I feel sorry for you if today's Sporting KC vs Houston Dynamo game was the first professional soccer or MLS game you've watched. Because it was not a pretty game. It was a not a pretty game at all. In fact it looked a lot like all three of KC's three previous games against the Dynamo this year, where a grand total of three goals were scored. Just one of those three were scored in two games at Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Dynamo, while tired came out from the start and had the better of play, it was KC that should have taken the lead in the 14th minute. A cross field ball was headed by Chance Myers into the path of Graham Zusi. Zusi collected the ball and then squared a ball to the penalty spot for an unmarked Jacob Peterson. Peterson though didn't get enough on his turning shot and hit it weakly wide of the goal. Kofi Sarkodie thought he'd given the the Dynamo the lead in the 17th minute. After some possession in KC's end of the field, KC couldn't clear their end and Sarkodie played a delayed 1-2 with Omar Cummings. The delay on Cummings return ball is what cost Sarkodie as by the time he received the ball there was a question of whether he was still onside. Replays showed just how close the play was. The Dynamo got a blow in the 26th minute when Ricardo Clark had to sub out with a knee injury. A few minutes earlier him and Benny Feilhaber had collided, Clark tried to continue, but could not as the Dynamo put on Andrew Driver in his place. Houston almost took the lead in the 29th. After a foul by KC about 25 yards out from goal Oscar Boniek Garcia took the shot on goal, but Jimmy Nielsen made a nice save punching the ball away. Both teams had chances in the 39th minute. First off a Matt Besler long through, the ball went ot the back post where Teal Bunbury fired a shot on goal that had beaten Tally Hall, but the Dynamo had put another player on the line and it was knocked away. KC tried to keep the Dynamo pinned in their own end, but the Dynamo broke through Will Bruin. Going alone against a number of KC defenders he fired a shot from 35 yards out that went just over the goal.
The second half started with the Dynamo sitting a little deeper to start to conserve energy, but they quickly came back into the game. In the 53rd off a free kick the ball went to the back post for Bobby Boswell who headed it back into the middle. The ball pinged around the box before KC finally cleared the ball. The Dynamo had another opportunity in the 57th as Mike Chabala crossed to Cam Weaver into the box, but Weaver's header was right at Nielsen. KC's best chance of the second half came in the 64th minute off another Besler long throw. Aurelien Collin got up over the Houston defense, but couldn't head the ball on goal as it went over the bar. The 72nd saw some controversy as a ball towards the end line was collected by Weaver in the corner of the box. Collin ended up stepping on Weaver's foot. The Dynamo forward went down like he'd been shot, but it easily could have been a penalty kick. In the end, neither side could produce the moment needed to get a goal and the two teams will head to KC square. The season will come down to the single game in KC in two weeks.
Wizards Man of the Match - Jimmy Nielsen - Made the big save when called upon against Garcia. He made the saves he needed to to keep the game scoreless and help KC get home with the series level.
Player ratings: Nielsen 6, Sinovic 6, Besler 6, Collin 6, Myers 6, Rosell 6, Nagamura 6, Feilhaber 4, Zusi 4, Bunbury 4, Peterson 3. Subs Sapong 4, Dwyer 4, Opara NR.