Houston were presented a wonderful opportunity, hosting a Sporting Kansas City team without three of their most important cogs. True, the international break monster also took a bite out of the Dynamo, but Wednesday’s game at BBVA Compass looked like theirs to lose.
Lose, they did not, unless you count the missed opportunity to distance themselves from the cluster at the bottom of the East’s playoff race. Tonight’s 0-0 result, one in which Houston had the better of the chances, still leaves them within reach.
Will Bruin forced Jimmy Neilsen into a number of early saves, while Brad Davis would have put Houston ahead on the stroke of halftime if it wasn’t for some clever Aurelien Collin positioning on a 20-yard direct kick. An early ball sent across the top of Tally Hall’s six-yard box was Kansas City’s most-threatening moment.
As the second half played out to its inevitable stalemate, you couldn’t help thinking the game was unfolding like some fallacious expectation of a Dom Kinnear team meeting the league’s most physical site. Though you don’t always see Houston and Kansas City lock each other up, there was little chance the second half was going to produce a winner. It was little more than the 45 minutes that separated halftime from the final whistle.
At that whistle, Kansas City had survived the absences of Graham Zusi (U.S.), Matt Besler (U.S.) and Claudio Bieler (injury). They’d won a point that kept them well within the Supporters’ Shield race, and without a game this weekend, they won’t have to play another game this year without their U.S. internationals.
For Houston, the point still helps, but Montréal can pass them for third with a win next Wednesday. A win by Philadelphia pulls the Union even with Houston’s 48 points, and Chicago and New England also in the picture.
Sure, things are still looking good for the Dynamo, but with a win (one that would have put them seven points ahead of sixth place Chicago), Houston’s playoff future would have been all but assured. That kind of security will have to wait for another day.