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Sporting KC v Houston Dynamo: Preview, Injuries & Predictions

It’s the first game of 2024 and we need to get you ready for Sporting Kansas City versus the Houston Dynamo.



Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting KC @ Houston Dynamo

When: Saturday, February 24, 2024 at 7:30 PM CT

Where: Shell Energy Stadium

How to Watch/Stream: Apple MLS Season Pass

The 2024 MLS season kicked off on Wednesday between Inter Miami and Real Salt Lake, but most of the rest of the league get started this weekend. And what a fitting first game. Sporting Kansas City look for revenge against the Houston Dynamo after a brutal uncalled handball (and let’s be honest, some bad tactics), sent Sporting KC home early from the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Sporting KC will look to build on their momentum from the final two-thirds of 2023 where they were the best team in the Western Conference.

In preseason, several players have emerged as potential breakout candidates in wingers Alenis Vargas and Stephen Afrifa. Time will tell if they break through to the starting lineup over their veteran counterparts, but they should at least provide welcome depth from a team that lacks experience outside of the Starting XI.

They will go on the road against a Dynamo team that had its best season in years. They (controversially) made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals before being thumped by LAFC and sent packing.

Brief SKC Offseason Recap

Sporting KC said goodbye to some legends and a DP and added mostly youth and depth to the roster.

IN: LB – Zorhan Bassong, FWD – Alenis Vargas, MID – Memo Rodriguez, GK – Ryan Schewe

OUT: In two years, their names will be on the wall, but their on field contributions had waned in recent years. It’ll be a gut punch not to see Graham Zusi and Roger Espinoza on opening day, but father time is undefeated.

Perhaps the biggest loss will be DP midfielder Gadi Kinda, who has returned to Israel.

Also gone: Cam Duke, Kendall McIntosh, Felipe Gutierrez and Kortne Ford (SKC II signee)

Longer SKC Season Previews (Podcast Version)

If you are looking for more on Sporting KC’s offseason to get you ready, we’ve got a pile of podcasts you can listen to between now and Saturday. First up, the KC Soccer Journal have two for you followed by a trio of appearances by yours truly making the podcast rounds.

What’s new for Houston in 2024?

Not much. They may be on par with Sporting KC in terms of boring offseasons.

IN: The team has added four players, though they keep counting the re-signing of Griffin Dorsey as a fifth move. He was a free agent who returned, that’s not an addition but it might be their best move. Outside of that, it’s thin. They signed veteran midfielder Jan Gregus, possibly to fill in for Hector Herrera who is out for a bit. And they traded for NYCFC forward Gabrial Segal. The other two moves are through the draft or adding a Homegrown (Kieran Sargeant).

OUT: While 11 players are out, there aren’t a ton of significant moves. The biggest loss is likely striker Corey Baird, who left via free agency to FC Cincinnati. Also, they lost Ivan Franco, who is probably their second largest subtraction.

The team declined the option on Designated Player CB Teenage Hadebe, who was a disappointment. Thor Úlfarsson is gone via transfer to Debreceni VSC (Hungary). Other than that, it’s a few MLS veterans in Chase Gasper, Matias Vera and Daniel Rios along with some names you probably won’t recognize.

KC’s Preseason Form

  • Jan 20th vs. Florida Int. Univ. – 4-1 Win
  • Jan 26th vs. Charlotte FC – 3-3 Draw
  • Jan 30th vs. Nashville SC – 1-2 Loss
  • Feb 10th vs. Miami FC (USL) – 5-0 Win
  • Feb 17th vs Atlanta United – 3-1 Win

Houston’s Recent Form

  • Feb 3rd vs. Tecos FC – 3-1 Win
  • Feb 5th vs. Leones Negros – 3-5 Loss
  • Feb 7th vs. Chivas Guadalajara – 1-1 Draw
  • Feb 14th vs. Orlando City – 0-1 Loss
  • Feb 20th @ St. Louis City – 1-2 Loss

The Dynamo will be on short rest after a tough preseason and a CONCACAF Champions Cup loss on Tuesday across the state in St. Louis. That said, everything before Tuesday for Houston was preseason for both teams, so we can’t put a ton of weight on any of these results. The biggest factor may be the disparity in team health.

Injury/Availability Report

(Updated on 2/23/2024)

At this point, there are no official injury reports out. In 2024, injury reports don’t come out on the proceeding Wednesday for a Saturday game, but instead the night before from the league.

Sporting KC:

  • OUT – Logan Ndenbe (Torn ACL), Khiry Shelton (ankle surgery), Ozzie Cisneros (Quad), Danny Flores (Head)
  • QUESTIONABLE – Tim Leibold (Ear Contusion), Johnny Russell (Groin), Daniel Salloi (Quad)


  • OUT – Hector Herrera (knee), Nelson Quinones (knee injury), Sebastian Ferreira (hamstring)
  • QUESTIONABLE – Franco Escobar (Leg Injury)


Sporting KC: None

Houston: None

2023 Stats

Players gone in the offseason are crossed out. Not crossed out are all the injured Dynamo players.

Sporting KC

Goals: Alan Pulido (14), Johnny Russell (8), Daniel Salloi (7), Erik Thommy (5), Gadi Kinda, Willy Agada (3), Dany Rosero, Remi Walter (2), Felipe Hernandez, Robert Castellanos, Khiry Shelton (1)

Assists: Erik Thommy (11), Daniel Salloi (9), Gadi Kinda, Remi Walter (4), Tim Leibold, Alan Pulido, Johnny Russell, Nemanja Radoja (3), Jake Davis, Roger Espinoza (2), Marinos Tzionis, Graham Zusi, Andreu Fontas, Robert Voloder, Logan Ndenbe (1)


Goals: Amine Bassi (10), Corey Baird (8), Hector Herrera, Nelson Quinones (4), Ibrahim Aliyu, Coco Carrasquilla, Griffin Dorsey, Ivan Franco, Thor Ulfarsson (3), Artur, Franco Escobar, Daniel Steres (2), four with one (1)

Assists: Herrera (17), Carrasquilla (8), Baird (6), Bassi (4), Aliyu, Franco (3), Steve Clark, Dorsey, Quinones, Brad Smith, Steres (2), five with one (1)


The timing for Sporting KC to face the Houston Dynamo couldn’t be better. Houston is already dealing with schedule congestion after playing a CCC game on Tuesday in St. Louis and having another one looming next week. They are down a goal to STL, so they may need to ration minutes if they hope to make a comeback in that multi-leg match-up.

On top of that, Houston is already beat up. They are without three of their key attackers in Herrera, Ferreira and Quinones. And those are just the injuries we know of on the surface. Who knows what the new Friday night injury reports will bring.

Plus, it’s a good time to go to Houston. It’s not humid and miserable because it’s technically winter. The temperature is still higher than normal for KC at this time, but it should cool off nicely into the evening.

Put all that together with the fact that Sporting KC are coming into the season healthy, and they should be able to buck the trend of just hoping for a point while playing on the road. This is a winnable game. Even though it’s the first game of the season and players are bound to look rusty (look no further than that sloppy opener between Miami/RSL).

Sporting KC need to take advantage and get that first win a couple months faster than they did it in 2023. I can’t see them keeping a clean sheet with some of the defensive lapses in preseason, but I think they can outscore the Dynamo.

PREDICTION: 2-1 Sporting KC Win

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