The old cliche holds true: You can't win 'em all. Especially on the road. Especially on the road to a team who win a lot at home. Especially on the road to a team who win a lot at home when you're down a man.
The Kansas City Star
The good news? Despite the 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo, Sporting Kansas City are still holding the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Here's a big batch of facts, stats, notes and quotes from last night's game.
• Some historical context to start. Kansas City are 205-205-103 in MLS regular season play, 68-131-59 on the road all time.
• Against Houston, all time, KC are 3-6-5 (1-3-3 on the road).
• The two teams have squared off against each other twice in the last 12 days.
• They'll play the rubber match on Sept. 14 on NBC Sports.
• It's summer. It's hot. Though not as hot as it was here, the kick-off temp in Houston was 88 degrees In 2012, Sporting are 4-4-1 when the temperature is over 75 degrees.
• It was also KC's first loss in the month of July.
• The team is currently on a rugged 60-day stretch featuring 17 matches in all competitions.
• Manager Peter Vermes continued to juggle his lineup during this stretch. He made three changes to the starting lineup from Saturday's win over Columbus.
• Teal Bunbury, Michael Harrington and Michael Thomas replaced Soony Saad, Chance Myers and Roger Espinoza.
• Espinoza missed the match due to international duty.
• Graham Zusi was scratched from the 18-man roster with a quad strain.
• Harrington made his 144th appearance for Kansas City, moving him into a tie for ninth place in the club's all-time rankings. Not surprisingly, he has the most appearances for KC on the current roster.
• Peterson Joseph made his third start of his MLS career. The Haitian was shown a red card for a dangerous challenge near the end of the first half.*
*Opinion alert: That was ABSOLUTELY a red card. Joseph went into the Dynamo player from behind with a two-footed challenge with his studs up. He had been playing very aggressively up to that point. Almost like he had switched brains with Espinoza.
• Vermes took the high road after the game. "I don't know. I never saw the replay so I can't comment on it now because I don't know. It was a big difference in the game obviously, being a man down for another 50 minutes from the start of the second half. We did a good job, we held on pretty long. One play and they found a way to score so we will see what it looks like."
• Seth Sinovic went over 5,000 minutes played last night. He is one of 11 players on the team's active roster to reach that milestone.
• Unfortunately, Sinovic had to leave the match in the second half with an apparent ankle injury. He was replaced by Myers.
• This is the first MLS game of the season without Myers in the starting lineup. Until this point, he had logged every minute of every MLS match.
• Aurelien Collin, Jimmy Nielsen and Myers are the only players to appear in all 19 MLs matches.
• Nielsen is now the only Sporting player to play every minute of every MLS match.
• The Dane's shutout streak was stopped 334 minutes when Houston's Calen Carr scored in the 25th minute.
• Nielsen didn't register a save in the match. It's the fifth time that's happened this year.
• Sporting held Houston to a season low five shots. KC leads MLS in fewest shots against (207).
• Houston scored on both its shots on goal.
• Houston held KC to a season low eight shots. KC leads MLS in most shots (315).
• KC actually leads MLS in all-time shots with 6,964.
• Houston conceded only two corners, also a season low for KC -- who leads MLS with 122.
• Perhaps Houston snuck up on Kansas City by cleverly disguising most of its fans as orange chairs.
• This was the second match in a row that KC pulled back from the high-pressing style that Vermes is known for. Part of that was being down a man for 50 minutes. Part of it seems to be Vermes' strategy for tough away dates.
• Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear had this to say: "They were sitting deep. and not giving a lot of space. [Aurelien] Collin and [Matt] Besler defend the box very well. They are a very good defensive team. They don't give you much. They make you play it wide and keep it tight and when they cross the ball into the box they have good guys attacking the box."
• You really need to look at this vintage Kinnear card.
• Bobby Convey made his first appearance since May 19 after returning from a calf strain.
• Julio Cesar -- KC's highest paid player -- hasn't played a single minute since leaving the Chicago Fire match on June 29th. He isn't listed on the injury report. My reaction: This.
• Kei Kamara converted the 51st successful penalty kick in club history. He's now tied with Claudio Lopez for second-most (4) in club history.
• The goal was the Sierra Leone international's seventh this year.
• He is one of four players to have scored seven or more goals in each of the last three MLS season along with Chris Wondolowski, Landon Donovan and Alvaro Saborio. Great company.
• KC are 11-3-3 when leading or tied at halftime in 2012.
• It's only the second time that KC have lost when tied at the 75th minute. The team's record is 3-2-2 when tied with 15 minutes to play.
• Sporting are 2-5-0 when conceding the first goal.
• My favorite stat: Sporting Kansas City is 9-5-3 when wearing Sporting Blue uniforms.