Major League Soccer

Dynamo-Sporting Kansas City Preview

Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo face off at Children's Mercy Park on Saturday in the first full-capacity match for both sides since early 2020.

SKC have enjoyed a positive run of form, winning back-to-back matches and three of their last four, and they will be boosted by a packed home crowd against Houston.

Head coaches Tab Ramos and Peter Vermes know each other well from their playing days, but for the latter it is business as usual this weekend as Sporting attempt to remain unbeaten on home soil.

"I think we're still building towards something, trying to find different aspects of who we are," Vermes said.

"The fact we're progressing is a good thing, but obviously each weekend is a different test, and this will be a tough one against Houston.

"At times we still miss some things, but it's still forward progress. We're getting closer to what we want to look like, both offensively and defensively."

Sporting are second in the Western Conference, two points better off than fourth-placed rivals Houston, who beat Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 last week to get back to winning ways.

Ramos, whose side have not won back-to-back league games since last September, is relishing the chance to play in front of a potentially sold-out stadium.

"It's one of the nicer places to play, with the crowd really into it," he said. "We unfortunately lost there the last time they had a full stadium, but it's a great place to go.

"We've had a good week of training. We know we're going to face a team that's doing well and is a contender for everything this year.

"At the same time we're confident that we're growing and getting better, so it will be a tough match-up."

Sporting Kansas City - Daniel Salloi

Salloi scored one and set up another in the 3-1 win over San Jose Earthquakes last week and has now been directly involved in five goals already this season. That compares to just two goal contributions in 35 games over the previous two seasons, highlighting just how impressive the Hungarian's start to 2021 has been.

Houston Dynamo - Memo Rodriguez

Ramos admitted last week he is after more from Rodriguez and, two days after making those comments, the homegrown talent provided a goal and an assist against the Whitecaps. Rodriguez himself said in the week he now needs to provide some consistency to his game, and what better way to do that than by scoring - or indeed assisting - in back-to-back games.

- Dynamo have won three of their last four games against Sporting, including a 1-0 home victory on May 12.

- The first of those four games was a 5-2 Houston win in Kansas City in August 2020, the first five-goal away performance in the Dynamo's MLS history.

- Sporting came from behind to win for the third time this season last Saturday at San Jose. Their nine points from losing positions are five more than any other team at this stage of the season (New England, Real Salt Lake, Inter Miami - four each).

- The Dynamo have won just one of their last 20 away matches (D4 L15) dating back to August 2019. Their lone away win in that time came in Kansas City, a 5-2 victory over Sporting in August 2020.

- With his goal and an assist in Houston's win over Vancouver on Saturday, Rodriguez became the first Dynamo player with both a goal and an assist in a match since four different Houston players did so against Sporting Kansas City in August 2020 (Christian Ramirez, Alberth Elis, Niko Hansen, Darwin Quintero).

Updated May 28, 2021

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2022 by STATS PERFORM.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS PERFORM is strictly prohibited.