Au g 4, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Dynamo forward Andrew Wenger (11) and Sporting Kansas City forward Daniel Salloi (20) fight for the ball during the first half at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports
HOUSTON – Playing a man down in soccer is never easy, but that’s the task the Houston Dynamo faced at home Saturday for the second consecutive home game.
And much like their last home game, the Dynamo could not mount a comeback and dropped points at home — this time in a 1-0 loss to Western Conference rival Sporting Kansas City at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Rivalry games are always intense. While Sporting KC versus the Houston Dynamo isn’t your typical rivalry game, it more often than not lives up to the billing. Things got off to a fast start and immediately put one team at an advantage.
In the 14th minute, Dynamo centerback Alejandro Fuenmayor went up for a 50/50 ball against Sporting KC’s 16-year-old midfielder Gianluca Busio. Fuenmayor went in hard, knocking Busio to the ground. Referee Chris Penso showed the Venezuelan defender a straight red card for the play.
Fuenmayor’s red card marks the second consecutive home game in which the Dynamo play a man down. The announced 14,675 in attendance let the referee know their feelings, chanting “Ref you suck” on numerous occasions throughout the game.
“Somehow the field got much bigger tonight, I don’t know what happened,” Andrew Wenger said post game, trying to keep things jovial.
By the end of the match, Fuenmayor wasn’t the only Dynamo sent off. As players and coaches headed toward the locker rooms, Cabrera exchanged words with the fourth official and was ejected from the game.
The official word was the coach got ejected for irresponsible conduct in the tunnel. Cabrera would finish watching the game from the stands.
Cabrera said he can’t make any kind of assessment from tonight’s game because for most of the match it was 10 versus 11.
“This is the second time we come over here [at home] and we get strange circumstances so I cannot make any assessment about how we perform because we cannot perform with those circumstances,” Cabrera said, referencing the Dynamo’s last home match.
Being a man down, it seemed like if Houston was going to score it would come on a counterattack — and that nearly came to fruition in the 64th minute.
Dynamo winger Romell Quioto flew down the left wing with the ball at his feet and a pair of Sporting KC defenders chasing after him. The Honduran send a diagonal pass to Alberth Elis, who was open on the opposite wing.
Elis brought the ball down in the box and shot it, but it went straight at Kansas City ‘keeper Tim Melia.
“Tough game,” Wenger said. “There are some things we could do better other than that it was a good effort by the guys. Which might be the only thing you can hold your hat on at this point.”
Sporting KC finally jumped ahead in the 74th minute when Graham Zusi threaded a pass to Busio — making his first MLS start — who then flicked a pass forward to Diego Rubio for the finish.
The Dynamo continued searching for a score, and in the 72nd minute subbed on newly-acquired forward Ronaldo Peña to aid in that regard. The Venezuelan showed flashes of what he can give the Dynamo, but those came sporadically since Houston had to contend with being a man down.
“I was ready, I had been preparing all week. It was motivating for me to play and to debut. And the moment came,” Peña said. “But not what I expected because I wanted to win.”
The game started to boil over as the full 90 minutes approached. And in the 94th minute, a third Dynamo got sent off. Darwin Ceren was shown a red card. The referee used video review, but the red card stood. Minutes later, Elis also saw red, leaving the Dynamo with eight men for the remainder of the game.
“Right now, what I would like is just to go home and think about how to prepare for the next game,” Cabrera said. “To see if it’s going to be normal for us to come to our own home and try to play the game. Because we want to play.”
The Dynamo now shift their attention to the U.S. Open Cup semi-final, where they will host LAFC Wednesday. The question that remains is whether Cabrera will coach the Orange after his ejection from the game.