HOUSTON – For the second time this season Sporting Kansas City found a way to get a result in Houston against the Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Sporting went toe-to-toe with their Eastern Conference nemesis Wednesday night and battled to a 0-0 draw, one short on artistry and long on caginess. The draw means the Kansas City can clinch a playoff berth from their couches this weekend if the Chicago Fire fail to beat FC Dallas and the Philadelphia Union lose to D.C. United.
For Houston, the shared spoils rules out clinching a playoff berth for the moment. But early on, it looked like three points were going to be theirs.
Houston pushed for first blood from the opening whistle, forcing Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen into three saves in the first seven minutes. Will Bruin tested Nielsen three times in the half, the first inside 90 seconds and second at the six minute mark – both shots from point blank range.
After Houston’s early push the game leveled off, becoming the physical intense battle the clubs are known for waging. Neither side truly threatened again until the stroke of halftime, when Aurelien Collin headed Brad Davis’ free kick off the line.
There was even less attacking impetus in the second half, as both teams coped without a host of regulars lost to the international date. The best look came in the final 15 minutes when some clever play from Bruin found Davis at the back post, but the veteran couldn’t control for a solid look.
With the draw, Sporting remain four points ahead of the Dynamo in second place in the East, meaning Houston would have to make up that difference in final two games to earn home field advantage in a potential home and home playoff series.
Both teams will take the weekend off and return to action the following week with Houston hosting the New York Red Bulls and Sporting hosting D.C. October 18.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Jimmy Nielsen||The difference between a scoreless draw and a blowout. Made four outstanding saves to keep his team in it at the beginning and end.|
|2||Ricardo Clark||Made it so that KC could get nothing working in midfield, and even released Will Bruin into space twice. Should have had at least one assist.|
|3||Ike Opara||It's all emergency defense, and it's never pretty. But once again it was effective as Sporting got their result.|