HOUSTON – Two weeks ago, the Houston Dynamo watched as Sporting Kansas City celebrated on their field after breaking the Dynamo's home unbeaten streak.
Heading to Sporting Park for a rematch Sunday (2:30 pm CT, NBC Sports Network, LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com), the Dynamo are hoping to return the favor in a rivalry that is growing more and more heated.
“I think Sunday’s going to be really heated because they ended our streak and the way everything happened,” Dynamo defender Corey Ashe told reporters. “To meet that early and have that much tension towards each other, it’s good. It’s healthy. There’s no malice about it, but I think come Sunday there’s going to be a lot of tough tackles.”
The 1-0 loss to SKC two weeks ago was the first of back-to-back losses at home for the Dynamo, the first time that has happened since the fall of 2010 when the Dynamo lost three games in a row in the only year the franchise failed to make the playoffs.
Heading into what will be a loud and rowdy environment, the Dynamo are looking to give a little payback to the team that took a measure of joy in handing the club their first loss at home in the BBVA Compass Stadium era.
“If it’s in the back of some guys' minds for motivation what happened two weeks ago, great, then use it to your advantage to get into the game more,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “I would be worried if they weren’t trying to right the wrong.”
Houston will head into the game with center back being a question mark. Houston lost Jermaine Taylor in the eighth minute of their 2-0 loss to the New England Revolution due to a left shoulder injury and will be without Bobby Boswell due to a two-game suspension for a heatbutt on Dimitry Imbongo.
Taylor, who trained on the side Friday, is questionable for the match. Eric Brunner took Taylor’s place after the injury and Ricardo Clark moved to the back when Boswell was ejected. If Taylor can’t go, that pairing is one of the options Kinnear has Sunday.
Regardless of who is on the field, the emotion surrounding the Sporting game could be just what the doctor ordered for Kinnear’s group. The coach and his players this past week pointed to focus and team play as reasons for the two losses that left the club angry. One thing that can help jolt them out of their funk is a game where anything less than their best will likely mean a loss.
“A game against Kansas City, you’ve got to be tuned in for 90 minutes,” Ashe said. “Any time you take a break or a second off its dangerous and that’s what we did against New England. I think everyone has to stay focused for 90 minutes, if you don’t you’re asking for a lot of trouble.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.