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Three takeaways from the Houston Dynamo’s tie with Sporting Kansas City

Houston experienced a slow start and conceded first for the seventh time this season.

HOUSTON — Although the Houston Dynamo were able to rally a 1-1 tie against Sporting Kansas City Saturday night, Houston was less explosive than usual.

No matter the struggle, La Naranja remains unbeaten at home. With three consecutive Major League Soccer games away from home, Houston must show its abilities to overcome difficult games in rival territory in the coming weeks.

Slow Start

It was humid at BBVA Compass Stadium, yet it it did seem to be the weather that was affecting the Dynamo’s performance. The home-standing team had a slow start and was outplayed in the first half, losing the ball on several occasions.

Sporting Kansas City didn’t created many opportunities through the first hour but was helped by a good play and a Dynamo mistake when it opened the scoring in the 63rd minute. Six minutes later, the Dynamo evened the playing field. Defender A. J. DeLaGarza served a low headed pass, and Alberth Elis finished with a beautiful side-footed volley in the 69th.

“Yes, we just couldn’t keep the ball and they came out playing and it was challenging for us to recover the ball,” DeLaGarza said. “So we were in a position where we had to run more than what we anticipated. That didn’t help us, it was a bad mix between not having the ball and running more to try to win possession.”

Better refs?

Officiating of the match left Dynamo head coach Wílmer Cabrera utterly upset. Cabrera attributed the rhythm of the game to referee Kevin Stott.

Cabrera pointed out that Stott lost control of the game, allowing players from both teams to waste time with unnecessary plays or fouls once they saw they could get away with it. The coach called it embarrassing to the sport.

“He allowed them to waste a lot of time and in this sport, you can win, you can tie, you can lose, but the referee needs to do the right things, and today, I don’t think he was up to the level for this game,” Cabrera said.

“Listen, if they go and win and they are better than us, they have to get the three points, but the referee needs to create a good environment for the game of soccer and he didn’t do it, and the people, the fans, they were getting really upset.”

Déjà vu

This was not the first time the Dynamo fell behind. During the 2019 home opener Real Salt Lake scored first in the 40th minute before the Dynamo equalized in the 60th. That game started a trend. Houston has conceded the first goal seven times in 13 league games this season. Cabrera and his players are aware of the problem.

After the tie with SKC, Elis emphasized the importance taking full points at BBVA Compass Stadium.

“We have to win at home,” Elis said. “We cannot let points go at home, and now we shift our focus to the next game.”

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