10-Man Dynamo Open Two-Game Homestand with 0-0 Draw
HOUSTON - Despite playing down a man for the entire second half, Houston Dynamo FC earned a point with a gritty 0-0 draw against longtime rivals Sporting Kansas City tonight at PNC Stadium.
Goalkeeper Steve Clark earned his 50th career clean sheet and his sixth of the season, finishing with six saves on the night.
Clark was called into action for the first time in 22nd minute when he made a save off of a shot from Sporting Kansas City winger Erik Thommy. He later showed off his athleticism in the 65th minute to save a header from William Agada inside the six-yard box, reacting quickly to make a leaping save and keep the ball out. Clark came up big once again in the 80th with a diving save to his right to parry a shot wide of the post. He made one final crucial intervention to preserve the clean sheet with a strong save from Robert Voloder at close range.
Houston's first opportunity of the match came in the 10th minute off a chipped ball into the box from forward Darwin Quintero. The ball was intended for forward Sebas Ferreira, who just missed the ball with his left foot at the near post.
Quintero found midfielder Coco Carrasquilla at the back post following the first corner kick of the game three minutes later. The Panamanian international volleyed the ball into the box but his effort bounced off a teammate and ultimately recovered by the Kansas City goalkeeper.
Captain Matías Vera dribbled around a Kansas City defender at midfield to create space for diagonal ball that found forward Fafa Picault in space in the 38th minute. The speedy attacker dribbled past a defender into the box but his effort was saved at the bottom corner of the near post by John Pulskamp.
The Dynamo went down to 10 men after Vera received his second yellow card of the game for a foul on William Agada in the 41st minute. Despite the one-man disadvantage, Houston created several solid scoring opportunities in the second half, taking advantage of their pace to catch Sporting's defense on counterattacks.
Picault forced a save in the 60th minute with an effort from the edge of the box. Picault forced a corner kick two minutes later after he won the ball from a Kansas City defender near the endline. The Dynamo forward finished with a team-high four shots and led the team with five aerial duels won.
Houston came inches from a late winner when Carrasquilla broke out down the center of the pitch on a counterattack in stoppage time before laying off to forward Thor Ulfarsson, who was racing in from the left wing. Ulfarsson's powerful left-footed shot beat the goalkeeper but caromed off the underside of the crossbar and back out into the field of play, where it was cleared away.
The Dynamo close the two-game homestand on Tuesday against the New England Revolution at 7:30 p.m. CT. Houston will close the week at Banc of California Stadium against Los Angeles Football Club.
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