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Sporting KC hold on for 1-1 draw vs Houston in opening match

A bit rusty to open the season, but Sporting KC secure a hard fought point on the road against the Dynamo.



Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting KC kicked off the 2024 MLS season with a tough point on the road in a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo. Erik Thommy got things started in the second half with a nice individual effort, but the Dynamo controlled most of the match with 61% possession and 12 shots to SKC’s six.

Peter Vermes and Co. were looking to make a statement against the team that ended their season last year.

Or was that the refs? I digress.

It was the same starting XI for Ben Olsen’s men, who fell to STL on Tuesday in Champions Cup action. Houston were clearly more sharp to open the match. Their first chance came in the 11th minute after a quick one-two between Artur and Coco Carasquilla, but Artur made a mess of the last touch in front of goal.

The issues for KC continued from there. They were insistent on playing out from the back despite repeated mistakes. A couple of which were bailed out by foul calls, and the others were blown chances from Houston.

Sporting KC didn’t create a real chance until the 23rd minute off a nice pass from Daniel Salloi. The Hungarian was rocking the #10 for the first time and you could see he was in the mood.

Alan Pulido had a couple opportunities in the first half, but he hadn’t quite shaken off the cobwebs yet. The best opportunity of the half came after a brilliant ball from Nemanja Radoja, but Pulido got the ball stuck under his feet and the chance was wasted.

The Mexican striker wouldn’t get much time in the second half to right the ship. Peter Vermes replaced him with Wily Agada in the 59th minute.

It was an uninspiring, rather rusty first half for SKC, but they were able to make it into halftime level at 0-0.

Not much changed after the break and Vermes was quick to make a change. In addition to Agada, Stephen Afrifa came on for Johnny Russell. Just moments later, and entirely against the run of play, Thommy would score the first goal of 2024.

And he did it all by himself. The German dribbled into the box surrounded by orange jerseys, but not entirely closed down. He picked his head up and fired it through traffic. It snuck through and somehow, SKC were in front 1-0 in the 61st minute.

But they Dynamo were level just eight minutes later. It was truly a beautiful, well worked goal that started off with a long switch from Carasquilla. Aliyu headed it across the face of the goal for a simple finish from Gabrel Segal.

PV wasn’t happy with the defending on the goal after the match.

He made three more subs throughout the half bringing on Memo Rodriguez*, Zorhan Bassong, and Alenis Vargas. Houston ramped up the pressure and were knocking at the door several times. Tim Melia was called into action and a couple desperate clearances were needed, but they were able to close out the game.

It was an ugly, hard earned draw for the visitors, but they’ll be happy with the point. The match was far from perfect. There’s plenty to clean up for Sporting KC. However, Houston is a strong team and it’s always an ugly brawl against them on the road.

Next Saturday is the home opener with the Philadelphia Union coming to town for another 7:30pm kickoff.

*This originally said Felipe Hernandez in error.

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