When: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 7:30 PM CT (7:38 kickoff)
Where: BBVA Compass Stadium
How to Watch/Stream: | Bally Sports KC Plus (regionally) | ESPN+ (out of market)
How to Listen: Sports Radio 810 WHB | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)
Early season MLS is a tough one to figure out. Sporting Kansas City pulled off a dramatic comeback against a 10-man Austin FC on Sunday night with two late goals to get all three points. They created numerous chances and finally put a couple away to get the win.
However, it’s far from a sure thing that this team has things figured out. But they are building. Building out of the back. Building up to create chances. They’ve just got to consistently finish them if they want to build a consistent winner.
They’ll hit the road for a potentially rainy matchup against a Dynamo team that plays to all SKC’s weaknesses. They are quick on the counter and are led, in part, by dynamic wingers Fafa Picault and former SKC player, Tyler Pasher. With just a few days between games, there’s not certainty who will be available to play on short notice, but it would be silly to underestimate the Dynamo.
Houston’s 2020 & 2021 Results
2020: The Houston Dynamo were the worst team in the Western Conference in 2020, though they consistently got the best of Sporting KC. That was mostly before Alberth Elis left, who apparently was the linchpin holding that entire team together.
2021: Houston are tied with LAFC and FC Dallas... which puts them in 11th place. The West is really tight right now with 11th place and 4th place (Vancouver!) only separated by two points. It’s early.
Houston won their opener against a San Jose Earthquakes team that was (and probably still is) figuring things out (don’t tell Wondo that though, as they stole a victory from RSL in Utah). Since then they’ve lost to the Portland Timbers and earned back-to-back draws with LAFC (at home) and FC Dallas (on the road).
What’s Changed for Houston Since 2020?
One thing that hasn’t changed is the head coach, Tab Ramos. He returns for his second season after enjoying good success against SKC, and not much against the rest of the league (and they were only 2-2 against Sporting but that 5-2 win still stings).
OUT: Ramos will be without a few MLS roleplayers (Wilfried Zahibo, Kiki Struna) and a some fringe players, like Niko Hansen who was traded to Minnesota United. Perhaps the team’s second biggest loss is Tomas Martinez, a midfielder who barely played in 2020 anyways. Their biggest loss is striker Mauro Manotas. He’s joined Club Tijuana for a $4 million fee and Houston retained 25 percent of his sell on fee.
Who you won’t see on this list is Alberth Elis, since he left in 2020, but his loss has really changed the Dynamo.
IN: In an effort to stabilize their shaky defense, the Dynamo spent big trading for MLS veteran center back Tim Parker from the New York Red Bulls. They also snagged Joe Corona as a free agent from the LA Galaxy (even though Austin FC drafted him... ohhh MLS).
In a couple underrated moves, Houston added the aforementioned Tyler Pasher from Indy Eleven (USL) and Fafa Picault from FC Dallas. Their speed could really cause troubles for Sporting on Wednesday from the wings.
OUT - Felipe Hernandez (knee)
QUESTIONABLE - Nicolas Isimat-Mirin (hamstring), Roberto Puncec (hamstring)
*This is unchanged based on the official injury report.
OUT - Ethan Bartlow (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE - Tyler Pasher (lower body)
GOALS: Gadi Kinda (2), Daniel Salloi, Gianluca Busio, Alan Pulido, Ilie Sanchez (1)
ASSISTS: Khiry Shelton (2), Daniel Salloi, Johnny Russell, Luis Martins (1)
GOALS: Tyler Pasher, Fafa Picault, Maximiliano Urruti, Memo Rodriguez (1)
ASSISTS: Pasher, Joe Corona, Picault, Adam Lundkvist (1)
Starting XI Predictions
Update: Here are the lineup predictions and the results of your lineup voting.
Sporting KC really look like they are finding their way, but they still have a ways to go. Playing with just two days off, on the road, against a team that likes to hit on the counter, could be a recipe for disaster. If it’s rainy and sloppy, I’m sure that’s not good for Sporting who (in the past at least) loves to possess the ball (though not as much in 2021). Houston’s field is infamously terrible which can make passing on the ground tough.
If Sporting KC adapt, rest players that shouldn’t play on back-to-backs (Espinoza, Zusi, etc.) and keep hitting those beautiful long switches to break open defenses, you never know what could happen. I hope I’m wrong, but I expect them to come back down to earth from the high of Sunday night.
2-1 Houston Win
What do you think? Predictions in the comments are welcome. Let’s chat about it.
The Blue Testament has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though The Blue Testament and SB Nation may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our guiding principles. If you want to support the site, you can sign up for ESPN+ and we receive a small commission.