With only one travel day and one training day before their match against the New England Revolution (Saturday at 8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online), Sporting Kansas City can’t afford to indulge in what-ifs following Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo.
They know what happened, and why: Despite their best defensive effort to hold onto the road point, Houston’s man advantage finally paid off after midfielder Peterson Joseph’s ejection in first-half stoppage time.
“I think we were extremely well organized and didn’t give much away, even when we were a man down,” goalkeeper and captain Jimmy Nielsen said after the match. “We didn’t give much away and held a lot of the possession.”
WATCH: Carr storms in for the winner
And until Calen Carr’s 80th-minute goal, his second of the game, that compact strategy was working.
“They got a pretty lucky goal,” Nielsen said. “I think the ball just hit him somehow and it went in. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Unfortunately for us, it was not our day, but I think we all did what we could with a man down. I think that everybody put in a great effort. Can’t ask for more.”
That stood in marked contrast to Sporting’s last road loss when the whole team looked slow, sloppy and disorganized en route to a 4-0 defeat against the Philadelphia Union on June 23.
“It was a tough result for us,” center back Matt Besler said of Wednesday night’s match. “We had some things go against us that we can’t control but we are going to hold our heads up high because we fought until the last minute and we gave everything that we had on the field.”
Convey comes back
Left winger Bobby Convey, who has been sidelined for two months with a series of calf strains, returned to action late in Wednesday’s match.
Convey came on for Jacob Peterson in the 82nd minute, his first appearance in Sporting’s past nine games. He overhit a long cross early in his stint, perhaps showing some rust from his absence, but earned generally high marks from manager Peter Vermes.
“He was good,” Vermes told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the match. “He was actually very good. He gave us a lot of energy when he came in.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.