A winless streak dating back to June 23rd was ended tonight as Sporting KC picked up a massive three points on the road against the Houston Dynamo tonight in a critical 1-0 win.
The narrative of the game for Sporting can be summed up in one word: patience...oh, and a lot of cards, too.
The Houston Dynamo brought the fight against the boys in blue, but maybe a bit too much of it. Of the 11 cards handed out tonight, six yellows and three reds were picked up by Houston.
Not to mention, their manager Wílmer Cabrera sent off at halftime.
So, what went wrong? How did the game get so out of control? Well, that all started early. In the fourth minute to be exact.
Kansas City came out of the gates hot, sporting an unusual starting lineup that featured Yohan Croizet in the number nine position and 16-year-old Gianluca Busio alongside Ilie Sanchez and Felipe Gutierrez in the midfield for his first MLS start — earning him the recognition of being the third youngest MLS starter in the league’s history.
Romell Quioto would pick up the first card for the Dynamo after a foul on Gerso in the fourth minute followed by a straight red to Alejandro Fuenmayor just 10 minutes later after he takes a reckless shot on the back of Gianluca Busio’s head is deemed a serious foul.
As with every straight red ever given, arguing ensued, and another Houston player picked up a card. This time it was Alberth Elis who picked up a yellow for dissent.
Once play resumed emotions were running high, and Óscar Boniek García quickly added another card to the list for Houston after a foul on Ilie in the attacking half earns Sporting a free kick and García a yellow.
Despite playing up a man with still 75 minutes of a game ahead of them, and some quality efforts in and around the box from Busio and Gerso, Sporting couldn’t seem to capitalize on the opportunity early and entered the half tied at 0-0.
Kansas City would remain patient as they entered the second half with Peter Vermes’ message to be more aggressive and put more numbers up top for the next 45.
With hard offensive presses back-and-forth from both sides, it would be Sporting KC’s Diego Rubio who would find the back of the net first.
After sitting the bench for half one, a substitution in the 61st minute for Yohan Croizet gave Rubio the chance to help turn the game in Sporting’s favor — as he’s done in all, now four, of his goals this season.
In the 74th minute a pass from Graham Zusi finds Busio at the top of the box who flicks it on to Diego Rubio in the box, finding him in-stride and resulting in a perfectly placed ball in the far corner.
Sporting 1, Houston, 0.
Now up a goal and up a man, Sporting had to do their best to hang on in order to snap the winless streak and keep the shut out.
And while it seemed as though the game would end in a far less interesting or dramatic matter than the first half, Houston had other plans.
An extra time scuffle proved just as harmful to the Dynamo as the soon-to-be loss would be. A hand to the face of Diego Rubio by Darwin Cerén earned him a straight red and a violent shove to the back of Felipe Gutierrez in an argument gave Elis one, too.
After 100 minutes and a lot of drama, Sporting came out on top: 1-0, no longer winless and with their first shut out since June 9th.