Sporting Kansas City (3-5-6, 15 points) played out a compelling 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo (7-3-3, 24 points) at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas on Saturday night. Yohan Croizet gave Sporting the lead in the 63rd minute, only for high-flying Houston winger Alberth Elis to equalize six minutes later.
Saturday’s game marked the first of five consecutive road games in June for Sporting KC, who will next travel to take on Toronto FC (5-6-3, 18 points) on Friday, June 7. The contest will kick off at 7 p.m. CT with live coverage on FOX Sports Kansas City Plus, FOX Sports Midwest Plus, FOX Sports GO, Sports Radio 810 WHB and ESPN Deportes KC 1480 AM.
Sporting KC, playing without captain Matt Besler and Johnny Russell who were rested, came out strong and Krisztian Nemeth won a free kick 25 yards out in the third minute, setting up Felipe Gutierrez to strike the resulting attempt high and wide of the target. The Dynamo threatened for the first time in the 16th minute when Matias Vera lashed an effort on goal from distance that was deflected over the bar by Houston striker Mauro Manotas.
In the 20th minute, Yohan Croizet – playing on the right wing for Russell – cut inside of two challenges and struck a low shot from distance that bounced wide of the post. Sporting escaped a dangerous situation in the 31st minute when Maynor Figueroa’s strike from distance was parried away by Tim Melia before Graham Smith cleared Manotas’ rebound off the line.
As the clock ticked toward halftime, Houston winger Romell Quioto finally found some space behind the Sporting backline and surged toward goal in the penalty area, but center back Botond Barath flew in with a perfectly-timed sliding challenge to clear both ball and man away from danger.
The hosts kept pushing in the second half and Quioto had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring in the 53rd minute only to be denied by Melia, before Elis lashed the rebound inches wide of the target.
Sporting KC took the lead in the 63rd minute with a terrific finish from Croizet. Ilie Sanchez floated a gorgeous ball over the top that caught Dynamo left back Adam Lundkvist on the back foot, allowing Croizet to nip in and loft a lobbed finish over Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis and into the back of the net, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Sporting almost doubled the lead in the 66th minute when Ilie freed Daniel Salloi down the left wing, who in turn slid a ball across to Nemeth but his side-footed attempt skewed wide of the target.
Instead, the Dynamo pulled themselves level in the 69th minute when Figueroa’s cross was headed back across goal by A.J. DeLaGarza, allowing Elis to volley into the top corner in acrobatic fashion and level the score at 1-1.
Elis almost put the hosts ahead in the 85th minute when he met a Memo Rodriguez free kick at the far post, but his flicked header flashed wide of the post. Four minutes later, it was Sporting’s turn to almost snatch victory as Croizet spun away from his marker brilliantly only to curl his effort over the bar.
In the first minute of stoppage time, Elis fed fellow Honduran Garcia inside the area, but the veteran’s effort flew straight at Melia who was able to gather the ball at the second time of asking. Deep into seven minutes of stoppage time, a ball pinged around the Sporting area before Rodriguez lashed a wild attempt well over the bar as Sporting saw out a 1-1 draw and picked up a valuable point on the road.