Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo | MLS Match Preview

SPORTING KANSAS CITY vs HOUSTON DYNAMO
SPORTING PARK, Kansas City, Kan.
Aug. 29, 2014 (WEEK 25, MLS Game #232)
7 p.m. CT (NBCSN)

Familiar playoff foes, Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo meet for the second time this season with the clubs having very different outlooks as they clash Friday evening at Sporting Park before an NBC Sports Network audience. Sporting fell out of the top spot in the East last weekend, following a 3-0 home loss to D.C. United, who moved into the point position. The Dynamo suffered their seventh consecutive defeat away from home, dropping a 3-0 decision at the Columbus Crew, leaving them five points out of the final playoff position in the conference.

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REFEREE: Mark Geiger. AR1 (bench): Adam Wienckowski; AR2 (opposite): C.J. Morgante; 4th: Ted Unkel
MLS Career: 122 games; FC/gm: 26.6; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 30; pens: 42

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: KC: Dom Dwyer, Benny Feilhaber, Paulo Nagamura … HOU: Kofi Sarkodie
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: KC: Antonio Dovale, Eric Kronberg, Kevin Ellis, Lawrence Olum, Seth Sinovic, Igor Juliao … HOU: Will Bruin, Ricardo Clark
DISABLED LIST: KC: Peterson Joseph, Ike Opara, Chance Myers (season-ending injury)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (19 meetings): Sporting 5 wins, 21 goals … Dynamo 6 wins, 22 goals … Ties 8
AT KANSAS CITY (9 meetings): Sporting 2 wins, 11 goals … Dynamo 3 wins, 10 goals … Ties 4

2014 (MLS)
6/6: HOU 0, KC 2 (Saad 45; Dwyer 70)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Soony Saad and Dom Dwyer netted goals in Sporting KC’s 2-0 victory, June 6 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
  • In league play, the last three meetings at Sporting Park have ended in draws. Sporting has come away with points on their last three league visits to BBVA Compass Stadium, with two wins and a draw.
  • The teams have met each of the last three years in the MLS Cup Playoffs, with Sporting winning the Eastern Conference Championship matchup a year ago 2-1 on aggregate. The Dynamo had advanced each of the two previous years, including in 2011 at Sporting Park with a trip to MLS Cup on the line.
  • Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. HOU: P12 W4 L2 D6… Dominic Kinnear vs. KC: P21 W8 L3 D10

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • Sporting went a man down in the 21st minute when Toni Dovale was sent off by referee Juan Guzman for an apparent off-the-ball elbow against Dynamo midfielder Alex Lopez.
  • But the visitors took the lead just before the halftime break. Just minutes after clearing a ball off the line, Dynamo defender Eric Brunner miscontrolled the ball on the edge of his box and it fell to Soony Saad, who coolly stroked a low shot into the far corner.
  • Sporting doubled their despite the manpower disadvantage in the 70th minute after rookie center back A.J. Cochran was adjudged to have handled in the penalty area and Dom Dwyer converted the spot kick.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-2-3-1): Tyler Deric - Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst (Eric Brunner 9 / Warren Creavalle 57), A.J. Cochran, Jermaine Taylor - Alexander Lopez, Servando Carrasco - Omar Cummings (Jason Johnson 68), Giles Barnes, Andrew Driver - Will Bruin.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Eric Kronberg - Igor Juliao (Jacob Peterson 46), Erik Palmer-Brown, Kevin Ellis, Seth Sinovic - Lawrence Olum - Benny Feilhaber (Sal Zizzo 46), Paulo Nagamura (Alex Martinez 7) - Antonio Dovale (ejected 21), Dom Dwyer, Soony Saad.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City suffered their second loss in three matches in a matchup of the top two in the Eastern Conference, falling 3-0 to D.C. United on Saturday evening at Sporting Park. Sporting are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 42 points from 25 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's three goals came in a seven-minute span right at the half-hour mark. United opened the scoring in the 24th minute when Fabian Espindola took Luis Silva's pass, found space at the top left of Kansas City's penalty area, and slotted a low shot just past a diving Jon Kempin and inside the far post.
  • The visitors doubled the lead just four minutes later, again with an assist to Silva. Chris Rolfe made a perfectly timed run to slip behind Sporting's back line, finishing his 1-v-1 past Kempin from the top of the box.
  • Three minutes after that, it was 3-0. This time, it was Rolfe's turn to play provider, his through ball springing Perry Kitchen with plenty of space to operate behind the back line. He drove into the upper left of the penalty area, made a quick cutback to avoid charging center back Aurelien Collin, and slotted the ball near post.Sporting manager Peter Vermes made no changes to the team that rolled to a 4-1 win against Toronto FC at Sporting Park.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Jon Kempin - Igor Juliao, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Lawrence Olum - Graham Zusi, Benny Feilhaber (Claudio Bieler 70) - Sal Zizzo (C.J. Sapong 37), Dom Dwyer, Soony Saad (Antonio Dovale 79).

