(May 12, 2021) — Sporting Kansas City (2-2-1, 7 points) took a narrow 1-0 loss to rivals Houston Dynamo FC (2-1-2, 8 points) on Wednesday night at BBVA Stadium. Despite outshooting Houston 15-4, including a 14-2 advantage in the second half, Sporting succumbed to a 56th-minute strike from Dynamo striker Maxi Urruti as the hosts emerged victorious in the first of three head-to-head meetings between the clubs this season.
Manager Peter Vermes’ side will have an opportunity to bounce back Sunday when they host Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2-2-1, 7 points) in a 1 p.m. CT kickoff at Children’s Mercy Park. A limited number of tickets for the match are available at SeatGeek.com while supplies last. Fans can also catch the action live on Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, BallySports.com, the Bally Sports app, Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.
Just 72 hours removed from a last-gasp 2-1 home win over Austin FC on Sunday, Sporting Kansas City deployed a reshuffled lineup as Manager Peter Vermes made four changes to the starting XI. Defender Jaylin Lindsey, midfielder Gadi Kinda and forward Khiry Shelton stepped in for Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza and Daniel Salloi respectively, while midfielder Ilie Sanchez dropped into central defense — replacing the injured Roberto Puncec — and Remi Walter reclaimed a starting role in the center of the park.
A pedestrian first half produced zero shots on target from either team, but Houston nearly landed the first punch after 11 minutes when defender Tim Parker rose to nod a Joe Corona corner kick inches wide of the frame. Sporting were forced into an early substitute nine minutes later as Salloi relieved captain Johnny Russell, who exited with a groin problem.
Sporting created a spark in the 22nd minute with a flowing attack that saw Ilie, Walter and Alan Pulido combine intricately before Kinda was played into a pocket of space on the left side of the box. The Israeli international cut onto his right foot and unleashed a curling effort that sailed marginally wide of the far post. At the opposite end, Sporting center back Andreu Fontas did well to block a low drive Urruti on the half-hour mark.
The game sprung to life in the second period and Sporting almost landed the first punch with 51 minutes on the clock. Salloi had a breakaway shot saved following an incisive pass from Kinda, but the visitors retained possession through Pulido and Shelton ultimately flashed a shot across the face of goal that failed to test Houston keeper Marko Maric.
Houston cashed in on a Sporting turnover at midfield for the game’s lone goal just shy of the hour mark. Derrick Jones won possession and drove centrally before spreading the ball to Urruti, who settled the ball on the run and hammered high into the roof of the net for his second goal of the season.
Sporting responded positively after going behind, manufacturing a flurry of chances between the 59th and 68th minutes. Kinda, who bagged the 90th-minute winner against Austin on Sunday, went close to scoring again but his header off a delightful Luis Martins cross lacked the direction to beat Maric. Shortly thereafter, Kinda’s acrobatic overhead kick off Lindsey’s delivery sailed over the crossbar.
Shelton successfully opened the Houston defense in the 66th minute, embarking on a 50-yard solo run down the right sideline and crossing low to Salloi inside the box. The Sporting KC Academy product cleverly prodded the ball into the path of Pulido, whose venomous blast to the near post was parried away by an outstretched Maric. Salloi was on the receiving end of a notable chance a moment later, but his attempt from 12 yards was deflected and trickled agonizingly wide.
Houston broke once on the counterattack as Sporting committed numbers forward in search of a leveler, as pacey forward Fafa Picault darted through on the breakaway only to see his chipped effort float off target.
Sporting KC Academy product and 21-year-old Wilson Harris earned his MLS debut as an 81st-minute substitute for Pulido. The visitors had the lion’s share of possession in the final moments but were unable to find an elusive equalizer.