MatchDay Memory–Texas Adventure Day 2 (Houston Dynamo v Sporting KC)

Houston was hosting SKC so I did a little research ahead of time. Saw the Dynamo play last summer in Columbus and Chicago and wasn’t too impressed.  Have to admit that I still haven’t forgiven Ricardo Clark for getting stripped in the 2010 WC game against Ghana.

As of 6/2 standings, Houston was in fourth place but with more games played than the teams just below them.  Their recent form has been atrocious.  One win and four losses, including their last three, all away, with a combined score of 8-0.  On top of that the club has lost two key players— Brad Davis (USA), Boniek Garcia (Honduras).  ESPN noted that these are the Dynamo’s two most important attacking players.  Scanning the roster, I didn’t recognize many names.

One of the Week 13 Power Rankings I found had Houston at #15 out of 19 noting that

Injuries and World Cup call-ups have hit Houston hard, and it’s shown in the results with three losses in a row and four in the last five games. Without much attacking inspiration, the Dynamo didn’t put one shot on target in a heavy loss to Colorado.

As for SKC, they are just above the Dynamo in the table, with the defending champs having not fared much better, winless in their last 5 with 2 draws and 3 losses.  They have been hit by the World Cup as well, losing Matt Besler and Graham Zusi (USA).

When looking at the SKC website I came across a news item that Oriol Rosell had been sold to Sporting in Portugal.  Didn’t think much of it until I read the article and learned that he had been at Barca B.  The end of the post stated that Rosell became “the third Sporting Kansas City player in the last 18 months to move to Europe. In 2013, Honduran midfielder Roger Espinoza joined Wigan Athletic (England) and Sierra Leone striker Kei Kamara was transferred to Middlesbrough FC (England).”

Also looking at the team roster, I noticed that Sal Zizzo moved from Portland to SKC.  Have been watching him on and off since the 2007 U20 World Cup so was hoping to see him again.

On the train ride I listened to the Eddie Robinson Show in preparation for the game.  I have been checking into the pod from time to time to get a sense of the team. They began by recapping the 3-0 defeat to Colorado, which featured a reconfigured midfield for the Dyanmo.  More troubling was the stat of no shots on goal, and Will Bruin spoke out in the media about wanting the team get forward.

As for SKC, this could be a real chance to get points away from home but their defense continues to be in disarray, Collin could be missing due to hamstring injury and they have already had a lack of stability.  One bright spot is Erik Palmer-Brown, the youngest player in MLS.

Eddie and Sebastian focused on the keys of the game, which they would be using a less aggressive defensive line, stopping SKC creative players like Dom Dwyer and Feilhaber and getting a result to stop the bleeding.  They also had conversation comparing the signing of Beckham with the signings of Villa and Lampard by NYCFC and what kind of club they may try to become.  The show wrapped up with an interesting discussion about the importance and prestige of the US Open Cup.  Eddie ranked it behind the MLS Cup and Supporter Shield.

MATCH NOTES

BBVA Compass Stadium is unique a several ways. One it is nestled right into a neighborhood with businesses and apartments around it.  Two, the shell of the stadium is quite striking.  Still haven’t decided if I love it or hate it yet.   Three, three of the four stands are covered.  I imagine this comes in handy during hot Houston summer days.

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I was running late but met a friend from Lansing who moved back to Houston.  He had gathered some of his friends and joined a local men’s league tailgate.  I ran into some Bosnians who are excited to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in the World Cup.  I also met my friend’s father and we discussed the chances of US and Mexico at the World Cup as well.  After a couple of beers and some chips (notes were made to bring a grill and other supplies next time), we went into the match.

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Our seats were high in a corner behind the goal and the Texian Army.  Thought they were perfect.  We had a steady breeze the entire game which made it comfortable and I could see the entire match unfold.  Speaking of the Texian Army I enjoyed their style of support— Latin based music with lots of drums and cymbals.  They also mixed things up with a cappella chants, which provided a nice change of pace.

To be honest it wasn’t a great match.  Houston made a couple of changes in their team including goalkeeper Deric for Hall.  SKC went with a young CB pairing of Ellis and Palmer-Brown. Felt that Houston really struggled to create chances and dominate after going a man up 20 minutes in.  I didn’t see the infraction from the SKC player and still not sure what happened.  Just before halftime, Feilhaber picked up on a loose pass out of the Houston back and was cut down.  The ball ran for Saad who slotted home.

Feilhaber had to be subbed at half time, and the second half saw the Dynamo control the match in terms of possession but not much in the way of scoring opportunities.  As per my usual, I had to go the bathroom and missed the penalty incident.  Cochran was called for a handball, and after watching highlights, I’m still not sure.   Dwyer converted the spot kick and down 2-0, there wasn’t much chance of Houston coming back and the hosts didn’t even score a consolation goal.

MLS recap including video highlights

The Dynamo head into the break a four match losing streak and in real danger of letting the season get away from them.  As for SKC they battled and took the chances that were given to them.  Big win for the visitors.

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Afterwards we headed to Lucky’s for a post game beverage and then went across to the street to Little Woodrow’s for some food.  Not a good result for the Dynamo but I had a great night.

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