The challenge looks daunting on its face: traveling to Houston to take on a Dynamo side that hasn’t lost in eight straight home matches and routed D.C. United 4-0 on Sunday.
Then again, Sporting Kansas City have been doing just fine outside Livestrong Sporting Park of late.
Sporting take a three-match road winning streak across all competitions into Wednesday night’s match, their first visit to BBVA Compass Stadium and their second match in 12 days against the defending Eastern Conference champions (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“I just think the guys know to keep it compact defensively, very hard to break down,” manager Peter Vermes told MLSsoccer.com after Saturday night’s 2-0 victory at Columbus. “We’ve also been good at finishing our chances.”
That was definitely the case against Columbus. Sporting had two shots on goal all night – and connected on both of them, through Jacob Peterson in the sixth minute and Teal Bunbury in the 82nd. Each time, a giveaway by the Crew led to a break that ended with the ball in the back of the net.
“Whenever you play away from home, you’ve got to realize that the other team has the pressure on them to drive the game,” Vermes said in the postgame news conference. “They have to entertain their home fans and I think we were really solid defensively, we didn’t give much away. I think it was hard for them to break us down and I think they got a little frustrated.”
Peterson, who turned his left ankle early in the match and was lifted after 38 minutes, said the early tally helped Sporting set the tone for the away victory.
“You want to get the crowd out of the game,” Peterson said, “and I thought we did that with the early goal.”
Sporting have also been strong after the break in recent away matches. Over the course of their three wins, they have outscored the opposition 7-1 – with only Peterson’s goal coming in the first 45 minutes. And in all three outings, Sporting have notched an insurance goal after the 80th minute as the home sides were forced to push up the pitch in search of an equalizer.
“We know that through the run of play they’re going to put numbers forward,” Vermes said. “Then it’s just about us finding the opportunity.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.