HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) – With the regular season out of the way, the Dynamo now look forward to their first taste of the MLS Playoffs since 2013, and face a club that they’re very familiar with.
The Dynamo will face Sporting Kansas City in the Knockout Round of the MLS Playoffs, which will be the third time these two teams will play in a span of two weeks. Due to a postponed match because of Hurricane Harvey, the Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City met for two matches in one week that saw the Dynamo win at home and draw on the road.
In addition to the recent matches, the Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City renew a postseason rivalry that was as good as it could get in the early 2010’s. The clubs met in the playoffs for three straight years from 2011-2013. In 2013, Sporting Kansas City eliminated the Dynamo in the Eastern Conference Final, winning 2-1 on aggregate. Sporting would go on to win their second MLS Cup in club history a few weeks later. In 2012, the Dynamo defeated Sporting Kansas City, 2-1 on aggregate in the Eastern Conference Semifinal. In 2011, the Dynamo beat Sporting Kansas City, 2-0 in the one match Eastern Conference Final. The rivalry also saw a one match Western Conference Final in 2007 as the Dynamo won 2-0 on their way to their second straight MLS Cup.
After the 3-0 win against Chicago in the regular season finale, the Dynamo finished the season on a six match undefeated streak winning three of the last four.
Sporting Kansas City is trending in the opposite direction as they were winless in their last five matches, and haven’t scored more than one goal in all five.
Unlike the Dynamo, who have been out of the postseason since 2013, Sporting Kansas City has been a regular in the playoffs as they have qualified seven years in a row. The last three seasons have been disappointing for Sporting Kansas City as they have been eliminated in the Knockout Round the last three years.
Home field advantage is heavily coveted, especially for the one match knockout game. During the regular season, the Dynamo had the best home record in the Western Conference going 12-1-4 in their 17 matches in front of their home fans. On the road, Sporting Kansas City had the second fewest road wins (two) of any team in the MLS Playoffs.
Houston and Sporting Kansas City have contrasting styles. The Dynamo rode their attack to 57 goals (second in the West) to the playoffs, while Sporting Kansas City scored just 40 goals but their 29 goals allowed were the lowest in the league.
Both teams will be less than full strength. The Dynamo’s A.J. DeLaGarza, whose championship pedigree gave the Dynamo some prestige to a veteran backline, tore his ACL in the finale against Chicago and will be out the rest of the season. Phillippe Senderos is also questionable with a right adductor strain. For Sporting Kansas City, goalie Tim Melia continues to be sidelined with a right hamstring strain and will not be in action. Andrew Dykstra will again get the start in his place.
Listen to Thursday’s match beginning with an 8 p.m. prematch show on Sports Radio 610.