"To go a man down, to own the game the way we did, get two goals away from home, get a shutout was incredible, an incredible performance," is how Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes described the Houston match to media by phone right after the game. "It was one of the best performances we've ever had other than the championship games."
Incredible is only one of many adjectives that could be used to describe the performance that Sporting KC turned in Friday night, a truly gutsy performance in Houston. With all of the well documented injuries and call-ups it would have been easy to turn in a lackluster effort in the Texas heat without any new problems.
Instead Vermes' squad fought through more injuries and going a man down to secure a 2-0 win in their last league match before the World Cup break.
The bad luck started almost right off the whistle when Paul Nagamura received a concussion and a gash to the head just a couple minutes into the match and Vermes was forced to make a sub for Alex Martinez at the 7 minute mark.
The news did not get any better when Toni Dovale received a straight red for an elbow away from the play in the 21st minute.
Despite playing with just 10 men, Vermes' squad kept up the attack and it paid off right at the end of the first half. Soony Saad pressured a turnover that Benny Feilhaber picked and played back to Saad who shot it back post for his first goal of the year for the 1-0 lead.
Even that news was laced with more injury. As Feilhaber passed to Saad, Eric Brunner's tackle took Benny down hard on his shoulder. While Feilhaber did step back on the pitch until the whistle for the half he was unable to come back to start the second with a separated shoulder.
Vermes brought Sal Zizzo in for Feilhaber and Jacob Peterson for Igor Juliao (who had been nursing a thigh strain) to use all three subs just halfway into the match.
Sporting KC added another goal in the 70th minute when a penalty was awarded for a handball in the box and Dom Dwyer easily hammered it past the Dynamo keeper into the corner.
The Sporting KC defense held through the end for another shutout. "Those guys were locked in," Vermes stated. "For Igor to go 45 minutes with the kind of injury he has just shows the commitment to the club he has. EPB (Erik Palmer-Brown) and (Kevin) Ellis were tremendous. The way they played was excellent, it was an excellent defensive performance by the team. It showed an incredible determination by the guys to get three points no matter what the circumstances."