Dynamo beat Sporting KC to book MLS Cup trip

HoustonWinsEast (Getty)

By GARRETT DAVEY

When Brad Davis was carried off the field late in the first half of Sunday's Eastern Conference Final, it felt like the Houston Dynamo's chances of going to the MLS Cup Final were being carried off with him.

The Dynamo didn't see it that way, and instead of folding without their team MVP (and arguably the MLS MVP), Houston stood strong defensively and capitalized on two second-half chances to knock off Sporting Kansas City.

Goals from Andre Hainault and Carlo Costly, coupled with some outstanding team defending, helped Houston post a 2-0 victory at LiveStrong Sporting Park on Sunday.

“I’m happy for the guys first and foremost,” Houston coach Dom Kinnear said. “I think three months ago a lot of people didn’t really take us seriously, and this is definitely a big statement to everyone that did that things can happen when things go well for you.”

Kinnear did a masterful job adjusting his squad after losing Davis to injury. Every move he made paid off, from inserting defender Jermaine Taylor, to bringing on Costly as a second-half sub to help put the match out of reach.

Hainault opened the scoring in the 53rd minute, capitalizing on a poorly defended free kick.  Adam Moffat sent the long free kick into the box, Jermaine Taylor kept it alive and Hainault found himself with nothing to do but tap the ball in for a goal.

“All I know is it went back post,” Hainault said.  “Jermaine did well, stuck with it, put it across goal and I found it.”

The second dynamo goal came from the run of play in the 87th minute.  Luis Carmargo put a perfect ball in behind the Sporting defense for Carlo Costly who blew by Aurelien Collin to finish calmly against only the keeper.  Collin was caught napping on the goal as the Sporting defense was pushed far up the field in search of an equalizer.

In the first half, Houston looked the better team for large stretches, winning the midfield battle and having the better chances on goal.  The loss of Davis to a quad injury looked like an opportunity for Kansas City to capitalize on the absence of one of Houston’s top players.  Instead, it was the Dynamo who continued to control the game.

“It was a big blow,” Kinnear said of Davis’ injury.  “He’s a big part of what we do in set pieces and in the run of play, but the move ended up working out for us because I thought Kei Kamara was having a good first half and I thought putting Jermaine (Taylor) over there would hopefully quiet that down.”

Part of Houston’s success came from capitalizing on Sporting’s disorganization, which Peter Vermes attributed to youthful exuberance.  “In the first half we got too much into this run and gun game,” Vermes said.  “We wanted to play a little bit more disciplined in our game.  Recognize the moments when we could go counter and recognize the moments we needed to build the game up and keep possession and I thought we were just too direct in the first half.”

Houston’s win came on the back of an excellent defensive display and a commanding performance from Dynamo keeper Tally Hall.  “It’s hard to lose a game when you don’t get scored on and recently I believe the defensive unit has been rock solid,” Hall said of the defensive performance.

After the first goal, Houston were well organized in putting men behind the ball and waiting to hit Kansas City on the counter.

“You go 1-0 up in an Eastern conference final like that it’s really easy to sit back and we did,” Hainault said of his teams strategy, “But then we got another chance right after, we didn’t get it but we stayed calm and stuck with it. 

"Carlos came on and got the second and we continued to do the little things.  The little things will bring you a reward in the end.”

It was a great season for Sporting, who couldn’t have imagined playing for the Eastern conference championship after the first ten weeks.  Houston awaits the winner of the Western conference championship between Los Angeles and Salt Lake.  The MLS Cup final is November 20 at the Home Depot Center in LA.

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40 Responses to Dynamo beat Sporting KC to book MLS Cup trip

  1. RB says:

    This result wasn’t as predictable as NYRB going to Dallas and coming away with a win, but almost. Congratulations to Houston. Good luck winning one more on the road!

  2. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    Really thought SKC was going to win this one but hats off to HD. They earned it. I don’t think either LA or RSL want to see them in the final. That said the winner of the Cup is either LA or HD if RSL win.

  3. Pepe says:

    Dom smiled. This is a special moment.

  4. 3vil l33t says:

    Dale Dynamo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Chris says:

    I would’ve preferred watch SKC in the finals…

  6. Dimidri says:

    I never truly appreciated the amount of fans Houston has been getting at Robertson recently with a good but not great, solid but not flashy product on the field. Once they move into their new stadium next year that is supposed to be even better than Livestrong but downtown, look out.

  7. Marcus says:

    I don’t know if i’m the only one, but i thought that was an absolutely horrible game of soccer…i think the ball spent more time in the air and ricocheting off of players than it did on players’ feet. The tension and energy in the game made it a bit more bearable, but skillful soccer this was not today…

  8. marco says:

    Bunbery, Sapong and Kamara were completely shut down.
    Never got behind the back four. Susi had no one to play to.

  9. Tim says:

    Yeah all those long balls to no one are sure exciting. How many shots on goal did they have again?

  10. Duck says:

    Any Houston fans going to be at the final? I got my tickets a couple of weeks ago and will be in the upper deck.

