MLS Playoffs: Sporting Kansas City-Houston Dynamo Leg 2 Preview, Prediction
Managers: (Wins-Draws-Losses, Seasons)
Sporting Kansas City: Peter Vermes (77-40-51, 5th Season)
Houston Dynamo: Dominic Kinnear (163-122-111, 10th Season)
25th Meeting All-Time
Houston Dynamo nine wins, Sporting Kansas City six wins, nine draws.
As the Eastern Conference Final Second Leg approaches between Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo, all that is on the mind of the Sporting fans is will this be the year that they finally get over the hump and defeat the Houston Dynamo in the postseason?
This is the third straight postseason with a series between these two Midwestern clubs, and in the previous two meetings Houston has disposed of SKC and gone on to MLS Cup Final each season. Can the third time be the charm for Sporting?
It can be, but they will need to capitalize more often on their opportunities. In the first leg Houston left back Corey Ashe was out due to yellow card accumulation leaving Graham Zusi up against Mike Chabala, who has not played very much this season. Even with that huge advantage in their favor SKC was not able to put any goals on the board. Now they are in a situation where the home fans will start getting more and more anxious if this match remains tied late. SKC could start to feel some of that anxiety and start to force more on the attack which could lead to silly mistakes and benefit Houston.
Houston Dynamo would have loved a result at home, but they will take this even scoreline. It has been two years since Houston has won in Kansas City, but they will feel very confident heading into this match knowing they have eliminated SKC in the last two seasons.
The return of Corey Ashe will be critical for Houston on the left side. He will most likely be matched up with Graham Zusi, and Ashe has success in shutting down the United States international. Even though this series is tied Houston will need to remain stout defensively; Sporting Kansas City took 32 shots with 10 on goal in the second leg match vs. New England Revolution on Nov. 6. Even though Kansas City is not behind I would still expect to see numbers like that in this match.
The match-up that interests me the most in this match will be the set piece battle between Aurelien Collin and Eric Brunner. Both of these big men will be offensive targets in the box and will likely mark the other on defensive set-piece opportunities. Whichever of these two wins their battle will lead their team to victory.
Sporting Kansas City Projected Lineup: 4-1-4-1
Chance Myers — Aurelien Collin — Matt Besler — Seth Sinovic
Graham Zusi — Paulo Nagamura — Benny Feihaber — Jacob Peterson
Houston Dynamo Project Lineup: 4-1-3-2
Kofi Sarkodie — Bobby Boswell — Eric Brunner — Corey Ashe
Oscar Boniek Garcia — Ricardo Clark — Brad Davis
Omar Cummings — Will Bruin
Sporting Kansas City hosts the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference Final Second Leg on Saturday, Nov. 23. The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET and can be seen nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
This is a two-game aggregate series; away goals are not used for the tiebreaker. If the series score is tied after these 90 minutes then the match will proceed into two 15 minute extra time periods. If it is still tied then the match will move forward to penalty kicks.
Leg 2 Prediction: Sporting Kansas City 0, Houston Dynamo 0 (Houston Dynamo wins on Penalties)
These two clubs have met each other so often in the last three seasons and they are so evenly matched; I have a difficult time trying to separate them. I think this one goes to penalties and Houston makes their third consecutive MLS Cup Final.