Sporting Kansas City’s unbeaten streak now stands at 11 games, but for the second-straight game they had to scratch and claw until the final seconds to keep the run intact.
A week after Omar Bravo’s late heroics gave Sporting a 1-1 home draw against Chivas USA, on Saturday night it was French defender Aurelien Collin who managed to provide the all-important equalizer. Sporting settled for a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo despite enjoying a two-man advantage for more than 20 minutes on a hot and humid night at Robertson Stadium.
And while a victory and all three points would have been preferred considering the circumstances, Sporting manager Peter Vermes wasn’t willing to second guess his team’s effort on a night he felt they dominated proceedings.
“We dominated the entire game from the start to the finish,” Vermes said. “With the number of chances we created and the way we played them at their place, I’m very proud of the guys.
“Do I want to win? Sure. I want to win every game. But that’s not always the case, and you have to realize what the situation is. The situation was that we were on them. We created some great chances around the goal. We could have been a little cleaner, but that didn’t fall. But we found a way to get the goal, get the point and get out of here.”
That point means Sporting (5-6-8) is now undefeated in 11 games, a run that has dragged them out of the Eastern Conference cellar but has been characterized more often by draws rather than wins. Kansas City is 4-0-7 since losing on May 21 to Seattle, ironically, on another last second goal.
Against the Dynamo, it was Brad Davis who scored the opening goal in the eighth minute to put Vermes’ side in an early hole, bending a free kick over the wall and just inside the post past a flailing Jimmy Nielsen.
True to form, Sporting dictated proceedings from there, outshooting Houston 24 -8 overall and forcing seven crucial saves out of Tally Hall with the help of two dismissals.
Eventually they got their goal from, predictably, Collin, who spent the majority of the game squarely in the spotlight.
His hip check flipped Brain Ching, drawing the foul that set up Davis’ curling strike past Nielsen. Normally the aggressor, he was also the target of two cynical tackles from Colin Clark and Ching that resulted in straight red cards for both in the 51st and 69th minutes.
Then, with boos raining down on him from frustrated Dynamo supporters, Collin spanked the low drive that made it past Tally Hall with the help of a deflection in the 90th minute to even things up.
“He’s got a relentless attitude to want to win,” Vermes said. “He doesn’t give up. That’s a big thing in this league. [Collin] has an American mentality to never give up, but he also has the smarts and the intelligence to play the game. That’s a deadly combination.”
Unfortunately, Sporting as a whole weren’t quite deadly enough with their finishing. Still, Kansas City will take the point and happily move on to two months of matches at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Their next game on the road: September 17.