Houston Dynamo FC opened a two-game road trip with a 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park earlier today. The team will finish as high as fourth in the Western Conference pending results of Matchday 34 in Major League Soccer.
After referee Chris Penso consulted VAR, Kansas City was awarded a penalty in the sixth minute when Erik Thommy’s shot from the right side of the penalty box glanced off the hand of midfielder Sebastian Kowalczyk. Russell stepped up and converted the attempt.
VAR was consulted again in the 39th minute and Russell was shown a red card for a tackle on forward Nelson Quiñónes near the touchline. Kansas City played the remaining 51 minutes of the match with 10 men.
Sporting doubled its lead in the final minutes of the first half after a deflected ball inside the penalty box fell to the feet off William Agada, who tapped home the opportunity.
Houston responded two minutes later, as defender Teenage Hadebe poked home a goal inside the six-yard box after captain Héctor Herrera delivered a free kick into a dangerous area. Defender Ethan Bartlow managed the first touch and was credited with his first-career MLS assist. Last week, Hadebe made his first league appearance for the Dynamo since April 22 after recovering from a leg injury. The goal was the Zimbabwe international’s first of the season.
Bartlow cut off a key pass in the 13th minute that prevented Russell from running free into the box for a scoring opportunity. A few minutes later, defender Franco Escobar came up with a key block as Agada wound up for a shot from just outside of the penalty box. The defender ended the night with two interceptions and six recoveries.
Sporting hit the left post in the 19th minute after Thommy attempted a half volley from outside of the penalty box. One minute later, Houston was also denied by the woodwork, as midfielder Luís Caicedo found himself in space and hit the right post with a strong shot from well outside of the penalty box.
Quiñónes took his chances from deep in the 23rd minute, but his effort went just outside the near post into the side netting. The 21-year-old hit the woodwork two minutes later, as his shot from the right side of the penalty box beat goalkeeper Tim Melia but skimmed off the crossbar.
Escobar forced a quick-reaction save from Melia in the 30th minute after meeting Hadebe’s left-sided delivery at the edge of the penalty box.
Goalkeeper Steve Clark made a crucial stop in the 43rd minute after Khiry Shelton received a ball from over the top. Shelton attempted a first-touch shot inside the penalty box, but the veteran goalkeeper arrived early enough to block the shot.
Houston almost equalized early in first-half stoppage-time, as Herrera ran into the left side of the penalty box and attempted a shot on goal from a tight angle, but Melia was able close the window. Three minutes later, the Mexican international took his chances from outside of the box but pulled his shot just wide of the near post.
Clark made another key save in the 51st minute, diving right to get his fingertips to Thommy’s shot that missed the inside of the far post by inches.
Herrera forced Melia to stop a direct attempt on goal from a free kick in the 54th minute, as the midfielder’s low shot dipped and turned on its way to goal.
Forward Corey Baird, who entered the match as a substitute at halftime, forced another quick reaction save from Melia in the 64th minute after Escobar fed him the ball on the edge of the penalty box.
Defender Micael made a key block in the 73rd minute when he got a foot on Danny Rosero’s effort inside the box.
Defender Griffin Dorsey whipped in a cross that found Iván Franco at the far post, but his shot was blocked by a defender.
Houston’s final opportunity of the game came off the right foot of Corey Baird in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time. Bartlow’s pass found the forward in space, but his effort was saved by the Kansas City goalkeeper.
The Dynamo next travel to South Florida to take on Lionel Messi and Inter Miami CF in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final on Wednesday, Sept. 27, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT. The team returns to Shell Energy Stadium on Sept. 30 to host FC Dallas in the final leg of the Texas Derby.