Hot off the heels of an impressive 3-1midweek victory over FC Dallas, Sporting Kansas City entered Sunday’s match with the Houston Dynamo in 2nd place in the West, two points behind leaders Seattle Sounders despite having played one more game than their northwest rivals. With the Dynamo sitting in 12th place and winless on the road through 28 games, SKC hoped to earn another three points before a two week break in MLS play.
Even without star striker Alan Pulido in the starting lineup due to injury, Sporting KC had no issue handling the struggling Dynamo.
SKC came out the aggressor early on, and Johnny Russell capitalized on a mistake from Sam Junqua that took the Scotsman down in the box for a PK. Russell stepped up to the penalty spot and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner of the net, giving SKC the early 1-0 lead in the 16th minute.
Sporting KC’s MVP candidate Daniel Salloi almost doubled KC’s lead in the 22nd minute when he got past Houston defender Tim Parker and found himself one-on-one with keeper Michael Nelson. Salloi fired a strong shot toward past Nelson, but the ball bounced off the right post to keep the game at 1-0.
Just moments later, though, the Hungarian made up for it with an absolute stunner of a goal. The play started back in SKC territory when Remi Walter took the ball and turned up field with space in front of him. He found Gadi Kinda who played a gorgeous through ball into the box to Salloi. Daniel took one touch and then sent the ball across the face of goal off his left foot to earn his 16th goal of the year and double Sporting KC’s lead.
For the remainder of the half, Sporting continued to dominate possession and limit Houston to just two shots and 33.3% possession.
Early in the second half Gadi Kinda had a golden opportunity to give SKC another goal thanks to a cross from Salloi and a gorgeous dummy from Khiry Shelton; however, Kinda couldn’t put the open shot past Nelson.
Just minutes later, Griffin Dorsey sent a long and high cross into the box for Houston, and Fafa Picault just got a toe to the ball and was able to poke it past Melia to pull one back for the Dynamo in the 50th minute.
Fafa sneaks in on the back post!— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 3, 2021
We've got a game in KC. pic.twitter.com/ik8GI7YBlc
Picault almost equalized in the 55th minute off a set piece, but Sporting were lucky to see the offside flag come up to preserve the 1-0 lead.
Perhaps shaken by the close call, Sporting KC wasted no time in doubling their lead. In the 57th minute Gadi Kinda played a wonderful give-and-go with Daniel Salloi, who laid the ball off cleanly in the box for the Israeli midfielder. Kinda crisply touched the ball around Nelson to give himself an open shot on goal and converted with ease to put Sporting up 3-1.
Not willing to go down easy, Houston did pull another goal back in the 76th minute as Darwin Quintero got on the end of a Picault cross to bring the Dynamo within one.
Max Urruti almost leveled the game moments later for the Dynamo, but his equalizer was called off thanks to the offside flag, the second time Sporting has been saved by the assistant referee. Fortunately for SKC, that was the last true threat from Houston. Sporting KC captain Johnny Russell officially put the game away with his 90th minute goal to seal the game 4-2 for Sporting Kansas City.
Sporting now head into a two week break before returning to action on Oct. 17 on the road against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Seattle Sounders take on the Colorado Rapids tonight in a huge Western Conference matchup that SKC will surely be paying attention to, as both clubs are near striking distance in the standings.