - Mechack Jerome, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Paulo Nagamura, Benny Feilhaber (Kei Kamara 64) - Peterson Joseph (Lawrence Olum 46) - Graham Zusi, Claudio Bieler, Jacob Peterson (Josh Gardner 76).

TEAM NEWS

  • Sporting return home for consecutive games after taking four points from their two-game road trip. They have three wins on the road this season, tied for in MLS, along with four other clubs. They have not won back-toback games since winning three in a row March 30-April 17.
  • “Our consistency is really now starting to come and that's a great quality to have within your team. And I feel good about that aspect,” said SKC manager Peter Vermes.
  • A real talking point after the match was an apparent goal by Ike Opara in the 30th minute, which was ruled out for offside. Both the assistant referee and the Professional Referees Organization said the call was in error, and the goal should have stood.
  • “Whether [the assistant referee] lost concentration, whether he just doesn't know the rules, there were just a lot of different things where the guy made a big mistake,” Vermes said. “It's unfortunate, because it's two points over the course of the season.” Said Graham Zusi: “Can they give us the two points? No. I'd like to see it be called correctly the first time.”
  • While Matt Besler was able to return to the lineup after missing three matches with a knee sprain, Ike Opara started a fourth consecutive game in central defense with Aurelien Collin serving a one-match ban for caution accumulation.
  • “I think he's been a good addition to our team, for a number of reasons. But more importantly, he's adapted quickly and has given us a look that we need, especially with the three competitions we're playing this year,” said Vermes. “ … It's not even experience – he has qualities that, his recovery speed to get back and cover a guy, his aerial presence is absolutely incredible. It's dominant. So, [he's] a great addition to our team.”
  • Said Opara: “He's defender of the year. I mean, he's a guy that, you know, for me, when I play in place of him or Collin or whatever, I know that team is most likely going to think of me as a weak link. Or maybe because I'm not so much proven [as] these guys. But for me it's a challenge to raise my level to their level and be just as good as them on the day. That's what I take pride in.”
  • Mechack Jerome started his second consecutive match, and third in the last four matches, at right back.
  • “He's defended very well from that position,” Vermes said. “There's no doubt in my mind that he could maybe be at times a little better going forward, but that comes with a little time with our team – understanding who goes when and your anticipation of the situation, but he has adapted and adjusted well to our team at this moment, and I'm happy with his performance thus far.”
  • Chance Myers, who has missed three of the last four games with Jerome starting in his absence, could be available this weekend.
  • “He'll be good to go,” said Vermes. “I think he's good to go right now, to be sure.” Said Myers: “I'm close. We're just playing it by ear now, and I'll be back out there soon.”
  • Said Zusi: "That's one thing that this year's team has, I think more than we ever have, is that depth. Not just at that center back position, really at a lot of positions. So, I think with our scheduling this year, with the amount of games we'll be playing, you'll be seeing a lot of impact from, probably, every single man on this roster."

READ: SKC's Jimmy Nielsen takes a gamble on a new tell-all autobiography | THE WORD

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo lost for the second time in as many matches at home, dropping a 2-0 decision to the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference with 20 points from 12 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Both teams were a man down before the first half was over. On a Revolution free kick, Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell and Revolution forward Dimitry Imbongo tangled, and referee Edvin Jurisevic reached for the red card and sent off both players.
  • The Revs took the lead six minutes into the second half. Diego Fagundez played a nifty give-and-go with Clyde Simms before making a weaving run into the penalty area and tucking his ensuing shot inside the near post for the opener.
  • New England hit for a second six minutes from the field. With the Dynamo caught with numbers forward trying to find the equalizer, Chris Tierney found Juan Agudelo on the left side of the area. He tried to corral a deflected pass, deflecting it off the Dynamo's Ricardo Clark and over the goal line before it could be cleared.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that lost 1-0 to Sporting Kansas City at BBVA Compass Stadium. Giles Barnes came back into the side in place of Adam Moffat.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-3-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor (Eric Brunner 10), Bobby Boswell (sent off 40), Corey Ashe - Ricardo Clark, Boniek Garcia, Andrew Driver, Brad Davis (Brian Ching 75) - Giles Barnes (Adam Moffat 43), Will Bruin.

READ: British Invasion - Houston Dynamo boosted by additions of Giles Barnes, Andrew Driver

TEAM NEWS

  • After losing at home for the first time in two years, the Dynamo have now lost back-to-back home games for the first time since Sept. 5-Oct. 10, 2010, when they lost three in a row to San Jose, Toronto and New England.
  • “When you lose two games at home, these are bad things, but we still are a very good team,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall. “We still have some of the best talent in the league and as a team, when we play well together we are the best team in the league.”
  • The Dynamo have also been shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since last July 3-7, when they were in consecutive scoreless draws with Chicago and Sporting KC.
  • “I’m very disappointed with the way we played tonight. It was 1-0 and I thought we had created a lot of chances, but we just could not put the ball in the back of the net,” said Kinnear. “We had to risk going forward and they scored a goal. Other than that, I’m just disappointed.”
  • The Dynamo will meet SKC for a second time in three weeks with a rebuilt back four. Jermaine Taylor was forced off after just 10 minutes vs. New England with a shoulder injury.
  • In addition, Bobby Boswell was sent off before the first half was over and will also be serving a ban that was extended to two matches following a decision by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.
  • “We don’t know yet,” Kinnear said about the center back position. “We do have an idea but it’s only Tuesday and the game’s Sunday. Eric [Brunner] is a center back so he can play in there and the other guy we’ll see. It could be Jermaine or it could be someone else.”
  • Giles Barnes returned to the lineup after missing the SKC match with an injury, but he was sacrificed in favor of midfielder Adam Moffat following the sending off of Boswell.
  • “Just a disjointed effort,” Hall said. “I think we were giving everything we had but we weren’t working smart. You’re not going to win a lot of games if you’re not working smart. It feels terrible right now. I don’t often remember feeling this bad after a game.”