By DAN KARELL
For the second time in the 2013/2014 CONCACAF Champions League, Sporting Kansas City proved their mettle on the road.
Playing in Honduras against famed club Olimpia CD on Tuesday evening, Sporting KC took a 2-0 victory thanks to a brace from 21-year-old Soony Saad. The win puts the MLS side in pole position to win Group 2, with six points from two games and two home games to come. Also in CCL action on Tuesday, the Houston Dynamo defeated Panamanian side Arabe Unido, 2-1, with a two-goal performance from reserve forward Cam Weaver leading the Dynamo.
Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes decided to put out a nearly full first-team lineup, with only the injured Kei Kamara and the healthy scratches Matt Besler and Jimmy Nielsen not making the starting lineup. The decision clearly helped the visitors as they looked comfortable in possession early in the match.
In the 28th minute, designated player Claudio Bieler played teammate Graham Zusi a pass, and the U.S. Men’s National Team star played Saad into the box, who finished with his left foot to give Sporting KC the lead. Olimpia winger Carlos Mejia nearly leveled the scoreline around the hour mark, but his shot from the right side of the box went wide left.
Saad put the match away in the 69th minute after Sporting KC substitute Dom Dwyer was taken down in the box, leading to a penalty kick. The Michigan-native took his penalty kick well, sending it towards the left upper 90 and in, despite Olimpia and Honduras National Team goalkeeper Noel Valladares getting a hand to it.
At BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, the Dynamo used a rare goal-scoring performance from Cam Weaver to take down Arabe Unido, 2-1.
The Dynamo were in a poor run of form, having played to a scoreless draw a week earlier in Trinidad and Tobago and then losing, 5-0, to the Montreal Impact in MLS on Saturday. However, Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear’s decision to play a stronger side paid dividends by the end of the match.
Early in the match, Arabe Unido took a surprising lead. 19-year-old Panamanian youth international Abdiel Arroyo earned a penalty for his side when Dynamo defender Mike Chabala was whistled for a shirt pull in the box. Arroyo, in the 8th minute, froze Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall to take a 1-0 lead.
Within the next ten minutes, the Dynamo’s Warren Creavalle and Arabe Unido’s Humberto Ward had chances on goal, with Hall making a terrific 1-on-1 safe with Ward advancing. In the 23rd minute, the Dynamo would take advantage of a chance to tie the match as Weaver smashed home off a beautiful cross from Dynamo left back Corey Ashe.
With the match beginning to lose rhythm due to the large amount of fouls being shown, Weaver again used his height and physical stature to put himself in a position to score, heading home in the 75th minute to give his side a lead.
Hall saved the day for the Dynamo again in the 82nd minute, denying Arabe Unido forward Orlando Rodriguez on a breakaway.