Sporting KC will be heading to Houston on Sunday for the first leg off the Eastern Conference semifinals. Tonight in Chicago, the Houston Dynamo completely out played the Chicago Fire as they won 2-1 thanks to a pair of goals from Will Bruin. The Dynamo came out strong from the start and controlled the game. In the 12th minute the Dynamo took the lead off a Brad Davis corner that Bruin headed past Sean Johnson and into the net. A number of faults on that play, Jalil Anibaba slipped allowing Bruin an open header but blame also falls on Sean Johnson for not putting a man on the near post. If someone had been on the near post, that ball gets cleared away easily and the game is still scoreless. After the goal the Fire got into the game a little bit more as Alvaro Fernandez had a chance saved by Tally Hall. The Dynamo though looked comfortable with the lead and looked just as likely to score a second, especially on set pieces where the Fire looked extremely vulnerable.
Immediately after the half time break the Dynamo doubled their lead. The Dynamo won the ball shortly after kick off in the Fire's half of the field. Calen Carr played the ball to Bruin who beat Johnson and doubled the lead for the Dynamo. From that point the Dynamo sat back attempting to absorb pressure. They were doing pretty well until the addition of Dominic Oduro by the Dynamo. His speed caused fits for the Dynamo back line. As the game went on, Patrick Nyarko had a fantastic curling shot that was met by an equally good save by Hall to keep the Fire off the board.. The Fire did make the final 8 minutes interesting though with a goal by Alex. After a long ball ball over the top by Arne Friedrich found Nyarko. He played a nice through ball to Alex who beat Hall to give the Fire life. Unfortunately the Fire couldn't find another goal and crashed out of the playoffs.
Sporting will now play on the road against the Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. A place where the Dynamo have yet to lose, going 11-0-6 in league play this year. In KC's only trip there this year, Sporting lost 2-1 on a brace from Calen Carr, with Kei Kamara getting KC's lone goal from the penalty spot. This year, Sporting is 0-1-2 against the Dynamo, drawing the two games played at Livestrong Sporting Park. Sporting has struggled against the Dynamo ever since they came into the league, winning only a handful of games against Houston. Dominic Kinnear has been a thorn in Peter Vermes' side for a very long time. Kinnear just plain knows how to coach, especially in the playoffs. His teams lock things down and take care of business once it gets down to the knock out rounds. It's going to be tough for KC to get a result on the road against the Dynamo, it's going to be even tougher to overturn a deficit at home should they lose the first leg. There's no room for error at this point.
But I also think that Sporting will want a chance to overturn last year's disappointment in the Eastern Conference finals by getting another shot at Houston. Well they've got that chance, now time to take care of business.