Sporting KC Road Trip Ends with 2-1 Defeat at Houston DynamoJuly 18, 2012 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Sporting Kansas City
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 postunder 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 apromising 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 goalward 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 todeflect 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 outshot 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 onSaturday 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 Ticketmaster.com or at LSP box offices.
* With the loss, Sporting Kansas City's record moves to 11-6-3 in 2012 and 5-4-2 on the road this season. * Sporting Kansas City remains in first place in the Eastern Conference with 36 points. * Sporting Kansas City is 68-131-59 on the road all-time in regular season. * Sporting Kansas City is 205-205-103 all-time in MLS regular season play. * Sporting Kansas City is now 3-6-5 all-time against Houston in the regular season and1-3-3 on the road in the match-up. * Sporting Kansas City is 5-5-1 against the Eastern Conference in 2012. * Wednesday's match marked the second time Sporting Kansas City faced the Houston Dynamo in a 12-day span. After a scoreless draw at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on July 7, Sporting Kansas City played their first ever match at BBVA Compass Stadium. * Wednesday's temperature was 88 degrees and Sporting KC is 4-4-1 when the conditions areabove 75 degrees in 2012. * Sporting KC is 11-3-3 when leading or tied at halftime in 2012. * Sporting Kansas City is 9-5-3 when wearing Sporting Blue uniforms this season. * Sporting Kansas City lost for only the second time when tied at the 75-minute mark in 2012. The club is now 3-2-3 when even with 15 minutes to play. * Sporting Kansas City is 4-2-1 when scoring just one goal in a match. * Sporting Kansas City is 10-5-2 on natural grass playing surfaces this season. * Sporting Kansas City is 6-4-1 in the Central Time zone this season. * Wednesday's loss marked Sporting Kansas City's first loss this month in all competition. * Sporting Kansas City is 3-1-1 in July in all competition and moves to 37-30-21 all-time in MLS action during the month of July. * Sporting KC is 2-5-0 when conceding the first goal in 2012. * Sporting Kansas City was held to a season low eight shots for the second straight game on Wednesday. Sporting Kansas City's 315 shots this season are most in MLS. * Sporting Kansas City leads MLS in all-time shots taken with 6,964. * Sporting Kansas City was held to only two corner kicks on Wednesday, a season low. Sporting KC leads MLS in corner kicks this season with 122. * Sporting Kansas City made three changes to their starting XI from their 2-0 win at Columbus on Saturday with Michael Harrington, Michael Thomas and Teal Bunbury on for Chance Myers, Roger Espinoza and Soony Saad. * Wednesday's match marked the first minutes Myers has missed during the 2012 MLS regular season. * Sporting Kansas City was without midfielders Roger Espinoza (international duty) andGraham Zusi (quad strain) on Wednesday. * Sporting Kansas City midfielder Michael Thomas earned his second start of 2012, and first since June 20th. Wednesday's appearance was Thomas' fourth in MLS play since joining Sporting Kansas City in the offseason, all of which have come on the road. * Michael Harrington started in Wednesday's match marking his 144th appearance for Kansas City, moving him into a tie for ninth place on the club's all-time chart. * Peterson Joseph made the third start of his MLS career on Wednesday. * Forward Jacob Peterson made his fifth start of the season for Sporting KC. * Sporting KC lost for the first time in 2012 when Paulo Nagamura and/or Jacob Peterson started. * Wednesday's start was the 150th of Paulo Nagamura's career in MLS regular season play. Nagamura is just one of two players on Sporting Kansas City's active roster to have reached this milestone. Bobby Convey is the other. * Seth Sinovic surpassed 5,000 minutes played in Wednesday's match. Sinovic is one of 11 players on Sporting Kansas City's active roster to have surpassed this milestone. * Houston made just two changes to their starting lineup from their last match, a 4-0 win at BBVA Compass Stadium. Warren Creavalle and Calen Carr were the new additions to the starting eleven. * The start was Creavalle's second career MLS start. * Calen Carr's goal in the 25th minute snapped Sporting Kansas City's shutout streak at 334 minutes, the team's second longest shutout streak this season. * Kei Kamara converted the Sporting KC penalty kick in the 42nd minute, the 51st successful penalty kick in club history. With the conversion, Kamara is nowtied with Claudio Lopez for second most on Kansas City's all-time chart with four made penalty kicks. * The penalty kick was the fourth PK goal Houston has allowed this season. * It was also the fourth penalty kick of the season for Sporting KC, the most for the team since attempting six in 2006. * The penalty kick marked Kamara's third goal against Houston all-time, moving him into a tie with Teal Bunbury for most among the club's active players. * Kamara is one of four players to have scored seven or more goals in each of the last three MLS regular seasons, along with Chris Wondolowski, Landon Donovan andAlvaro Saborio. * Sporting Kansas City lost for the first time in 2012 when Kamara scores. The team is now 6-1-0 in regular season matches when Kamara scores. * The Dynamo scored on their only shot of the first half on Wednesday, and scoredboth goals on their only two shots on goal of the game. * Wednesday's match as Sporting Kansas City's tenth game in 33 days in all competition & third on the road in last eight days. * With the win, Houston extended their home unbeaten streak to 18 games in MLS play. * Sporting Kansas City has not won in the team's last seven trips to Houston. * Houston are one of only two teams in MLS this season without a loss at home, going 6-0-3 since the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium in May. * Peterson Joseph was issued a red-card for tackle on Calen Carr in first half stoppage time. The red card is Joseph's first of his MLS career and the team's second red card of the season. * Seth Sinovic came out of the match in the 79th minute with a sprained left ankle. Chance Myers replaced him. * Calen Carr scored the game winner in the 79th minute marking the first multi-goalgame his career. Brad Davis notched the assist on the goal marking his second game-winning assist in 2012. * Bobby Convey made his first appearance since May 19, returning from a calf strain. * Sporting Kansas City held Houston to a season low five shots. Sporting Kansas City leads Major League Soccer with the fewest shots against (207). * Wednesday's match marked the fifth time in 2012 that Jimmy Nielsen has not recorded a save. * Sporting Kansas City has scored 15 goals on the road this season, tied for most in the Eastern Conference with the New York Red Bulls. * Sporting Kansas City's +1 goal differential on the road makes them the only team in the Eastern Conference with a postive goal differential away from home. * Sporting Kansas City is yet to score a goal from outside the 18-yard box during the 2012 season after 20 games played. * Aurelien Collin and Nielsen are the only two Sporting KC players to appear in all 19 MLS regular season matches thus far in 2012. * Nielsen has played every MLS minute in net for Sporting Kansas City in 2012. * Sporting Kansas City are back home on Saturday against the New England Revolution, marking their first home match since July 7. * The team will play four straight home games: two in MLS play and two international friendlies.
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