Monday, November 18, 2013

Playoff Week

This weekend MLS returns to action. After taking this past weekend off for the international break, Kansas City, Houston, Salt Lake, and Portland will all get back to action this weekend with a trip to MLS Cup on the line.

Sporting and Houston get things kicked off on Saturday at Sporting Park, where a "fire marshal" capacity crowd will be on hand. The game sold out in about 24 hours, and the standing room only capacity was hit a week before the game. Two hundred plus of those people will be Dynamo fans who will travel to KC for the third straight year hoping to leave with a win.

The two teams played to a 0-0 draw that wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement for the beautiful game. And don't expect that to change much in the second leg. Expect it to be tight and be decided by a single goal. In the 24 games that KC and Houston have played in all competitions since San Jose moved to Houston, 18 games have been a draw or decided by a single goal. The way that Peter Vermes and Dom Kinnear coach, expect the same Saturday.

The way these two teams have played against each other isn't entirely new. You can look back in 2007 in the Western Conference finals when Nate Jaqua gave Jack Jewsbury a forearm in the middle of the field. Then there was Eddie Robinson clocking Tyson Wahl in the face. More recently, you have Aurelien Collin getting two Houston players sent off last year.

Expect similar play on Saturday, and unlike the first leg where not a single card was handed out, I wouldn't be surprised to see a sending off with Baldomero Toledo refereeing the game.

Three of the last four trips to the playoffs, KC has been eliminated at the hands of the Dynamo (2007, 2011, 2012. 2008 vs Columbus the lone exception). The rivalry, in the playoffs at least, has been distinctly one sided, but I'd expect another chapter to be added on Saturday.

No comments: