Diego Rubio scored in the 74th minute and goalkeeper Tim Melia turned away four shots as Sporting Kansas City did just enough to beat the short-handed, host Houston Dynamo 1-0 on Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium in a heated Western Conference showdown.
Sporting Kansas City (10-6-6, 36 points) won for the first time in six matches and snapped a two-game losing streak, posting its first shutout since June 6; its eight clean sheets this season leads the Western Conference.
Rubio, who entered the match in the 61st minute, took a perfect one-touch pass from Gianluca Busio on the dead run into the goal mouth, steading the ball with his chest before taking one stride and ripping a right-footed shot past helpless Houston goalkeeper Joe Willis.
Graham Zusi was also granted an assist on the goal for his sterling pass to Busio that began the play.
Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Tim Melia’s clean sheet was his eighth of the year and the 34th of his nine-year MLS career.
The Dynamo had to change strategy early in the match when defender Alejandro Fuenmayor was assessed a red card in the 14th minute after a serious foul in the air near midfield against Sporting Kansas City’s Busio, forcing Houston to play with 10 men.
Darwin Ceren and Alberth Elis were also sent off during second-half injury time as the Dynamo played three players down for the final minutes.
The Dynamo (7-9-6, 27 points) are winless in their last four games and suffered their third straight defeat.
Sporting KC, as would be expected because of its man advantage, had more goal attempts than Houston (14-10), more passes (518-331), better possession percentage (61 percent-39 percent), more duels won (44-39) and more tackles won (10-3).
Houston returns to action on Wednesday when its hosts Los Angeles FC in the semifinal of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Dynamo’s next MLS match is Aug. 11 at Columbus. Fuenmayor, Ceren and Elis will be suspended for that contest because of the red cards.
Sporting Kansas City stays on the road and will square off against LAFC, also on Aug. 11.
—Field Level Media