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Houston Grinds Out Win in KC

It was a first Major League Soccer start and a first goal for Houston Dynamo center back Patrick Ianni against Kansas City Sunday. Before a tiny crowd of just over 8,000, two of MLS's top teams met in a match that looked destined for a 0-0 stalemate until the second-year defender rose to meet Stuart Holden's corner kick with an unstoppable header in the 81st minute. Ianni's goal have Houston a 1-0 win and solidified Houston's second-place standing in the Western Conference, now just three points behind FC Dallas with two games in hand.

"It was a great goal for us," Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear said. "We told the guys at halftime [that] with the heat and the way the game was being played, it might come down to some extra effort." Kansas City has certainly been one of the surprises of the season, but the team has struggled in the absence of star forward Eddie Johnson, earning just one point in its last three games. Following the U.S. national team's Gold Cup triumph, Johnson is off to the Copa America. The Wizards will also lose defensive stalwart Jimmy Conrad.

"It seemed appropriate that Ianni would score in a match marked by defensive lockdowns," the Houston Chronicle said. Ianni's start came in place of Eddie Robinson, who suffered a hamstring pull in a 2-1 win against Columbus a few weeks ago. It was also a great game for returning keeper Pat Onstad, just back from the Gold Cup with Canada. He was forced into making several good saves.

Read the whole story at Houston Chronicle »

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