HOUvSKC DL, Oct 9, 2013

Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City | MLS Match Preview

Oct. 9, 2013 (WEEK 33, MLS Game #298)
7:30 p.m. CT (CSN-Hou; KSMO)

The Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City will meet again in a potential playoff preview when the Eastern Conference foes clash on Wednesday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. Both teams come into the game with the opportunity of sealing their berths in the MLS Cup Playoffs with a victory – and they’ve met in the postseason each of the last two years. The Dynamo sit in third in the East after their 1-0 home win vs. Montréal, four points behind Sporting, who are in second after kicking off their road swing with a 1-0 win at Columbus.


REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. AR1 (bench): Adam Garner; AR2 (opposite): Jeff Muschik; 4th: Ismail Elfath
Villarreal MLS Career: 26 games; FC/gm: 23.7; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 10; pens: 7

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: HOU: Andrew Driver … KC: Claudio Bieler, Aurelien Collin, Benny Feilhaber, Peterson Joseph, Seth Sinovic
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Corey Ashe, Warren Creavalle, Boniek Garcia … KC: Lawrence Olum, Paulo Nagamura, Chance Myers, Ike Opara
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: HOU: Boniek Garcia (Honduras); Jermaine Taylor (Jamaica) … KC: Matt Besler, Graham Zusi (USA), Erik Palmer-Brown (U.S. U-18)

ALL-TIME (17 meetings): Dynamo 6 wins, 22 goals … Sporting 4 wins, 19 goals … Ties 7
AT HOUSTON (8 meetings): Dynamo 3 wins, 12 goals … Sporting 2 wins, 8 goals … Ties 3

2013 (MLS)
5/12: HOU 0, KC 1 (Collin 73)
5/26: KC 1, HOU 1 (Kamara 68 – Davis 46+)

• The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Aurélien Collin’s header in the 73rd minute was the only goal of the game as Sporting put an end to the Dynamo’s 30-game regular-season home undefeated streak on May 12 at BBVA Compass Stadium; two weeks later, SKC’s Kei Kamara and Houston’s Brad Davis traded goals to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw at Sporting Park.

• The Sporting win in the first meeting was the first victory for the road team in the regular-season series since 2009 and Sporting’s second win ever in Houston. The last three regular-season meetings at Sporting Park have ended in draws.

• The teams met in the MLS Cup Playoffs for a second consecutive season last year, the Dynamo winning their semifinal series 2-1 on aggregate. In 2011, the Dynamo won 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Championship at Sporting Park.

• Coaches' records: Peter Vermes vs. HOU: P10 W3 L2 D5 … Dominic Kinnear vs. KC: P23 W8 L6 D9


• A key talking point came in the 38th minute. Brad Davis went down under a challenge from Oriol Rosell, and referee Drew Fischer immediately pointed to the spot. But after protests from Sporting's players, Fischer conferred with assistant referee Kevin Duliba and waved off the penalty ruling.

• The Dynamo took the lead in the first minute of first half stoppage time. Giles Barnes flicked the ball on forward to Will Bruin, who took it with his back to the defense and worked free before slotting a quick through ball to Brad Davis for a finish inside goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen's near post.

• Sporting drew even in the 68th minute. After Jacob Peterson got a touch on Oriol Rosell's through ball, Claudio Bieler's square pass found Kei Kamara just outside the area after a dummy, and he slotted into the lower right corner for the equalizer.

• SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Jimmy Nielsen - Mechack Jerome (Chance Myers 46), Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Oriol Rosell (Lawrence Olum 81) - Paulo Nagamura, Peterson Joseph (Kei Kamara 52) - Jacob Peterson, Claudio Bieler, Graham Zusi.

• HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-1-3-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Ricardo Clark, Eric Brunner, Corey Ashe (Mike Chabala 46) - Adam Moffat - Andrew Driver, Brad Davis (Jason Johnson 87), Boniek Garcia - Giles Barnes (Warren Creavalle  81), Will Bruin.


The Houston Dynamo extended their undefeated streak to four games, holding on for a 1-0 win against the Montréal Impact on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo are in third place in the Eastern Conference with 47 points from 31 matches.


• The game's only goal came after just six minutes. A good buildup saw Boniek Garcia find Giles Barnes at the top of the box, and Barnes then chested a perfect ball into the path of an onrushing Ricardo Clark. He cut back to create space for a shot that curled away from goalkeeper Troy Perkins and nestled in the back of the net.

• Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall was called upon to make four saves in keeping the clean sheet.

• Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made no changes to his team for a second consecutive match, maintaining the group that came back for a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.

• HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Boniek Garcia, Warren Creavalle, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Andrew Driver 86) - Will Bruin (Cam Weaver 79), Giles Barnes (Omar Cummings 88).


• The Dynamo extended their league undefeated streak to four games, one game shy of their season-long, set April 14-May 8.

• “We knew we wanted to get on top of them right away early and put pressure on them,” said Brad Davis. “I think we gave them a little too much respect up there when we were in Montreal. We knew we were going to be tougher.”

• For the second time in four matches, Ricardo Clark scored the only goal for a 1-0 Dynamo victory. Clark has four goals this year, the most in a single season in his nine-year MLS career.

• “He always puts in the work, and you can always count on him to give 100 percent,” said center back Bobby Boswell. “All we needed was one tonight. When you score that early goal, your chances of getting a win are so much better of getting a good result, and you saw it tonight. Credit to Ricardo for that.”

• Clark has two goals and an assist over the last four matches, all in the starting lineup after being out of the first XI for four consecutive matches.

• “I think he does a lot of things that maybe a lot of people don’t get or don’t see,” Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “I think the coaching staff understands how valuable he is to the team. I think if you step back, you realize how important he is when he’s not on the field for us.”

• Boniek Garcia recorded an assist for a second consecutive match. He has been involved in each of the Dynamo’s last four goals over the past three games (2 goals, 2 assists).

• Andrew Driver made his first appearance in more than a month, playing the final four minutes in a substitute role. Garcia will miss the Sporting KC match, along with Jermaine Taylor, on international duty.

• “The positive side out of it was that we came out of it healthy, that’s the most important thing, because you knew Wednesday you were going to be two light with international duty so you want to make sure you got through this game and the reserve game,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear.


Sporting Kansas City won for a fourth time in five matches, getting the game’s only goal for a victory against the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. Sporting are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 51 points from 31 matches.


• The game's only goal came in the 17th minute. A half-clearance from a corner kick rolled back to Graham Zusi, and he found an unmarked Ike Opara on the far side of goal for a close-range header that left Columbus goalkeeper Matt Lampson with no chance for a save.

• Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was called upon to make just a single save for the shutout.

• Sporting manager Peter Vermes made four changes to the team that fell 1-0 to Philadelphia Union at Sporting Park. Matt Besler came into central defense in place of Aurelien Collin, Lawrence Olum and Peterson Joseph started in the midfield in place of Oriol Rosell and Benny Feilhaber, and Soony Saad came into a wide role in place of Jacob Peterson.

• SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-2-3-1): Jimmy Nielsen - Chance Myers, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic - Lawrence Olum, Peterson Joseph - C.J. Sapong, Graham Zusi, Soony Saad (Jacob Peterson 70) - Dom Dwyer (Teal Bunbury 84).


• Sporting won for the fourth time in the last five matches, and won for the second consecutive away match.

• “With the way everything is bunched up in both the East and West at the moment, all of these games coming down the stretch are playoff games,” said SKC manager Peter Vermes. “In a way it's good because everyone is having to keep their game up. So if you get into the playoffs, you will be at that same level. For us, it was a good performance and a great result coming here, because it is not an easy place to play.”

• Sporting also kept a clean sheet for the second time in four games, and they have allowed just five goals over the last eight matches.

• “We were very difficult to play against tonight,” Vermes said. “Very difficult to play against. I thought our mentality was really good throughout the course of the game. If I had one flaw for us through the game, it's that we gave up one too many set pieces. But outside of that, we were very good.”

• Matt Besler made his first start since Aug. 31, having missed the last three matches first to injury and international duty, then to keep him “healthy and hungry,” Vermes said.

• Ike Opara scored his third goal of the season for the game-winner vs. Columbus, matching his single-season career-high set in his rookie season of 2010, when he scored three goals with San Jose.

• “They were excellent,” Vermes said. “They were both very good on the ball. They make very good decisions on the ball, and they were both very good in the one-on-one duels that they had. They read the game very, very well.”

• Said Opara: “We just wanted to stay compact. We know they have some good players. … For us it was all about being in the correct starting positions and if they did break us down at times being able to recover and just working all game.”

• Graham Zusi recorded a second assist in the last three games, making his third consecutive start since missing the Columbus match on Sept. 7 to injury.


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