Playing a mix of starters and reserves, the Houston Dynamo fell 1-0 in extra time to a full-strength Sporting Kansas City squad in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup qualifying Wednesday night at the Aggie Soccer Stadium in College Station, Texas.
The match was Houston’s second ever game at Texas A&M University, with a crowd of 2,383 on hand for the dramatic event. With the loss, the Dynamo are eliminated from Open Cup contention, while Kansas City advances to within one game of qualifying for the tournament.
Kansas City’s game-winning goal came two minutes into extra time, as a pass from Teal Bunbury on the left wing found rookie forward C.J. Sapong at the top of the box. Sapong turned and curled a right-footed shot inside the far post.
With no game scheduled for this weekend, Sporting Kansas City played nine of its 11 starters on Wednesday, while Houston’s lineup contained only three starters from its game last Saturday against New York.
Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric, making his first appearance of 2011, had a strong night in net. Deric finished with four saves, including key stops on Kei Kamara in the sixth minute and Omar Bravo in the 24th minute.
The Dynamo outshot Kansas City 16-13 for the match and forced six saves from Kansas City goalkeeper Eric Kronberg, including a key stop on Houston rookie Will Bruin in second half stoppage time.
Dynamo defender Eddie Robinson made his first appearance of the season and the 120th start of his Dynamo career in all competitions, the seventh Houston player to reach that milestone. Additionally, midfielder Colin Clark and defender Jordan Graye made their debuts in Houston orange.
The Dynamo played without forwards Calen Carr (concussion) and Brian Ching (rib separation); midfielder Brad Davis (hamstring); and defender Jermaine Taylor (foot sprain). Additionally, midfielder Geoff Cameron and defender Andre Hainault were rested.
Next Match: Sunday, April 10, 6 p.m., Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, Robertson Stadium