Sporting Kansas City 1, Houston Dynamo 1 | MLS Match Recap
KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Dom Dwyer continued his long run of scoring form against Houston and helped Sporting Kansas City stay unbeaten at home this season, but Sporting still had to settle for a controversial 1-1 draw against the shorthanded Dynamo on Saturday night.
Dwyer scored in the opening minutes for Sporting (9-4-7) – his sixth straight match with a goal against the Dynamo across all competitions – but Ricardo Clark's equalizer in the 79th minute salvaged a point for Houston (7-8-7).
The Dynamo had to play a man down after the 86th minute, when midfielder Nathan Sturgis was issued a straight red card for a serious foul on Kansas City's Roger Espinoza, but also benefited from a no-call when the ball deflected off Luis Garrido's arm in the penalty arm in second-half stoppage time.
Sporting's early high-pressure attack paid off in the sixth minute, when Dwyer rose in the box to nod home a Benny Feilhaber free kick from the right wing. It was Dwyer's seventh league goal of the year and team-leading 12th across all competitions.
He will miss Sporting's next match for yellow-card accumulation, though, after a double-caution confrontation with Houston keeper Tyler Deric late in the first half – two of six yellow cards issued in the match.
The Dynamo thought they had earned a penalty and a chance to equalize just a few minutes after Dwyer's score, when striker Will Bruin got loose on a breakaway and was upended by charging 'keeper Tim Melia. Referee Jorge Gonzalez, who was trailing the play, originally pointed to the spot but then reversed his call after conferring with his assistant, as Melia was deemed to have gotten the ball as Bruin tried to step around him.
Houston continued to generate chances through the first half, outshooting Sporting before the break, but struggled to put shots on frame and were turned away by Melia when they did.
The match – a typically testy affair between the old rivals – flared into open hostility in the 45th minute, when Dwyer and Deric collided in Houston's penalty area. Dwyer fell to the pitch, popped back up in the keeper's face, and was shoved back down. Players from both teams rushed to the scene, and Sporting's fans chanted for Deric to be sent off before Gonzalez issued the double caution.
The Englishman’s failure to convert a handful of second half opportunieis proved costly for Sporting in the 78th minute, when Clark went up over Dwyer and headed in Brad Davis' free kick for the equalizer. Unfortunately for the former U.S. international, the goal was his last contribution in the game, as he had to come out of the match after landing awkwardly on the play.
Sporting had a chance to retake the lead in the 81st, but Deric stuffed Krisztian Nemeth's attempt from close range. Nemeth then found the net in stoppage time, volleying a feed from Feilhaber into the far corner, but was offside on the play.
The game ended in controversy, as Kansas City shouted for a penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage time, after Matt Besler's long throw-in bounced off Garrido's extended right arm, but Gonzalez allowed play to go on despite Sporting's protestations.
Both teams are in action Aug. 8, Sporting at Toronto FC and Houston at home against the San Jose Earthquakes.