Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City rallied from a two-goal deficit with three goals in the final 20 minutes for a thrilling 4-4 draw at the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

The eight-goal game equals the second-highest scoring MLS match in club history, a feat not seen since 1998, and was capped off by Benny Feilhaber’s game-tying strike in the fifth minute of second half stoppage time.

Krisztian Nemeth opened the scoring in the game’s second minute with his third goal in the past four games, while Dom Dwyer started the comeback with his second goal of the year in the 74th minute.

Feilhaber, who leads MLS with five assists, then produced the first two-goal game of his MLS career and did so in dramatic fashion with a penalty kick in the 80th minute before a stunning half-volley from 25 yards out with less than two minutes remaining.

The action started early at BBVA Compass Stadium when Sporting KC defender Marcel de Jong dispossessed Kofi Sarkodie near midfield, allowing Nemeth to dribble at the Dynamo defense for 40 yards prior to unleashing a right-footed shot inside the far post just 120 seconds into the match. The goal was the fourth earliest conceded by Houston at home all-time and Nemeth now leads the team with three goals in 2015, second most among all MLS newcomers.

Jalil Anibaba nearly doubled Sporting Kansas City’s lead in the 8th minute with an attempt that flashed inches wide of the post and instead it was the Dynamo that drew level three minutes later on an opportunistic finish from Giles Barnes as both teams scored on their first shot of the game. He took the loose ball out of the air with a powerful first-time shot from inside the penalty area for his first of two goals on the night and in doing so snapped Houston’s 385-minute scoreless streak at home against Sporting KC.

Dwyer – who has scored against Houston in four straight matches – threatened to put the visitors back ahead with two opportunities in as many minutes. His first effort rolled narrowly wide in the 23rd minute on a shot from 20 yards out and was quickly followed by a chance to hammer home a pinpoint pass from Feilhaber which went beckoning.

The Dynamo seized momentum moments before halftime with a goal off a corner kick in first-half stoppage time. Brad Davis’ delivery found fellow St. Louis native Will Bruin at the near post and the fifth-year forward did well to direct his header inside the far post. Bruin’s goal was his first of the season — and first since a 3-1 win at Sporting KC last August in the teams previous meeting — but 42nd career goal in all competition, passing Davis for second on the club’s all-time scoring list.

The home side wasted no time in adding to their advantage at the start of the second half thanks to Barnes’ goal 34 seconds into the stanza. The 26-year-old found a pocket of space between Sporting Kansas City’s midfield and defensive lines then placed a bouncing shot past the outstretched arm of Luis Marin from nearly 30 yards out.

Nemeth came close to giving Sporting KC a lifeline in the 60th minute in a 1-on-1 situation with Tyler Deric courtesy of a through ball from Roger Espinoza. He slipped his shot under the outracing goalkeeper but wide of target under pressure from two recovering Dynamo defenders.

Sporting Kansas City’s next shot would not come until the 74th minute, however it ended up in the back of the net as Dwyer capitalized on a poorly played pass from Barnes that was intended for Deric. Dwyer intercepted at the top of the 18-yard box and bounced back to his feet after the goalkeeper’s challenge for a simple finish that sparked Sporting KC’s late surge.

The stage was officially set for a frantic finish when referee Kevin Stott awarded a penalty kick to Sporting Kansas City in the 77th minute and dismissed Jermaine Taylor for handling a shot from Nemeth that had beaten Deric. Feilhaber stepped to the spot for the first penalty kick of his MLS career and calmly converted to leave the scoreline level at 3-3.

Despite going down a man, it was the Dynamo that responded with the go-ahead goal and it was again via a set piece from the left foot of Davis. The World Cup veteran delivered a dangerous free kick that connected with centerback Raul Rodriguez, who recorded his first MLS goal with a header at the near post. The assist for Davis was the 115th of his regular season career, moving past Carlos Valderrama for third most in MLS history and also tying Preki for the second most career assists in home matches with 78.

An undeterred Sporting KC squad, which fell on the road a week ago due to a decisive 94th-minute goal, reversed fortunes and rescued a valuable point away from home when Feilhaber provided the most impressive of the game’s eight goals in the fifth of six minutes added onto the end of regulation. Zusi brought down Dwyer’s deflected cross from the right flank with a soft header – earning his 50th career assist in all competition – that took three bounces before meeting the Brazilian’s boot for an emphatic golazo from distance.

Entering Saturday, Houston had allowed only four total goals in their first seven matches of 2015 – including just one goal at home in four previous matches – and boasted the league’s best goals against average with 0.57 goals allowed per game. Conversely, Sporting Kansas City had won all 36 MLS matches (including postseason) in club history when scoring four or more goals prior to tonight’s 4-4 draw.

The rivals, who have played 16 times since 2011, are now tied for fourth place in the Western Conference standings with 10 points and will meet twice more in the regular season (Aug. 1 and Sept. 23). Sporting Kansas City will now return home to host the Chicago Fire at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 3, at Sporting Park in a nationally televised match-up on ESPN2.
– Story from Sporting KC

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Sporting Kansas City concludes its two-game road trip with a visit to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium.

The match will kick off at 7:30 p.m.

In a five-way tie for fifth place in the Western Conference, Sporting KC (2-2-3, 9 points) and the Houston Dynamo (2-2-3, 9 points) continue the rivalry in the Western Conference after joining from the East at the conclusion of 2014.

The clubs met in the postseason three straight years from 2011-2013 and split last year’s regular season series 1-1.

