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Sporting KC v Houston Dynamo: Preview, Predictions, Starting XI, Stats, Injuries and New Signings

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The third meeting in just KC’s 10th regular season game.

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MLS: Houston Dynamo at Sporting Kansas City Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting KC @ Houston Dynamo

When: Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 7:00 PM CT

Where: BBVA Stadium

How to Watch/Stream: FOX Sports Kansas City Plus | FOX Sports Midwest Plus | ESPN+ | fuboTV
How to Listen: Sports Radio 810 WHB | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)

If you would have told me that Sporting Kansas City would play the Houston Dynamo three times in 10 total games to start the season, I would have taken that all day. Especially after the 4-0 drubbing in the first meeting. My how the tables have turned.

12 days ago Sporting KC got handed a beat down against the Dynamo by a scoreline of 2-5 despite playing at home and despite Houston entering the game in last place. Since then, the Dynamo went on to punk Minnesota United 3-0 as well.

To say Tab Ramos has his team clicking is an understatement. The team is loaded with attacking talent and the more time Ramos gets with them, it seems likely the better they will get. There are still holes in the Dynamo’s game that Kansas City can exploit. Despite playing pretty poor, KC did manage two goals against Houston and the game was 2-1 at halftime before the wheels came off. Before this two game run Houston was definitely a bit unstable on defense and KC will need to exploit that.

Houston are especially susceptible to allowing goals in the second 15 minutes of each half. They have allowed eight of their 13 goals between the 16th-30th minutes and 61st-75th minutes (four each). Many teams come out aggressive and press before settling into the game. If KC can hold on early and hit back in the humidity of Houston, they stand a chance.

Interesting Stats

  • Before the 2-5 loss, Kansas City were 4-0-2 in the team’s prior six meetings, including four shut outs.
  • Houston scoring five on the road last time out is the most they have scored in the history of the club on the road. Ouch. (By the Numbers)
  • Houston’s only two wins in 2020 have come in the last two games.
  • The Dynamo have allowed just a single goal at home all year.
  • Houston haven’t lost at home and Sporting KC haven’t lost on the road in 2020.

What’s Changed for Houston Since the Last Meeting?

Technically nothing, but since the last meeting Ariel Lassiter, Houston’s new striker, made his first MLS appearance since leaving the LA Galaxy in 2018. It went pretty freaking well. In just 35 minutes off the bench, he scored twice with the help of Alberth Elis. The Dynamo have added yet another dangerous attacking piece to their already formidable front four. Just count the ways in which the Dynamo can slice a team apart: Elis, Lassiter, Mauro Manotas, Christian Ramirez, Nico Hansen, Memo Rodriguez and of course, Darwin Quintero.

It could all be setting the stage for the long rumored departures of Elis and Manotas overseas. If they aren’t leaving, and they figure out their defense, Houston suddenly look pretty dang good.

For a look at the other Dynamo changes, head back to our last preview.

Injuries*

Sporting KC

OUT - Felipe Gutierrez (knee surgery), Ilie Sanchez (family issues)

QUESTIONABLE - Alan Pulido (unknown), Roger Espinoza (unknown)

*This will be updated with the official injury report.

Houston

OUT - None

QUESTIONABLE - Mauro Manotas (thigh), Alberth Elis (unknown)

Suspensions

Sporting KC - None (Gadi Kinda suspended next yellow card)

Houston - None

Stats

Sporting KC

GOALS: Gadi Kinda, Khiry Shelton (4), Alan Pulido (3), Johnny Russell (2), Erik Hurtado, Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi, Gerso Fernandes, Gianluca Busio (1)

ASSISTS: Pulido (4), Kinda, Luis Martins, Gerso (2), Roberto Puncec, Johnny Russell, Shelton, Jaylin Lindsey, Felipe Hernandez (1)

Houston

GOALS: Darwin Quintero (4), Alberth Elis (3), Memo Rodriguez, Ariel Lassiter (2), Mauro Manotas, Niko Hansen, Christian Ramirez (1)

ASSISTS: Quintero (4), Elis (3), Darwin Ceren, Memo, Zarek Valentin (2), Hansen, Ramirez (1)

Form**

Sporting KC - W / W / L / D / D (8 points)

Houston - L / D / D / W / W (8 points)

**in league play

Starting XI Predictions

Go check that out over here. I take a different approach this week comparing the lineup that lost 2-5 to what SKC probably need to do to overcome Houston.

Plus, as always, I tally your fan votes to see if you guys cumulatively agree with me.

Score Predictions

Houston have won two straight while Sporting KC have clawed back to back-to-back draws after the Houston loss. Despite KC looking okay against Colorado and much improved against FC Dallas, this is a tough set of circumstances. Both teams are playing on two days rest but Kansas City has to travel to Houston, on game day and play in the humidity. Most teams aren’t enjoying a home field advantage without crows, but Houston never have a crowd. They are used to it and their advantage comes from playing in the summer heat and humidity.

All that negative stuff aside, I firmly believe Kansas City are the better team and that Houston still has some issues defensively. Vermes will have no doubt studied the tape and planned for how to beat Houston. The question becomes, does Houston have more issues than the KC defense?

When Sporting lost to Houston, it was a shock. If they lost again, no one would be surprised. They consistently play down to bad opponents and up to the good ones. Now that Houston is good, will Kansas City show up? It seems clear they, like Houston, will improve and adjust.

SKC made five changes going into Wednesday’s home draw against FC Dallas. If they make as many on Saturday it could help them as they are one of the older teams in the league. More importantly, they need to change tactics. Even if it’s boring, the fullbacks can’t be as far up the field. Not with the pace the wingers have on Houston.

I could see them gutting out a draw, but the defense still feels a bit shaky and Houston is hot.

2-1 Houston Win

What do you think? Predictions in the comments are welcome. Let’s chat about it.

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