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Preview: SKC hosts Houston

Sporting KC hosts Western Conference for



Salloi battling Houston for the ball in 2022 | Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting KC Matchday 31

Who:  Sporting Kansas City (9-13-8, 35 pts) vs Houston Dynamo FC (12-10-7, 43 pts)

When: Saturday, Sept 23rd, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. CT (7:39 kickoff)

Where: Children’s Mercy Park| Kansas City

Watch:  Apple TV

English Radio | Sports Radio 810 WHB

Spanish Radio | La Grande 1340 AM

Sporting Kansas City hosts Houston Dynamo FC Saturday evening at Children’s Mercy Park. The visitors are fourth in the Western Conference with 43 points in 29 games (12-10-7). Sporting KC sits outside of the playoff line in eleventh with 35 points in 30 games (9-12-8).

The Dynamo finished thirteenth in the Western Conference last season but have put together a steady season in 2023. They are undefeated in their last seven with four wins and three draws.

The Dynamo have been very good at home with a 10-2-3 record (Sporting KC did manage a hard fought draw there this year). On the road Houston is not as strong with only a 2-8-4 record. Houston has earned results in their last three road matches, two 0-0 draws and 3-0 win in Salt Lake.

Houston have been a much-improved team under first-year head coach Ben Olsen. While it is Olsen’s first season with Houston, he was the DC United coach for a decade. Sporting KC fans should know Houston assistant coach Aurelien Collin very well. Collin was part of Sporting KC’s MLS Cup in 2013 and Open Cup in 2012 victories.

One question for Houston will be how they manage the game while trying to be prepared for facing Inter Miami in the US Open Cup final on Wednesday. Like Sporting KC, this is Houston’s third match in a week and the Open Cup final will it make it four games 12 days.

Sporting KC are on their third match in week. After a gritty win in Minnesota last Saturday, SKC lost 3-0 to Nashville on Wednesday. Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes told media after the loss, “We looked tired, we looked slow.” He thought the game against Minnesota took more out of them than they realized. SKC was hampered in rotating players due to an illness that kept some players from being at their best.

With it being critical to get wins in every game remaining in the season, Vermes told the KC Soccer Journal, “We don’t have the leniency at this moment to be tired. We have to suck it up and go out and give it everything we have in these last four games to try and give ourselves an opportunity. The guys have fought hard to get back to this point to give ourselves a chance.”

Coach’s thoughts on the opponent:

When asked about the Olsen led Dynamo compared to the DC united years, Vermes responded, “They are similar. His teams always fought, they always competed. This group competes. They like having the ball, they like keeping the ball and they are hungry so it’s a dangerous mixture and a team that is feeling pretty good about itself.”


There is a lot of history with the Houston. The regular-season series is even at 13-13-15, while Sporting are 8-3-3 against Houston since the start of 2018. Sporting is 8-5-7 at home against Houston. Houston was the original hurdle they needed to leap for Sporting KC to advance in the playoffs after the rebranding. Dramatic games made Houston a rival a decade ago for SKC.

This season SKC earned a 2-2 draw in Houston but felt they let that one get away. Sporting KC had a 2-1 lead until the 98th minute.


Sporting Kansas City


DEF – Kortne Ford (Achilles Surgery)

DEF – Kayden Pierre (Hamstring Injury


DEF – Tim Leibold (Illness)

DEF – Graham Zusi (Hamstring Injury)

FWD – Alan Pulido (Quad Contusion)

Houston Dynamo

Ifunanyachi Achara – Knee

Tate Schmitt – Knee
Amine Bassi – Lower Body Injury



Referee: Chris Penso

Assistant ref: Cameron Blanchard

Assistant ref:  Chris Wattam

4th official: Ramy Touchan

VAR: Daniel Radford

Penso was the official for one Sporting KC game this season. SKC lost 4-0 in St. Louis, received two yellow cards to their opponents one.

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