Houston Dynamo rely on staunch defensive performance to stop the skid at Sporting KC

Dynamo break get hard-fought road point after consecutive home losses

If ever there was a positive draw for the Houston Dynamo, this was it.

After back-to-back losses that saw a record home unbeaten streak crumble the Dynamo were simply looking to get back on track, and they got just that Sunday at Sporting Park with a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City.

With their back against the wall on the road and without a pair of starting center backs, and eventually without their starting left back Corey Ashe who left at the half due to a groin injury, Houston responded with a cohesive, gritty performance to take a well-earned road point from their rivals.

OPTA Chalkboard: Houston defense sees plenty of action, gets plenty of touches in high-tempo draw

“You look at the whole 90-minute team effort and the way we played … that’s one of our better performances,” goalkeeper Tally Hall told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s not a win but we look at the performance and say ‘OK, we’re back on the right track.’ You’ve got to man up, play as a team and play well and I thought we did that today.”

Houston defended in packs, bringing energy to the defensive side of the ball to help their makeshift backline, which got an excellent performance from Ricardo Clark and Eric Brunner in place of the suspended Bobby Boswell and the injured Jermaine Taylor. And though Sporting had their chances, Houston’s group did the job against a dangerous attacking unit.

“I thought defensively we were pretty strong,” head coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “I thought as a new back four and being together for 90 minutes and then even for 45 minutes, I thought they held up well.”

The energy level bled into the attack as the Dynamo pushed the game for stretches and spent a significant amount of time in Sporting half, especially early. The result of that type of play was a textbook team goal that included contributions from Giles Barnes, Will Bruin and the finisher Brad Davis.

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“I thought the guys played good. I knew the guys would come out and play their hardest,” Kinnear continued. “It was never in question. They never let themselves down.”

The tangible result was a draw but the overarching result is bigger than that as the Dynamo, who now have seven points from their last three road games, have a positive memory to help erase an unpleasant last couple weeks.

“The fight, the battle for balls, the energy was good,” Kofi Sarkodie told MLSsoccer.com.  “Kansas City’s a good team and to come in here and get a draw is a positive result and keeps our momentum moving forward.”

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.