A slow start and an ill-advised red card doomed the Houston Dynamo in a crucial matchup against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday and left head coach Dominic Kinnear with easy answers as to what went wrong in yet another road loss this season.
Teal Bunbury scored in the ninth minute and Carlo Costly put the Dynamo (8-9-11) in a deeper hole with a red card in the 64th minute of the loss, which dropped Houston to 0-6-8 away from home this season.
“We gave up an early goal, which we wanted to avoid,” Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the game. “We felt we played ourselves back into the game, but then we got the red card, which really steals the momentum, and it was too much to chase.”
The early pressure from Sporting was expected, and Houston talked before the game about matching Sporting’s pace and intensity out of the gate. That mission, however, went unaccomplished. Kansas City threw everything it had forward in the first 15 minutes and after Bunbury capitalized, Sporting never largely looked back.
When asked what contributed to the bad start, Kinnear remarked simply: “No ball possession and not defending well.”
Houston started to turn things around late in the first half and shortly after the break, including a rip from Costly that skipped off the post in the 30th minute and a similar chance that missed wide in the 48th minute.
But with the club trying to continue its climb back into the game, Costly’s ejection for a late challenge on SKC defender Chance Myers pulled the rug out from under the Dynamo. Sporting scored two more goals in the final 13 minutes of the match, and Houston was left wanting on the road once again.
“The red card takes a man away from you, and it was a guy that was playing pretty well,” Kinnear said. “It’s not good to play down a man against any team, no matter how good they are.”
The loss kept the Dynamo in neutral at 35 points in the standings and was their second consecutive defeat.
“We have to let this one go,” midfielder Brad Davis. “We have a game on Wednesday against Columbus, another team that’s on top of the conference. We’re disappointed in this game, but we’re still in the playoff hunt.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.