=== Houston hopes for first road win at K.C. ===
Kansas City, KS (Sports Network) - Sporting Kansas City wraps up a nine-match
homestand Saturday at Livestrong Sporting Park against the Houston Dynamo, who
are yet to win a road game in Major League Soccer this season.
K.C. has accumulated 14 of a possible 24 points during the record home stretch
and is coming off a 2-2 tie against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Monday, when the
tying goal came in stoppage time from Omar Bravo.
"I think we have a pretty solid base. We just need to continue to play well at
home and really put pressure on teams," said Sporting's Graham Zusi. "We need
to continue to be hard to play against and hard to score against.
"I think going forward we can grow from this (Los Angeles) game."
Sporting (9-8-10) scored in the 89th minute or later to secure a draw for the
fourth time in its last 10 games, and is just three points behind the Columbus
Crew for first place in the Eastern Conference.
In addition, K.C. just two points ahead of the Philadelphia Union and Houston,
both even on 35 points, for a top-three finish and a guaranteed playoff spot.
With the standings so tight, and fourth place not good enough to secure a spot
in the postseason, K.C. coach Peter Vermes is proud of his club for claiming a
share of points on all of those occasions.
"They've got unbelievable determination to get back in the game and they're
not going to die and that is a quality that needs to be commended because game
after game we fight for everything," Vermes said.
K.C. is 6-2-5 at home this season, as its new $200 million stadium has been an
advantage for the club, and with Davy Arnaud and Jeferson among the players on
the mend, a strong finish could lead Sporting into the postseason.
"To be honest its one game at a time right now, Houston is our biggest game of
the season, they're right under us in the table, we get them at home and will
be a good chance to gain some ground on them," K.C.'s Matt Besler said.
Houston (8-8-11) wasted a chance to move second in the standings in its recent
match, a 1-0 defeat to lowly Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Long Tan scored with four
minutes remaining, as the Dynamo allowed a goal in the closing stages for the
fourth time this season to watch its five-game unbeaten run end.
"I will say Saturday was the angriest we've been in the locker room in a long
time," Houston manager Dominic Kinnear said. "It was a missed opportunity,
especially when you look at what happened on the weekend and that it was a
chance to move forward."
Without a win on the road, the Dynamo will try to bounce back at K.C. Just two
other clubs - Vancouver and Toronto FC - have yet to win away from home, but a
win against Sporting could erase those struggles.
Houston does have eight draws in its 13 road matches, but just three squads in
the history of MLS have gone winless on the road for an entire season.
"I don't think we're playing great away from home, but we're playing the game
and we're creating a lot of scoring opportunities," Kinnear said.
Despite the setback, Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall knows the Kansas City match
is a chance to move on.
"I don't think it's hard (to bounce back), because we can look at the way
we've been playing," Hall said. "It was just one game, and it wasn't a case of
putting us in or keeping us out of the playoffs."
09/09 16:11:52 ET