Sporting KC vs Houston Dynamo
When: Saturday, March 5th, 2022 at 2:30 PM CT (Kickoff 2:50)
Where: Children’s Mercy Park
How to Watch/Stream: 38 the Spot | Univision | TUDN | Twitter
How to Listen: Sports Radio 810 WHB | La Grande 1340 AM (Spanish)
The sky, is in fact, not falling. While Sporting Kansas City got off to a less than ideal start losing 1-3 on the road to Atlanta United to open the 2022 MLS season, there are 33 games left and players yet to arrive. There were worrying signs in the midfield with repeated giveaways on routine plays, but a lively home crowd and a better playing surface, will surely go a long way towards fixing things. This team won’t let themselves perform like that again.
Aiding them will be former rival, the Houston Dynamo. Houston come to Kansas City with a newer owner and a new coach, former Sporting KC player and SKC II coach, Paulo Nagamura. The team is looking to turn over a new leaf after year upon year of failure, but a rebuild can take time. SKC have had the Dynamo’s number in recent seasons going 7-3-2 in their last 12 regular season matches dating back to 2017.
Stunningly, the Dynamo haven’t wont a road game since 2020, a trend KC will look to continue. While KC are susceptible on the counter (you watched the first game, right?), the Dynamo are looking to play a more possession heavy game it appears. That’s a style KC try to employ themselves, so it’ll be interesting to see who can win that battle.
Add all that to the fact that KC come to play in home openers. They have lost just once in the 11 home openers at CMP, though they do have six draws.
Houston’s Recent Form
We’re only a game in, so not much to report. The Dynamo only managed a scoreless draw in their home opener against Real Salt Lake. They dominated possession against RSL but only managed two shots on goal of their 10 total attempts.
What’s New for Houston in 2022?
The biggest moves are probably the aforementioned coaching change and mid-season 2021 ownership change. In addition to Nagamura taking over as coach, former Sporting KC goalkeeper and club legend Jimmy Nielsen is on the coaching staff as well as former SKC II assistant Chris Martinez.
OUT: One of the most recent subtractions is former USMNT midfielder Joe Corona, who was bought out last week before the season started. He played in 30 games and for over 1,700 minutes last year after an ‘only in MLS’ offseason where he was drafted by Austin but spurned them to sign with Houston. Also departing is forward Maxi Urruti, who became the first player to play for all three Texas teams after signing as a free agent with Austin FC.
The team traded fellow forward Ariel Lassiter to Inter Miami and loaned out forward Mateo Bajamich to Huracan (Argentina). Houston declined the contract of veteran Maynor Figueroa and let the deal expire with fellow veteran defender Alejandro Fuenmayor.
IN: The biggest signing won’t arrive until the summer as Mexican international Hector Herrera will arrive from Atletico Madrid in the summer window. As for big signings that are already with the team, forward Sebastian Ferreira joined as a Designated Player. The striker signed for the biggest fee in club history. He went the full 90 in his debut, but was ineffective. New signings need time.
An underrated addition is MLS veteran keeper Steve Clark, who joined as a free agent from the Portland Timbers. And interesting pickup is fullback Zeca, who is a Brazilian that can play on either side of the back line. He was not in the lineup against RSL. The team also added defender Daniel Steres in a trade with the LA Galaxy, but he should be firmly behind high paid center backs Tim Parker and Teenage Hadebe.
OUT - Alan Pulido (knee surgery), Gadi Kinda (knee surgery), Nikola Vujnovic (immigration), Uri Rosell (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE - None
*This has been updated based on the official injury report. Stunningly my guesses were right.
OUT - None
QUESTIONABLE - Griffin Dorsey (lower body)
Starting XI Predictions
This will get it’s own story. Look for it closer to game day.
It could be another disaster as Houston are fully capable of hitting on the counter if they choose to play that way. With speedy wingers like Fafa Picault and former SKC man Tyler Pasher, Sporting will need to be more defensively responsible (and careful with the ball) than they were in Atlanta.
Last year when these teams met in KC in the fall, it was a wild 4-2 shootout with play flowing from end to end at times. I can’t rule out that Houston will find the back of the net. Nagamura will have his guys fired up. But I just can’t shake the feeling that The Cauldron, South Stands and everyone in between will be so amped this team will be lifted to the heights we know they are capable of.
Don’t look for midseason form all of the sudden, but Sporting get the job done in the home opener and do it much more convincingly than they played in the opener. (If they don’t, or they continue to struggle, I probably won’t pick them to win again for a month.)
3-1 Sporting KC Win
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