Thanks to a first-half stoppage-time red card to Sporting Kansas City midfielder Peterson Joseph, the Houston Dynamo took a man advantage for the second time in as many games. But that’s about where the similarities end between Wednesday night's match vs. Sporting KC and last weekend's clash with D.C. United.
After throttling a 10-man D.C. United side 4-0 on Sunday, Houston found Sporting to be a tougher nut to crack. Led by Aurelien Collin, who was a handful at center back, KC took the middle of the field away from the Dynamo and played the type of compact, organized defense teams need to see out results on the road.
HIGHLIGHTS: Houston sneak past 10-man SKC
“They weren’t trying to come out or go at goal; they were just trying to sit in and defend and it’s hard to break down teams like that,” said Will Bruin, who tallied an assist on the first goal. “You can’t get frustrated and just go to goal… That’s what they want you to do. You just have to keep getting it wide and in the box.”
That strategy paid dividends when Calen Carr found a breakthrough via wide service from Brad Davis. Despite KC’s ability to clog the middle, Houston found the remedy, and have now gone five games without a loss.
“The red card swung the momentum a bit in our locker room,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “We went into the half thinking we had a chance, maybe a little more than we were asking for. With the way they were playing, their lines were so tight. You thought the goal would have to come from out wide and it did.”
Shutout streak ends
After 356 minutes of flawless defense, the Dynamo’s scoreless streak came to an end on Kei Kamara’s 42nd-minute penalty kick. The goal ended the league’s fifth-longest shutout streak this season.
“Even though we’ve been doing great lately, we felt pretty frustrated,” defender Bobby Boswell said about the mood after the goal. “We haven’t given up a goal in a while and that’s what you saw. We gave up a goal and guys were angry, not at each other or in a bad way, but we haven’t been in that position in a while. Good thing we came back and won it.”
Midweek home success
Wednesday’s result marked a 2012 first for Houston: A midweek win. Coming into the match, Houston was 0-1-3 in midweek matches, with all three draws coming at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.