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Sporting Kansas City solidified its place in the Supporters' Shield race with a hard-fought 0-0 draw against the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The result pulls Sporting KC within one point of MLS leaders New York with two games left in the regular season.
Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen tied a season-high with four saves in the match, including three in the game's first eight minutes.
The reigning MLS goalkeeper of the year used his feet to stop Houston Dynamo forward Will Bruin from close range in the second and sixth minutes. Defender Corey Ashe attempted to beat Nielsen with a long-range strike in the seventh minute but the Danish goalkeeper tipped the shot over the crossbar.
Sporting KC's best opportunity came in the 12th minute when Chance Myers played a long ball into the box. Ike Opara, who earned another start with Matt Besler away with the U.S. Men's National Team, headed the ball to Dom Dwyer in the middle of the penalty box. Dwyer brought the ball down on his chest but his side-volley sailed over the target.
The Dynamo had an opportunity to take the lead before halftime on a set piece. Brad Davis curled the ball over the wall but Aurelien Collin alertly stayed on the goal line and headed away the attempt.
Bruin tested Nielsen again in the second half, but the Sporting KC captain stood his ground and used his body to block the forward's shot attempt in the 68th minute.
Wednesday's shutout was the 12th of the season for Nielsen, tying the Philadelphia Union's Zac MacMath for most in MLS. Sporting KC improved its league-best road record to 7-5-4 and remained one of two teams in MLS with a positive road goal differential (+2).
Sporting KC has the weekend off as it prepares for its regular season home finale on Friday, Oct. 18, against D.C. United. The nationally televised match kicks off at 7 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network. Limited tickets are available and may be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com.
- Story from Sporting KC