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Sporting KC wins home opener 1-0

Remi Walter scored the winner as SKC grind out a tough win over the Houston Dynamo.

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Sporting Kansas City William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

It may have taken a while for the breakthrough, but Sporting KC fought off the Houston Dynamo in Saturday’s home opener for all three points. Remi Walter got the second half winner, and the fans got the post-match party in the Member’s Stand.

Children’s Mercy Park was buzzing. Sporting was in control and asking questions of the Houston defense right from the start. The Dynamo barely saw any of the ball in the first 15 minutes. But at the same time, they had survived an onslaught.

Most of the attack was coming from the right side through Johnny Russell. His patented runs into the box were causing problems and the home side saw several opportunities in the first half.

Former Sporting KC man and SKCII head coach, Paulo Nagamura, is now at the helm of the Dynamo. He stuck with the same tactics he deployed in week one against Real Salt Lake, and neither match has been pretty.

Houston is playing a defensive-minded game, hoping to grind away at the opponent and steal one on the counter. They’ve been shut out both matches and accumulated seven yellow cards along the way.

The pressure from Russell on the right side finally paid off in the 60th minute. The 31-year-old charged into the box, got a kind bounce off a defender, and was able to send in a cross. Salloi’s shot was blocked right into the path of Walter, who fired it into the net for the 1-0 lead.

Houston rarely threatened in the attacking third, lacking the creativity to sustain any real pressure. They finished the match with just five total shots.

But in the 78th minute, Tim Melia nearly coughed up the equalizer while trying to play out from the back. Darwin Quintero, who replaced Memo Rodriguez off the bench 12 minutes prior, tried to chip the ball from outside the box. The Cauldron collectively held its breath as the ball slowly trickled outside the post to safety.

Perhaps woken up from the scare, Peter Vermes’ men locked it down the rest of the way. The win brings their record to 1-1-0.

Next up, the boys travel to Commerce City to face the Colorado Rapids on March 12.