Peter Vermes’ squad is undefeated in each of their last four matches at BBVA Compass Stadium (2-0-2), including a 2-0 triumph last June that kick-started an eight-game unbeaten run.

Led by first-year manager Owen Coyle, the Dynamo have conceded a league-low four goals, including just one in four home games. Homegrown goalkeeper Tyler Deric leads MLS with 27 saves and a 0.57 goals against average, while also winning MLS Save of the Week three times in 2015.

Meanwhile, Sporting KC midfielder Benny Feilhaber and forward Krisztian Nemeth enter the match in strong form themselves. Feilhaber leads the league with five assists, while Nemeth has scored twice in the last three games in his first MLS season.

Saturday’s contest features two of Major League Soccer’s best playmakers during the modern era. Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi and Houston’s Brad Davis, who played together for the United States at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, lead MLS in total chances created (329 each) and chances created from set play (172 each) since the beginning of 2011.

The match will air live locally on KMCI 38 The Spot and across the Midwest on SKCTV. Three hours of on-site television coverage will begin at 7 p.m. with radio broadcasts also available on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.
– Story from Sporting KC

Krisztian Nemeth scores second of season as four-game unbeaten run ends

Sporting Kansas City suffered its second loss of the season on Saturday in a late 2-1 defeat at the LA Galaxy.

Omar Gonzalez came off the bench to score the game-winning goal in the 94th minute after Baggio Husidic and Krisztian Nemeth traded goals in the first half.

The Galaxy, winners of three of the past four MLS Cup championships at StubHub Center, extended its 26-game home unbeaten streak with the victory and moved into third place in the Western Conference, two points above Sporting KC, seven weeks into the 2015 season.

The two sides – reunited in the Western Conference for the first time since 2004 when the clubs finished first and second in the regular season en route to a Conference Championship showdown – combined for an entertaining, back-and-forth opening 45 minutes that left the score level up until the final moments.

The Galaxy threatened first in the game’s second minute when Alan Gordon nearly connected on a cross from 18-year-old Bradford Jamieson IV, making his first MLS start.

The home side then took the lead just over eight minutes into the match when Husidic hammered home a rebound for his first goal of the year. Stefan Ishizaki’s well-struck shot was parried away by Luis Marin but only as far as Husidic, who made no mistake in capitalizing on the opportunity with a simple finish.

Sporting Kansas City responded with an impressive equalizer, unlocking the Galaxy backline through the combination play of Dom Dwyer and Benny Feilhaber to set up Nemeth for his second goal in three games.

Dwyer cut inside from the right flank and delivered an entry ball to Feilhaber near the penalty mark. The World Cup veteran squared a first-time pass into space for Nemeth and the Hungarian calmly chipped the outrushing goalkeeper to cap off the sequence.

Feilhaber now has five assists in 2015, most among all Major League Soccer players, while Nemeth moves into the team lead with two goals in his debut MLS campaign.

No player has been fouled more in MLS this season than Dom Dwyer (25 fouls suffered) and it was a set piece earned by the Englishman that nearly gave Sporting KC the lead in the 28th minute. Feilhaber’s free kick connected with Servando Carrasco at the top of the six-yard box but his header carried over the crossbar.

Left back Marcel de Jong would join the attack as space opened up and the Canadian international created Sporting Kansas City’s next two scoring opportunities with attempts from outside the area.

His first shot in the 35th minute forced a sprawling save from Jaime Penedo and then again a minute later, de Jong had the Panamanian beaten only to see his shot glance off the outside of the far post.

Sporting Kansas City would go the remainder of regulation without a shot on goal as the Galaxy sought the go-ahead goal in front of more than 20,000 fans gathered in southern California.

The visitors best scoring chance of the second half came in the 68th minute on a cross sent into the box by Roger Espinoza and settled by Dwyer before shooting high of frame from 10 yards out.

Luis Marin matched his season-high with four saves on Saturday, including a pair of important interventions just seconds apart.

In the 72nd minute, the Chilean dove strong to his left to thwart Juninho’s blast from 30 yards out; then soon thereafter raced off his line to challenge Gyasi Zardes and win the ball in the 1-v-1 situation.

Those actions proved to be a precursor to Marin’s best moment of the night in the 76th minute. Zardes, a second half substitute after going the full 90 for the U.S. MNT on Wednesday in a 2-0 win over Mexico, cut the ball back for fellow homegrown signing Jamieson IV – who marked his MLS debut with an assist against Sporting KC in 2014.

Now looking for a memorable first MLS goal, Jamieson IV took the ball in stride and played a backheel toward net that was turned away at close range by an instinctual foot save from Marin.

With four minutes of stoppage time added to the second half, the Galaxy walked away on the winning side by converting what was likely the game’s final play.

Juninho’s corner kick fell to Gonzalez, who directed the ball goalward – and eventually into the net off a deflection from Bernardo Anor – with an outstretched leg amidst the scramble.

The game-winning goal was the latest conceded by Sporting KC since the team’s 2014 opener at Seattle and marked the Galaxy’s second stoppage-time goal of 2015 to claim points. The 2015 rematch will wait until the season’s final day when the Galaxy travel to Sporting Park on Oct. 25.

Bruce Arena’s squad will now travel cross country to take on Eastern Conference leaders New York next Sunday. Sporting Kansas City will remain on the road with a trip to Houston in a week’s time to face the Dynamo under Houston’s new head coach Owen Coyle at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
– Story from Sporting KC