Sporting KC will have to face two of its most hated foes in a matter of four days as they head to Houston to take on the Dynamo in a Eastern Conference clash.
About the teams
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City has been an inconsistent team this year. They've had games where they've looked good and games where they've looked really bad. We saw both sides of the spectrum on their previous home stand, where they only gained three points from three matches. Coming off of a heartbreaking, last-minute loss to Seattle at home, Sporting will either be highly motivated or emotionally drained coming into this match.
Like Sporting, Houston will be finishing up a stretch where they're playing three matches in eight days. They, however, are rolling coming into this match. They're unbeaten in five straight matches and now have two straight wins. Their last win was a 4-0 drubbing of DC United on Wednesday. The Dynamo are currently sitting pretty at second in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of Sporting and with a game in hand.
Players to watch
Sporting KC- Jacob Peterson
Jacob Peterson is slowly but surely returning to form after his injury. He hasn't been able to play the full 90 yet this year, but he has seen an increase in his minutes ever since he came back. He will be an interesting player to watch as Vermes keeps stretching his allowed time until he is fully recovered.
Houston Dynamo- Will Bruin
Bruin was an unstoppable man against DC United this past Wednesday. He was involved in all four goals, scoring two of them and assisting the other two. The Dynamo forward will look to capitalize on that momentum and it will be up to the Sporting KC defense to try and stop him.
How they will win
Sporting KC will have to put every thought out of their minds and just play soccer. They cannot be thinking of the last two playoff games and they cannot be thinking of the Seattle match. With a clear mind, Sporting will need to hunker down on the back line and prevent Houston from scoring. If they can frustrate the high flying Dynamo early, they can sneak one by later in the match.
Houston is tired, but so is Sporting KC. They've recently been having troubles with their back line due to injury and perplexing play. Houston will have to keep the pressure on the Sporting back line the entire match. If they can do that, the tired legs of the Sporting defense may give up a couple of goals.
Sporting KC: Nielsen, Myers, Besler, Opara, Sinovic, Nagamura, Rosell, Feilhaber, Kamara, Bieler, Peterson
Houston: Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Adam Moffat - Boniek Garcia, Brad Davis, Andrew Driver - Brian Ching, Will Bruin
Sporting Kansas City 1-1 Houston Dynamo
This will be a match between two tired teams who will frustrate the heck out of each other in the midfield. Sporting will score early, Houston will respond and then both teams will collapse late under their own exhaustion.