After a scoreless first match, this MLS Conference Final is delicately poised ahead of the return leg in Kansas. The first game was uninspiring to say the least, with neither of these emerging rivals able to impose themselves within a frantic atmosphere.
Programming note: For viewers in the United States, Sporting Kansas City versus Houston Dynamo is being shown exclusively on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and NBC Sports Live Extra beginning at 7:30pm ET
In truth, both sides looked a little jaded having to dealt with some pretty packed schedules. So hopefully the international break will see both Sporting and the Dynamo refreshed and readied for this one. It should certainly be a much more attacking affair, and both sides will be confident of securing the win needed to qualify for the December showpiece.
Houston could welcome back key players Ricardo Clark and Will Bruin ahead of this one. With those two coming back into the side, and Houston’s recent hold over Sporting in playoff contests, Dominic Kinnear’s side might feel as though they have the edge over their conference final opponents. They’ve been there and done it recently too; the Dynamo will take their place in a third consecutive MLS Final with a win here.
On the flipside, Sporting will be desperate to get one over Houston and as the home side, they have to take the initiative and go at their opponents. A win here will see Kansas take their place in their first final since 2000; falling in the post-season again, especially to Houston would be heartbreaking.
With no away goals rule in the MLS playoffs, Saturday’s clash will be a set to be a straight shoot-out between two of the best teams in the MLS this season. Drama guaranteed.
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