Dynamo open Pro Soccer Classic with 0-0 draw vs. Sporting KC

Houston defense stands firm in rematch of 2011 Eastern Conference championship

The Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City played to a 0-0 draw Friday night in the opening game of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It was the first time the two squads met since Houston defeated Sporting 2-0 in last year's Eastern Conference final.

Chances were hard to find for the Dynamo, which featured a starting lineup including ten returning players. Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis made his first game appearance after suffering a torn quad in last year's Eastern Conference title game.

Sporting’s C.J. Sapong nearly scored in the 18th minute as he extended his leg attempting to reach a cross from Chance Myers that rolled swiftly through the center of the penalty area. But Sapong didn’t get enough of it to threaten the Dynamo goal.

Kansas City had a better chance in the 25th as Kei Kamara broke away on the left flank and carried the ball into the box. Kamara’s shot hit goalkeeper Tally Hall high in the chest, as Hall was in good position on the near post to thwart the former Dynamo striker.

Sporting's Matt Besler nearly struck seven minutes later, but his header off a Graham Zusi’s corner kick dribbled just past the far post.

A minute later, Will Bruin produced the best goal opportunity in the first half for Houston. The second-year player ripped a strike from near the top of the box that forced goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen to dive far to his left for a great save.

Neither club made any substitutions at halftime as both coaches sought longer minutes for their returning players with the regular season drawing near.

Trialist Warren Creavalle, playing near his college home at the University of Central Florida, created a Dynamo threat in the 52nd minute. The defender broke forward and found Alex Dixon in front of the penalty area. Dixon took a shot that was deflected into the air towards Creavalle, who sent a shot wide of the goal.

Hall produced another fine save save three minutes later, as Zusi’s corner found Sapong, who headed it hard and low toward the goal, but Hall kept it out.

Houston’s best chance of the second half came in the 86th minute. Davis, who led the league with 16 assists in 2011, curled in a beautiful corner to Geoff Cameron. The defender’s header required Nielsen to fall to his right to make the save.

The Dynamo will resume action on Sunday when they meet Vancouver Whitecaps at 12 noon CT.

Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City
February 24, 2012 – ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Disney Pro Soccer Classic

Scoring summary:
None

Misconduct summary:
HOU – Adam Moffat (Professional Foul) 81

Houston Dynamo – Tally Hall; Warren Creavalle, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Corey Ashe; Alex Dixon (Emerson Sato 68), Adam Moffat, Luiz Camargo (Brian Ownby 77), Colin Clark (Brad Davis 77); Brian Ching (Macoumba Kandji 61), Will Bruin (Cam Weaver 71).

Sporting Kansas City – Jimmy Nielsen; Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Kei Kamara, Luke Sassano (Paulo Nagamura 64), Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi, Bobby Convey (Jacob Peterson 75); C.J. Sapong (Soony Saad 77)