Thursday, July 19, 2012

Late goal sinks Sporting KC in Houston

Sporting Kansas City suffered a 2-1 loss at the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Level at halftime on Kei Kamara’s penalty kick and team-leading seventh goal of the season, Sporting Kansas City played the second half with 10 men following Peterson Joseph’s ejection and conceded the decisive goal in the 79th minute when Calen Carr struck for his second goal of the match.

After playing three games on the road in eight days, Sporting Kansas City remains in first place in the Eastern Conference and returns home in advance of Saturday’s match against the New England Revolution at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.

The Eastern Conference’s top two teams a year ago, Sporting KC and Houston met on Wednesday just 11 days after playing to a scoreless draw in Kansas City.

The defensive units continued to dominate in the early moments on Wednesday, with Sporting KC All-Star Aurelien Collin at his best in the 12th minute to make a vital tackle inside the penalty area on Brad Davis.

The 2011 MLS MVP runner-up had gotten behind the Sporting KC defense on an entry ball from Boniek Garcia.

On the opposite end, Teal Bunbury recorded the first shot of the match four minutes later. After Peterson Joseph won the ball away from Garcia in the defensive third, Kamara sent the ball into space for Bunbury on the right wing but the third-year pro pushed his shot wide of the near post under pressure from Jermaine Taylor.

The visitors continued to stay active in front of the Houston goal with Jacob Peterson winning a header from Matt Besler’s throw-in. His attempt from 15 yards out was on frame, but easily held by Tally Hall.

Houston opened the scoring in the 25th minute, capitalizing on a buildup that saw 23 consecutive passes and over a minute of uninterrupted possession.

Will Bruin and Andre Hainault combined for a give-and-go along the right sideline, with Bruin eluding the pressure of three defenders as he dribbled into the penalty area and eventually played the ball square to Carr. His first-time finish from the corner of the six-yard was powered past Nielsen and inside the far post for his first of two goals on the night.

The 34th minute saw a chance for Sporting KC to respond, when a long ball from Seth Sinovic was sent to Bunbury, who sharply passed to Kamara at the top of the box. The Sierra Leone international shot low but was just wide of the goal.

Sporting Kansas City would draw level on a penalty kick in the 42nd minute, given when Andre Hainult dragged down Jacob Peterson in the box on a cross from Kamara. The team’s golden boot recipient each of the last two seasons, Kamara stepped to the spot and successfully converted the penalty against his former club for the 41st goal of his career.

The momentum would prove to be short-lived as Sporting Kansas City were reduced to 10 men in the second minute of first half stoppage time when Peterson Joseph was shown the red card for his tackle on Carr.

The second half saw no decline in the physicality of the game as both teams labored for thefull three points. Houston controlled possession for much of the half, making good use of the man advantage in front of their home crowd.

The Dynamo had a promising opportunity in the 54th minute when Bruin charged deep into the right side of the box and crossed to Carr. Despite being given space to get a shot off, it was quickly blocked by Sporting KC’s centerback duo of Collin and Matt Besler in front of the goal.

The chances continued to come for Houston, notably in the 66th minute when Davis whipped in a ball that was deflected goal-ward by Nagamura, forcing Nielsen to make a stretching save that pushed the ball into the crossbar and wide of the goal.

Houston clinchedthe victory in the 79th minute when Carr, receiving the ball at the top of the penalty area, flicked the ball to Davis on the left and proceeded to the mouth of the goal.

Davis sent the ball into the mix and though Besler tretched to deflect the cross, it’s path found Carr, who re-directed it toward net and Nielsen’s desperate dive came a split-second too late to keep the ball from crossing the goalline.

Carr, who hadn’t scored this season prior to Wednesday, now has 12 regular season goals in his seven MLS seasons and his first multi-goal game of his MLS career.

Short-sided and road-weary, Sporting KC pushed forward late to salvage a point. Shots from Michael Thomas, Kamara and Paulo Nagamura all went missing in the final minutes on a night in which Sporting Kansas City out-shot their opposition but were held to a season-low eight shots for the second straight game.

Sporting Kansas City will return home to host the New England Revolution at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.

The match, sponsored by Kia, will be broadcast locally on KSMO-TV, with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. CT. Tickets to the match are available in limited supply online at or at LSP box offices.