HOUSTON – For the fourth time this season, the Houston Dynamo went down a man against Sporting Kansas City. For the first time, they made a lead hold up by grinding out a 1-0 win in a midweek match.
It took 67 minutes but the Dynamo finally broke the deadlock courtesy of Will Bruin, who was the beneficiary of some pinpoint work between World Cup veterans Brad Davis and the returning DaMarcus Beasley. The pair played a give-and-go on the left side to set Beasley to the end line, and Beasley cut around a lunging Chance Myers before hitting a low cross that found Bruin all alone at the back post for a tap in. It was Bruin’s club-leading 11th goal of the season.
Two minutes later the Dynamo were put behind the eight ball. After seeing a yellow card just before half time, Boniek Garcia, starting his first game at right back for the club, brought his hands up while trying to shield Dom Dwyer from the ball. Referee Sorin Stoica showed Garcia a second yellow for an early exit to leave Houston to finish with 10 men.
Houston have had a red card ejection in all four of their meetings with Sporting KC this year, including their US Open Cup battle.
The Dynamo lead held up, however, giving them the full three points in their quest for a postseason berth. Houston move to 38 points in the standings and three out of the final playoff spot. Kansas City remain on 44 points and in fifth in the Western Conference.
Benny Feilhaber received an 88th minute yellow card for dissent which will rule him out of Sunday’s playoff contenders clash with the Seattle Sounders at home.
It was a slow affair in the first half as the number of yellow cards, two, matched the amount of shots in the game through 40 minutes. Houston controlled the possession, but took 43 minutes to notch a shot, which came from Giles Barnes from distance and landed in the stands.
Kansas City were not much better. Struggling to get a foot on the ball, the visitors did not spend much time in the final third and came closest when a free kick came off the stomach of Kevin Ellis and forced Tyler Deric into action. Not technically a shot on goal, the scoreless opening stanza ended without one.
Houston came close to finding the opener six minutes into the second half. On their first dangerous foray into the final third of the night, Barnes sent a long ball in that got past a sliding Bruin. Davis got to the loose ball at the end line to square to Ricardo Clark, but his shot was blocked by Feilhaber three feet in front of goal.
In the 62nd minute, Leonel Miranda released Clark down the left sideline with a nifty back heel. The center midfielder’s ensuing cross found Barnes, but Tim Melia was in good position to deflect the shot and scrambled to shut down a chipped effort from Davis.
After Garcia’s ejection, KC pushed forward. Second half substitute Jacob Peterson took a long-range shot that forced Deric into action just five minutes after taking the man advantage. In the 79th minute, Myers played a throw-in off Graham Zusi’s back and lofted a cross towards the six-yard box but Dwyer’s header was right to Deric.
Houston stay home to host the Colorado Rapids in their next game on Saturday while Kansas City welcome the Sounders on Sunday before a midweek US Open Cup final against the Philadelphia Union.