TEAM NEWS

  • Sporting suffered their heaviest home defeat since the 2010 season in the loss to D.C. United, conceding three goals in a game for the first time this season.
  • “There's been a lot of credit given to our back four over a long period of time. But the way that they performed tonight, they also are going to get some credit, too – and that's for giving up three goals,” SKC manager Peter Vermes said. “ … The number of goals that we've given up in our place, and the way we gave them up – and we've done this a couple of times now, not a number of them, but different counterattack-type goals like this.”
  • Said defender Matt Besler: “I'm not going to stand here and get into tactics too much. We gave up three goals. We gave up three breakaways at home, and it's unacceptable.”
  • Goalkeeper Jon Kempin suffered the loss for the first time since taking over the No. 1 goalkeeping duties with injuries to Andy Gruenebaum and Eric Kronberg.
  • “Give them credit, they made us pay and finished their chances. But we weren't good enough tonight. We knew what to expect from them, and at times we made it easy for them. We were sloppy in our distribution; we were caught out of position. Like I said, we want the next game to come fast because this just isn't acceptable,” Besler said.
  • For the first time this season, Vermes ran out the same starting XI in back-to-back league games. Seven of the starters had also been in the first team at midweek in the CONCACAF Champions League match at Real Estelí of Nicaragua, a 1-1 draw.
  • “D.C. was good on three counters, which our back four was absolutely horrendous on. It's one of those days where they came down on three routine plays and they scored three goals because of the way we were organized at the back,” Vermes said. “… But this has nothing to do with playing against Real Estelí.”
  • Claudio Bieler made a second consecutive substitute appearance, coming off the bench for the final 20 minutes, after not featuring in 12 consecutive league matches from May 23.
  • Sporting were shut out at the attacking end for the second time in three matches, and the sixth time this season. It was their second blanking at Kansas City, the first coming in a scoreless draw April 5 vs. Real Salt Lake.
  • “It's been a strange year. It's not like we've gone out with our consistent style, and there have been a lot of disruptions. So it's a difficult thing to evaluate,” Vermes said. “I couldn't care less about the games up until (the last one). This is the one I have to evaluate.”

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo saw their club-record road losing streak hit seven matches, falling 3-0 to the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Dynamo are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with 25 points from 24 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Crew took the lead after 35 minutes. Justin Meram benefitted from a poor touch from a Houston defender and gathered the ball near the top of the penalty box, then took a few touches before firing a left-footed shot past goalkeeper Tally Hall.
  • The lead was doubled in the 59th minute as Meram this time played provider. Cleaning up a long corner, Meram turned and swung in a perfectly placed cross to the head of Adam Bedell, who outmuscled his marker and glanced a header past a helpless Hall and into the far corner.
  • Columbus added a third goal in the 64th minute, when fullback Waylon Francis found streaking substitute Aaron Schoenfeld with a perfect cross to head home from the heart of the area to seal the match.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that defeated Philadelphia Union 2-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Corey Ashe came in at left back in place of DaMarcus Beasley.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, David Horst, Corey Ashe - Boniek Garcia (Andrew Driver 71), Luis Garrido (Brian Ownby 61), Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Jason Johnson 83) - Giles Barnes, Will Bruin.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Dynamo had their club-record road losing streak extended to seven games in the loss at Columbus. The Dynamo are 1-10-1 on their travels, having scored just seven road goals, fewest in MLS this season.
  • The Dynamo have conceded the opening goal 13 times this season, tied for fifth-most in the league. But they have won just once after allowing the opening goal, their .077 winning percentage better than just the Montréal Impact (0-11-1, .042).
  • “I thought up until the goal we looked pretty good,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “I thought that first goal took the wind out of us.”
  • After starting three consecutive matches at left back following his acquisition, DaMarcus Beasley did not feature against the Crew after suffering hamstring tightness.
  • Corey Ashe made his first start since July 20, coming back into the back four at left back to replace Beasley.
  • “I don’t think there’s anything anyone could question Corey about,” said forward Giles Barnes. “Ever since the day he knew he might not be starting he’s been out here working and doing his thing and that’s Corey all over. I can’t praise Corey enough. He’s a good player as well. He’s accepted what’s happened, and he’s working hard day-in-and-day-out.”
  • Beasley had not returned to full training sessions as the buildup to the Sporting match began. “He’s out as of now and we’ll see,” Kinnear said. “He went out jogging [Monday], and we have until Friday to see if he can play or not. [Corey’s] training well, and when he’s been asked to play he’s ready. He’s been very professional about it.”
  • The Dynamo were shut out at the attacking end for a 10th time this season, nine of those coming away from BBVA Compass Stadium. The New York Red Bulls were shut out 12 times in away matches in 2009 when they set the MLS record for fewest goals scored in road games for the season (3).
  • “I don’t think it was one thing in particular,” Kinnear said. “I don’t think we had a good night. They played pretty well, and you give them credit for that.”