That's about the best way I think I can describe my feelings about last night. I'd even tried to prepare myself for it, telling myself it wouldn't happen. Still didn't make me feel any better when the final whistle blew. KC bowed out of the playoffs at home for the first time since 1997 last night to the Houston Dynamo 2-0. Not the best of performances to put out in the most important game in the team's history (bigger than the 2000 cup because as James put it yesterday the media, city, etc. was watching us more last night than they ever had been). In the end, I think Peter Vermes got out coached by his counterpart Dominic Kinnear, probably one of the greatest single game coaches in MLS history. Vermes isn't the first coach that this has happened, won't be the last, but it still stings. Houston came in and beat KC playing much of the same game KC does. And they did it for the most part without their MVP, Brad Davis.
The game was extremely tight early on, neither team was given a lot of space. The first really good chance of the game came in the 17th minute when Calen Carr got played in behind KC's defense, but Jimmy Nielsen came up with a big save knocking Carr's shot away. The game continued to be tight as neither team could really get much going in the offensive third of the field. In the 36th minute Houston took what appeared to be a HUGE blow for them when Davis and Graham Zusi collided in the middle of the field. There was nothing malicious in the challenge, but Davis had to be subbed out at that point.
The injury though ended up not hurting them too much on set pieces, as early in the second half, Adam Moffat played a ball in to the back post where Jermaine Taylor put his header on net, Nielsen blocked the shot, but the rebound went right into the middle of the area, into the path of Andre Hainault who tapped the ball into the net to give the Dynamo the 1-0 lead. Almost immediately after the goal Houston almost doubled the lead and Corey Ashe got played in behind KC's defense. Ashe squared the ball for Luiz Camargo who had only Nielsen to beat, but his first touch was poor, allowing Matt Besler to recover incredibly well and make a great tackle, knocking the ball to Nielsen. The game continued to open up as KC almost equalized from a set piece themselves. Zusi played in a great ball to the back post where Besler was unmarked. But Besler's volley hit Kei Kamara who had made a similar run. Kamara turned and shot, the ball deflected off a Houston player and was saved by Tally Hall's leg. The rebound rolled around a bit before Hall covered it up. KC continued to throw numbers forward looking for an equalizer. Vermes threw on Davy Arnaud and both designated players, Jeferson and Omar Bravo looking for the equalizer. With all the numbers forward though KC was left with fewer defenders in the back and in the 86th, Houston exploited it and got a second. Camargo played a nice through ball for Carlo Costly who out raced Aurelien Collin and slotted the ball in off the post past Nielsen to seal the Eastern Conference for Houston. KC tried to find something late on, but the Dynamo were able to kill the final few minutes and return to MLS Cup.
WIZARDS Man of the Match - Jimmy Nielsen - Without Nielsen this game gets worse early on with that Carr chance. A good game by the Dane, there wasn't much he could have really done on either one of Houston's goals.
Player ratings - Nielsen 7, Myers 5, Collin 5, Besler 6, Sinovic 5, Cesar 5, Zusi 5, Espinoza 5, Sapong 5, Bunbury 4, Kamara 4. Subs Arnaud 5, Jeferson 4, Bravo NR