The Houston Dynamo scored late but were unable to find the equalizer, falling 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City this evening at BBVA Stadium.
Tonight’s meeting was the fourth of the season between the two sides, and the win allowed Sporting to salvage a split of the season series, with each team winning twice. Despite the scoreline, the Dynamo had the better of play over the course of the evening, holding the ball for nearly two-thirds of the contest, attempting nearly 600 passes, outshooting Sporting and holding a 17-6 edge in crosses from open play.
Sporting took the lead in the 34th minute through forward Alan Pulido. Pulido collected the ball 35 yards from goal and went one-on-two before creating a sliver of space with which to take a shot from six yards out. His low right-footed shot slipped just past the leg of goalkeeper Marko Marić, who had quickly raced off his line to cut down the angle, and into the side netting on the opposite side of the goal.
Marić came up with a pair of big saves in the 66th minute to keep Houston in it. First he made himself big to deny Sporting forward Khiry Shelton from 12 yards, then quickly recovered and dove acrobatically to his left to push away the followup shot from forward Johnny Russell.
Pulido made it 2-0 in the 73rd minute as he slid to get on the end of a diagonal pass from midfielder Gianluca Busio and lift a shot over an onrushing Marić into the back of the net.
Defender Sam Junqua pulled a goal back in th 84th minute with a picture-perfect header off a corner kick from forward Darwin Quintero. Junqua, who replaced Adam Lundkvist in the 78th, rose above the Sporting back line and powered his header into the back of the net for his first professional goal.
Late in the match, Dynamo homegrown midfielder Marcelo Palomino made his professional debut, coming in as a substitute on 78 minutes. The three-time Dynamo Academy Player of the Year signed with the First Team in January. The 18-year-old was tidy on the ball in his first minutes as a pro, helping hold possession by completing all 13 passes he attempted while drawing one foul.
Houston will be back in action at BBVA Stadium on Wednesday night when they host their in-state rivals FC Dallas. Kickoff for that match is set for 7 p.m. CDT, and a limited number of tickets remain available in the Club’s socially-distanced seating setup.