  11. Kishan Jeter says:

    As a 100% Dynamo fan I admittingly told a friend that I thought Kansas City would win but that the game was really going to be to close to call so I told him not to bet on the game. I said that if I were to bet that I’d bet on Houston cause that’s where my heart is but that statistically Kansas might advance. I’m glad Houston won. Also, my friend bet on Houston cause he knows my heart knows a winner when I see one. Now, he’s flying me out to California for the final from his winnings. Go Dynamo!

  12. hogatroge says:

    Both teams had 4 SOG, and Houston squandered more open looks at goal… I don’t think that stat’s gonna prove your point.

  13. hogatroge says:

    I’m hoping the combo of new stadium and now CCL will make Houston open their tight pockets and bring in a few players with some flair.

  14. hogatroge says:

    Considering it, against all fiscal common sense.

  15. Snare says:

    There was a great shot of KC fans flipping of Costly after he scored the game. I thought it was pretty funny

  16. hogatroge says:

    LA, Seattle, RSL and Houston in the CCL next year. Not a bad group. Not bad at all.

  17. SD says:

    did anyone see the camera shot of the SKC fan giving costly the finger while celebrating his goal…passionate fan….

    not a houston fan but you could see their experience would see them through…..

  18. Brent McD says:

    I will be driving up from San Diego — hopefully with a couple other Dynamo fans. I assume there will be an away supporters section

  19. T says:

    MLS is awarding money for teams who make the Champions league, like in Europe.

  20. CT says:

    It was both a man and a woman with middle fingers outstretched. And if you were a lip reader you would know that they were not satisfied with simply letting their fingers do the talking.

    I know how they are feeling; I was in Robertson a few years ago when the Red Bulls came to town and won 3-0 with Dane Richards torching Wade Barrett over and over again. It was enough to send Barrett to the coaches bench.

    Go Dynamo!!

  21. Rowsdower says:

    What a game! Dale Dynamo!

  22. Rowsdower says:

    Also…. everybody keep underestimating the Dynamo please

  23. Scott A says:

    LA or RSL as MLS champions then. I kid, Dynamo fans. You should all thank the naysayers for making the cosmic forces of the universe put the reverse into motion.

  24. boyton says:

    I saw that! Some young “lady” in the first row.

  25. KCB says:

    Congrats to Houston from an SKC supporter. To plain out fought us tonight and used their experience to their advantage. Excited for the near future of my Wizards. See ya next year. Good Luck Dynamo in the final.

  26. PD says:

    Tremendous match… Atmosphere was as good as any european venue. congrats to MLS for a fitting semi. Onward and upward!

  27. Mike in Austin says:

    KC crowd was great. Fun game to watch even if it was a bit sloppy. Houston was the better team on the night but can they press their luck and take the cup?

    One thing, did anyone else notice that the MLS Commish didn’t seem to know the cup was in 2 weeks (he said see you (Houston) next week in LA)? Just a bit funny to me.

    Anyway, hope Houston plays a similar style in a couple weeks as it will make for a fun game.

  28. Pepe says:

    Prediction: Dom Kinnear will become the Alex Ferguson of MLS. Thoughts?

  29. Ryan says:

    3 things I thought about the game since I was there in person

    1. Houston showex up to play and so did their supporters whom I was stuck next too

    2. SKC could not get that final pass/finish but there seemed to be great build up

    3. I thought the ref wasnt being the most consistant with his calls and their was a fair amount of diving by both teams

  30. theraccoun says:

    that’s a hell of a friend right there

  31. Joamiq says:

    No Brad Davis for the final… as an MLS fan, this is disappointing

  32. As a 100% Dynamo fan I admittingly told a friend that I thought Kansas City would win but that the game was really going to be to close to call so I told him not to bet on the game. I said that if I were to bet that I’d bet on Houston cause that’s where my heart is but that statistically Kansas might advance. I’m glad Houston won. Also, my friend bet on Houston cause he knows my heart knows a winner when I see one. Now, he’s flying me out to California for the final from his winnings.

  33. DC Josh says:

    Pretty damn impressive performance by Houston. They dominated KC. I doubt they can repeat that performance next weekend, especially without their best player.

  34. hogatroge says:

    Keep it classy KC!

  35. marco says:

    I believe Cameron and Boswell will shut down Keane, so someone else for Galaxy will need to score. Carr will be able to get behind Galaxy FB’s, so Ching will get some 1v1 opportunities in the middle. Galaxy 2-1. Toss-up if Davis plays.

  36. hogatroge says:

    It’s a definite shame, but at least MVP is decided before the Cup Match.

  37. hogatroge says:

    Cameron’s had a chip on his shoulder since the All-Star game when he underestimated Berbatov and got pushed down trying to make a soft challenge.

    That said, Keane has a pretty high soccer IQ, so I wouldn’t expect him to be completely “shut down.”

  38. coop says:

    It’s a cup final so technically there is no “away” section because it is supposed to be neutral ground. Just so happens to be in LA. MLS loves NY and LA…

  39. Mark J says:

    Those two SKC fans were just big team supporters. They wanted Costly to know no matter the score they still think their team is number 1!!!! (thanks Dand