Sporting Kansas City were back in action Friday night as they traveled to Houston to face the Houston Dynamo in an Eastern Conference Clash. Sporting KC were riding a 5 game losing streak and were desperate for points before the team and league go on their World Cup Break.
The injury plague once again reared its head for Sporting KC in only the 7th minute of the game, when Paulo Nagamura went up for a ball and collided heads with a Houston challenger. Nagamura was on the field for several minutes before being taken off the field on the stretcher.
Early reports are Nagamura had a 2 inch gash in his head and suffered a concussion. Severity is unknown at this time.
An already challenging game was made even more challenging when Antonio Dovale was issued a red card in the 21st minute for an “off the ball” incident. The replay showed a Houston player walk into the back of Dovale and Dovale raise his arm and push the player away with the back of his arm/elbow.
The red card is understandable but seemed a bit harsh in my eyes, Dovale has to be more disciplined than that.
Down to 10 men, Sporting would have to play the final 70 minutes with only 10 men. Both teams had their share of chances early but Sporting was the first to capitalize in the 45th minute when Houston played and errant pass that was intercepted by Benny Feilhaber.
Feilhaber dribbled it forward and passed off to Soony Saad who was making his run up the left side, Saad took one touch then blasted it inside the far post just past the outstretched Houston Goalkeeper to give Sporting KC the 1-0 lead in the 45th minute.
Feilhaber was injured on the play when he played the pass to Soony Saad he was fouled and landed hard on his shoulder. Feilhaber would finish the half but was substituted at half time and early reports are that he suffered a shoulder dislocation.
Igor Juliao who was questionable going in to the game because of a quad strain was also subbed off at half because of the strain. Sporting KC would have to play the final 45 minutes without any more subs and down a man.
Sporting KC would find an insurance goal in the second half when Soony Saad sent in a corner ball that looked to be curling towards goal a Houston defender blocked it with his arm and was whistled for a hand ball inside the box which warranted a PK for Sporting KC.
Dom Dwyer stepped up to take the PK and fired a shot to the left of a frozen Houston Goalkeeper to give Sporting the 2-0 lead in the 70th minute.
The 70th minute goal by Dwyer moved him back into a tie for first place in the MLS Golden Boot (Most goals) race with New York Red Bulls Forward Bradley Wright-Phillips. Both players currently have 11 goals but Wright-Phillips and New York have played one fewer game than Dwyer and Sporting KC.
Sporting KC was able to weather the pressure in the final minutes of the game by Houston and finished with the final 2-0 in favor of Sporting KC. Sporting KC was able to end their 5 game win-less streak and get a much needed 3 points before the World Cup break.
The past month hasn’t been favorable to Sporting KC but without Besler and Zusi and with all the injuries Sporting KC was able to get 5 points in 5 games so there is a silver lining.
Sporting KC will be back in action on June 18th to begin their run at another US Open Cup Championship, their next MLS league game comes June 27th at the Portland Timbers.
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