A poor second half kept Sporting Kansas City from clinching a playoff spot for another match as they fell to the Houston Dynamo 2-1 on Wednesday night.
Jimmy Medranda was the goalscorer for Sporting KC, while Tomás Martinez scored for Houston and an own goal from Erik Palmer-Brown solidified the win.
Sporting KC were missing four starters from this match, including US national team players Matt Besler, Graham Zusi, and Benny Feilhaber. Tim Melia was also out due to a hamstring strain. There was uncertainty as to who would be the starting keeper but Andrew Dykstra got the nod while Adrian Zendejas, who has been with the Swope Park Rangers most of the season, was on the bench.
The start of the first half was relatively unexciting. Neither team was able to generate any chances and possession was even. The tempo of the game changed after Sporting KC scored.
In the 33rd minute, Medranda broke the deadlock. Saad Abdul-Salaam, starting in place of Graham Zusi who is on national team duty, sent a pass from the side of the box to the top, where Medranda was waiting to one-time it to the corner of the goal for the score. It was Medranda’s second goal of the season and Abdul-Salaam’s first assist.
Dykstra was tested in the 36th minute as Martinez crushed a ball towards goal from 25 yards out. Dysktra punched the ball up and over the bar for a Dynamo corner, which did not result in a chance for Houston.
Just a moment letter, the Dynamo came agonizingly close to a score. Houston’s Vincente Sanchez volleyed the ball coming off a cross, but the shot clanged off the far post and away from danger. Sporting KC were lucky to still be in the lead after the barrage of Dynamo attacks, but they carried that lead into the locker room at halftime.
After hitting the post earlier, Martinez got his goal in the second half. AJ DeLaGarza put in a cross to the other end of the box, where Martinez was waiting to shoot the ball from 12 yards out at an angle for the equalizer. It was the second goal of the season for Martinez.
Disaster struck for Sporting KC in the 77th minute when they gave the Dynamo the lead. On a free kick sent into the box, Palmer-Brown’s poor attempt at a clearance instead went right into the goal for an own goal. This gave the Dynamo a 2-1 lead.
Sporting KC had a couple of chances to equalize late in the second half but could not convert on any, as they fell to the Dynamo 2-1.
Sporting KC remained second in the Western Conference and still hold a slim, one-point lead over the Vancouver Whitecaps, while the Dynamo solidified their playoffs hopes by moving four points ahead of seventh-place Real Salt Lake. The two teams lock horns again on Sunday, this time in Kansas City — the penultimate regular season match for both sides.