Calen Carr hadn't started since June 16 so he had a little something in the tank. Apparently that "little something" was two goals, which was a good thing for the Houston Dynamo, who needed both of those goals to defeat Sporting Kansas City, 2-1, on Wednesday at BBVA Compass Stadium.
A rematch of last year's Eastern Conference final, the match was chippy very early on and the referee didn't do much to crack down on the physical play. That didn't both Carr or Will Bruin. The latter ribbled through three would-be Sporting defenders before slipping the ball in for Carr, whose shot squeezed inside the post for the opening tally.
Sporting were able to get even from the penalty spot after Kei Kamara got free down the right and crossed for Jacob Peterson. Andre Hainault was caught behind Peterson and couldn't do much else besides drag the Sporting man down, which he did and the referee rightly pointed to the spot. Kamara then knocked home the penalty and the match was even.
Most thought that the match would be level at halftime and it was on the scoreboard, but not on the lineup sheet because Peterson Joseph picked up a red card in first half stoppage time. The Haitian recklessly went in on a slide tackle from behind on Carr. Joseph did try to pull out, but by then it was too late. It would be argued that the red card was harsh, but it wasn't ridiculous by any means and harsh or not, it was a really bad tackle from Joseph.
Up a man, Houston controlled the second half. Carr had a chance early in the half and Jimmy Nielsen had to push a deflected cross off of the post to keep Sporting even. The visitors were hanging on for dear life, but 11 minutes from time they couldn't hang on any longer.
Carr fed Brad Davis to open up Davis down the left. With plenty of space, Davis hit a low cross into a glut of Dynamo and Sporting defenders in front of goal. The ball found Carr, who was able to get the ball redirected towards goal and over the line for his second goal, which proved to be the winning goal for Houston against 10-man Kansas City.