KC left it late but pulled a point out against Houston at home last night on NBC Sports. Houston came out and played the same game that has become the blue print for playing Sporting KC at home. They bunkered in and tried to limit Kansas City's chances and strike on the counter. The Dynamo worked it to perfection, because while Sporting had over 4 times the number of shots (28-6) and 3 times the number of shots on goal (9-3) they grabbed a 1-0 lead 13 minutes into the second half and almost pulled off a big 1-0 win before CJ Sapong struck late to salvage a point.
Just 5th minutes into the game KC almost took the lead. CJ Sapong pressured Jermaine Taylor and forced him into a bad back pass. Sapong beat Tally Hall to the ball and with Hall out of the net, Sapong laid the ball back to Graham Zusi whose shot was saved off the line by Bobby Boswell. KC continued to attack and in the 19th minute forced Hall into a good save. Kei Kamara won a header on a ball into the box. The ball landed in front of Sapong who cut outside and fired a shot on goal that was delfected on the way in, but Hall was able to knock it away. Hall almost knocked the ball into the path of Paulo Nagamura that would have been a goal, but Nagamura couldn't get a touch. KC kept pushing and in the 33rd were again close to grabbing the lead. With everyone in the box for a long throw from Matt Besler, Besler played the ball short and received the ball right back. He played a cross into the box for Sapong whose powerful header was very well saved by HAll.
Closing in on half time, Houston had an extremely dangerous opportunity as Will Bruin got played in behind KC's defense in a blown attempt at the offside trap. One on one with Bruin though, Jimmy Nielsen came up with a very big save to keep the game scoreless.
In the 55th Hall again came up big. Off a Besler long throw, Sapong headed the ball into the path of Kamara who just got a touch to the ball but Hall knocked the ball over the bar. All the pressure that KC had pushed early on though didn't get them the goal and then in the 58th, Houston grabbed the lead. After some sustained possession for Houston, Oscar Boniek Garcia picked out Brad Davis at the top of the completely unmarked. Davis had time to take a touch and fire his shot towards the far corner. Nielsen seemed to get a good look at it and got a good jump, but somehow it got past him and into the net to put Houston on top 1-0. KC threw even more numbers into the attack but still couldn't find net. Sapong missed just wide of the goal with a header from the top of the box off a Chance Myers cross in the 78th minute. Then in the 81st off a Zusi free kick Myers forced a decent save from Hall on a header, but the shot was right at Hall. The rebound was cleared before anyone from KC could get to it. The pressure looked like it'd be for not as the game entered stoppage time with the game still 1-0 to the Dynamo. In the 3rd minute of stoppage time, Besler played a long ball over the top to the edge of the box where Sapong headed into the path of Zusi and pealed away to make a run to the back post. Zusi took a touch then cut inside before looping a ball to the back post where Sapong was unmarked. Sapong headed the ball past Hall and into the net tying the score at 1-1.
Wizards Man of the Match - CJ Sapong - He got the game tying goal, but if not for some very good saves from Hall last night, Sapong would have had 2-3 goals. This was the type of confidence building game that Sapong needed heading into the late run this season.
Player Ratings - Nielsen 5, Myers 5, Collin 6, Besler 4, Sinovic 5, Cesar 5, Nagamura 6, Espinoza 6, Kamara 5, Sapong 6, Zusi 6. Subs Peterson 5.