Houston Dynamo Split Doubleheader at Kino Sports Complex
TUCSON, ARIZ. - The Houston Dynamo dropped a split-squad doubleheader against Sporting Kansas City at Kino Sports Complex, drawing 1-1 and falling 4-1.
Dynamo midfielder Memo Rodriguez scored the equalizer in the early game with a long-range shot that caught the Kansas City goalkeeper off his line. The keeper almost recovered to save the shot, but the assistant referee confirmed that the ball crossed the line.
On the stadium field at Kino Sports Complex, early pressure from the Dynamo front line gifted forward Alberth Elis with a golden chance that turned into the first goal of the game. Pressure on the left wing from forward Romell Quioto forced Sporting's back line to cycle the ball across the pitch, leading to an errant pass that fell to the feet of Elis. The Honduran international collected the ball and quickly beat Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia with a shot to the far post in the fifth minute.
Kansas City equalized six minutes later off a fast break as forward Krisztian Nemeth found midfielder Johnny Russell on an overlapping run inside the box. Russell beat Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis with a shot to the far post.
Sporting took the lead 10 minutes later after Video Review was used to confirm that forward Gerso Fernandez was onside prior to lunging for midfielder Seth Sinovic's cross inside the six-yard box. The midfielder made contact with the ball, but it was Felipe Gutierrez who finished the play at the near post.
Kansas City took a 3-1 lead in the 28th minute as Russell drove to the byline and pulled a centering ball to the penalty spot for Nemeth. There was nothing that Willis could do as the forward placed a first-touch effort inside the far post. Nemeth bagged a brace in second-half stoppage when he raced onto a through ball and scooped the ball high to avoid the onrushing 6'5" frame of Willis outside the penalty area and the ball dropped under the crossbar for a goal.
Elis intercepted a pass outside the box in the first minute of the game but was tackled inside the box by Matt Besler to quell Houston's first scoring threat of the game. Dynamo center back Aljaz Struna found forward Mauro Manotas outside the box in the 55th minute, but the Colombian's effort was saved by Melia outside the six-yard box.
Tonight's matches conclude the preseason slate for the Dynamo. They return to Houston on Thursday and will finish preparations for their Round of 16 tie with Guatemalan champions CD Guastatoya in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League. Houston plays at Guastatoya on Tuesday, Feb. 19 (9:45 p.m. CST, Univision) before hosting the return leg on Tuesday, Feb. 26 (7 p.m. CST, Univision).
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