Sporting Kansas City advanced passed the Houston Dynamo with a 2-0 win this evening at BBVA Compass Stadium - place the Dynamo had yet to lose a match in 2017. The
lethal striker big center-back Ike Opara scored another goal to give the visitors the lead and Gerso put the cherry on top in stoppage time.
Continuing the game plan we have seen all year, home or away, Vermes’ men opened the match trying to control possession and move the ball all over the pitch. While the two rivals were getting a feel for each other, the pace of the game was fairly slow to start.
The best chance of the half for either team came in the 22’ minute when Tim Melia was just able to get his mitts on a powerful effort from Charlie Ward, deflecting it wide. But Sporting created several decent opportunities themselves. Medranda fired a bullet from the edge of the box that was headed on frame, but deflected into the stands.
The home side came out firing on all cylinders in the second half. Melia earned his shutout in the 48’ minute when the Dynamo were flying into the box with numbers. Vicente Sanchez had two teammates wide open in front of the goal but he took it himself. The SKC keeper jumped off his line, cut off the angle and made a huge save to keep the match scoreless. Andrew Wenger also should have put the Dynamo on the board in the 54’ minute but his shot from close range rolled just outside the far post.
Vermes made a change in the 54’ minute to bring on Soni Mustivar for Cameron Porter. This shifted Medranda to the wing, Blessing into the center of the attack, and left a very defensive midfield.
The breakthrough would finally come in the 61’ minute. Ilie Sanchez, taking over corner kick duties for injured Benny Feilhaber, sent a ball beyond far post that found Kevin Ellis who headed it back towards goal. Opara got in front of his defender and nodded the ball passed a diving Joe Willis.
Sporting KC kept their foot on the gas and continued to control the match. The Dynamo’s chances were very limited as the match drew to a close. But Houston left themselves exposed in the dying moments as they searched for an equalizer.
As the match entered stoppage time Blessing ran down a long clearance and found himself alone among orange jerseys. As they closed in on him, Gerso was flying down the field for reinforcements. Latif dropped his shoulder to easily beat one man and then used his speed to beat another. Then he simply poked it over to Gerso who curled it around the keeper for an easy finish and the 2-0 lead.
The win means Sporting KC are now unbeaten in the last six matches across all competitions. Children’s Mercy Park will host the next round match-up against FC Dallas on July 11th. With eight teams remaining, the Cup is just three wins away.
After three straight matches on the road, the boys are back at home this Saturday in MLS action against the Portland Timbers.