(November 4, 2012) – Sporting Kansas City fell 2-0 at the Houston Dynamo in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium. Sporting Kansas City will host the decisive return leg at 8:00 p.m. CT on Wednesday at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in the two-game, aggregate goal series.
The first half began with no shortage of pressure from either side with action at both sides of the field. It was Houston’s physicality that paid off first with a goal in the 19th minute when Adam Moffat's half-volley from 30 yards out sailed past goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen, giving the home side the 1-0 advantage.
Sporting KC fired back in the 34th minute with a scoring chance of their own when C.J. Sapong collected the ball deep into the left corner and took an angled shot that was turned away by Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall.
Four minutes later, the Dynamo looked to make it two when Calen Carr found Will Bruin in the box, but Bruin couldn’t connect and the ball was cleared out of danger.
The second half commenced with much of the same fervor. Jacob Peterson created an excellent opportunity for the visitors in the 51st minute with a run into the box. He sent in a low cross, skimming through the goalmouth but had no teammates in position to capitalize.
Twenty minutes later, Graham Zusi proved to be a thorn to the Dynamo’s backline when he made a run down the left, cut to the middle and shot from the top of the box only to have the effort blocked at the last second.
The 75th minute saw Houston double their lead. Carr danced his way down the left side and played in a cross to Bruin. The second-year pro, who led the team with 12 goals in the regular season and scored twice in the Knockout Round on Wednesday, made a well-timed run inside the penalty area and sent a first-time shot with precision past Nielsen.
Sporting Kansas City nearly fought their way back four minutes later when a free kick from Zusi ended at the feet of Aurelien Collin, who was ruled offside after finding himself in a dangerous position in front of net.
The Dynamo came back again in the 89th minute looking to make it three when Cam Weaver burst forward and attempted a shot from 25 yards out that was wide of the right post.
Wednesday's match will be broadcast live on KSMO-TV, Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Gran D 1340 AM. A limited number of tickets are still available and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com or at LSP Box Offices.
For all the latest, visit the Playoff Guide on SportingKC.com.
Sporting Kansas City fell 2-0 to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday.
Sporting Kansas City is now 3-9-6 against the Houston Dynamo all-time (including playoffs) and has not won in Houston in their last eight trips.
The last time Sporting Kansas City beat Houston at home was in the two teams' inaugural meeting in April 2006.
The Dynamo are unbeaten in their last five matches against Sporting Kansas City, dating back to the 2011 Eastern Conference Championship.
Sporting Kansas City's starting lineup on Sunday had just one change from the 2011 Eastern Conference Championship versus the Houston Dynamo, with Jacob Peterson in for Teal Bunbury.
Peterson’s appearance on Sunday was his first appearance in the playoffs for Kansas City and his first in the postseason since his 2006 rookie season when he played for the Colorado Rapids.
Sporting Kansas City is 0-3-0 against the Houston Dynamo in MLS playoffs, falling by 2-0 scorelines in each of the three postseason meetings.
Sporting Kansas City was eliminated by the Dynamo in the 2007 Western Conference Championship and in last year's Eastern Conference Championship.
The Houston Dynamo is the only team that Sporting Kansas City has lost to during the 2012 season of the teams remaining as MLS Cup contenders.
The Houston Dynamo has not lost since the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium and has gone undefeated in their last 29 games played at home in all competition.
Sporting Kansas City is 2-13-3 all-time on the road during the playoffs.
Sporting Kansas City is 14-17-5 all-time in 36 all-time postseason appearances.
The last time Sporting Kansas City won a playoff game on the road was October 30, 2011. Prior to that win against the Colorado Rapids, Kansas City went 14 games without a win on the road during the playoffs.
Sporting KC has scored 17 goals in playoff matches on the road and conceded 35.
Sporting KC has now conceded 11 of those goals between the 16th and 30th minutes and 12 of those goals between the 61st and 75th minutes.
Adam Moffat converted a 30-yard strike in the 18th minute of Sunday’s match. It was his second career goal against Kansas City and first since May 3, 2008.
Will Bruin scored the second goal of the match on an assist from Calen Carr.
Carr had both goals in Houston’s 2-1 win against Sporting KC during the 2012 regular season on July 18.
Bruin now has three goals in the postseason after scoring twice in Houston's 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire on Wednesday in the Knockout Round.
Sporting KC and the Houston Dynamo met three times during the regular season in 2012. In addition to the 2-1 loss at BBVA Compass Stadium in July, the two clubs played to a scoreless draw on July 7 and a 1-1 draw most recently on September 14 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
Sporting Kansas City is 1-11-0 when allowing the first goal during the playoffs, making their winning percentage .083 when conceding the first goal in a postseason match.
Sporting Kansas City has allowed 50 goals all-time during the MLS playoffs.
In Sporting Kansas City’s two games at BBVA Compass Stadium this year, the Houston Dynamo have four shots on goals and four goals.
Sporting Kansas City made three substitutions in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals bringing on Dom Dwyer, Peterson Joseph and Bobby Convey.
The appearance marks Dwyer and Joseph’s first minutes played during the playoffs in their MLS careers.
Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo each had 13 shots in Sunday’s match.
Sporting Kansas City had just one shot on goal in the entire match.
Sporting Kansas City out-possessed the Houston Dynamo 52.3% to 47.7% and won 51% of the duels to the Dynamo’s 48%.
Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo each maintained a 65% passing accuracy.
Peter Vermes has a record of 2-2-0 while coaching Sporting Kansas City during the playoffs.
With the loss, Sporting Kansas City concludes a 12-match unbeaten streak, the longest in MLS this season.
The loss also snapped a six-game unbeaten streak on the road in MLS play. Prior to Sunday, the team's last loss on the road was against the Houston Dynamo on July 18.
Sporting Kansas City will host the Houston Dynamo at 8:00 p.m. CT on Wednesday, November 7 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
Sporting Kansas City will need to win by two or more goals against the Dynamo to level the aggregate score and remain alive in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
If the aggregate score is tied after 180 minutes of play, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by penalty kicks, if necessary.
Sunday's match was Sporting Kansas City's first in a 12-day span, dating back to the regular season finale on October 24.
Jimmy Nielsen has played in 5,400 straight minutes of MLS action (including playoffs).
Sporting Kansas City has gone 64 consecutive MLS matches (including playoffs) without conceding a goal on a corner kick, dating back to 5/21/11 at Seattle.
Sporting Kansas City is 24-3-8 all-time with the backline of Chance Myers, Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin starting in defense in all competition.
Two of those three losses have come against the Houston Dynamo in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Sunday was the first-ever MLS Cup Playoffs game at BBVA Compass Stadium, which opened earlier this year.
Houston are participating in the postseason for the sixth time in the team's seven seasons.
Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear's 12 playoff victories rank fourth most in MLS history.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY MANAGER PETER VERMES
General comments on the match…
I’d say the game started out okay, I think the heat got to us a little bit. Obviously them getting the first goal twenty minutes in changed the game a little bit. They did a very good job in the first half of every time we won the ball just basically getting numbers around us – either they won the ball, or they fouled us. It broke the rhythm of the game very quickly, and this way they always got eleven players behind the ball. Slowed the game down for them every time we won it. They did a good job on the counter, especially on the second one to get that. In the end, it’s halftime. We’re getting ready for the second half now.
On the 2-0 result…
It’d be better if it was 0-0 or 2-0 our way. I wouldn’t use that word. You know there has been many teams that have come back from this situation in the league. This club has done it, in 2000, being 1-0 down. Like I said, it’s halftime. We’re getting ready for our home game.
On Sporting Kansas City’s eleven-day break…
Listen we don’t have any excuses. It is what it is. We just get on with the next game. As far as I’m concerned, they played well. They got the result here at home. We’re going to go try to do the same at our place.
On the four-player pressure in the midfield…
They didn’t really have four, it was more two guys who played out wide who pinched in a little bit. If you look at the number of fouls in the middle of the field, when you look at where they took place cause every time we won the ball, even when our central defenders had the ball, there was a foul from behind and it broke the rhythm. It was something that we have to be aware of and hopefully we will deal better with it in the next game. It’s tactical play. They did a great job of it.
On Sporting KC’s tactics…
We didn’t play well enough. It was simple.
We don’t have just one guy that runs our team. We have 11 on the field, all of them play together. It is what it is. We all score, we all defend. It just an all around team. It’s not one guy running the show for us.
On the midfielders not being at the peak of their game…
As a team we weren’t functioning on all levels. At the end, we came up two short. Now we have to get ready for our half at home.
On defending Bruin…
It’s not an easy field to play on. It’s 68 yards wide, there’s a design to that. You play a tight field. It’s hard to get into overlapping. They played at home- they had to drive the game. Like I said, their guys played well. They got two goals. They got the first half
Overall on the past results in the series…
They’re a good team. We are a team that’s up and coming. We’re a team that’s trying to get better. They have a lot of experience. We’re still growing as a group.
They have a very distinct style. They play a certain way.
BBVA Compass Stadium | Houston, Texas
Weather: Clear and 81 degrees
Video: Match Highlights
Sporting Kansas City (0-1-0)
Houston Dynamo (2-0-0)
Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen©; Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Chance Myers; Julio Cesar, Roger Espinoza (Peterson Joseph 77), Graham Zusi; Kei Kamara, C.J. Sapong (Dom Dwyer 80), Jacob Peterson (Bobby Convey 90)
Subs not used: Eric Kronberg, Michael Harrington, Oriol Rosell, Lawrence Olum
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor (Andre Hainault 55), Corey Ashe; Boniek Garcia, Adam Moffat, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis©; Calen Carr (Brian Ching 81), Will Bruin (Cam Weaver 84)
Subs not used: Tyler Deric, Giles Barnes, Luiz Camargo, Macoumba Kandji
Shots on Goal
HOU — Calen Carr (caution; reckless foul) 27
KC — Kei Kamara (caution; reckless foul) 42
HOU — Kofi Sarkodie (caution; reckless foul) 73
HOU – Adam Moffatt 1 (Will Bruin 1) 18
HOU — Will Bruin 3 (Calen Carr 2) 75