After seven meetings in the past two years, the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City are no strangers on the pitch. So with the Eastern Conference semifinal series 2-0 in Houston’s favor, the men in orange would expect nothing less on Wednesday than the high-octane attack that they are accustomed to from their baby blue opponents.
“They are going to come flying at us,” said Dynamo forward Will Bruin. “They are going to attack and send numbers forward because they have to get at least two goals.”
Following the Dynamo's 2-0 win on Sunday, Sporting KC will need at least two goals if they hope to keep their season alive. If after 90 minutes, the home side has a two-goal lead, the teams will play a 30-minute overtime followed by penalty kicks, if necessary. Sporting head coach Peter Vermes insisted after Sunday’s first leg that his team would not change tactics heading into Wednesday’s second leg.
"Have you ever seen us play differently, home or away?" Vermes said to reporters after the match.
The numbers back up his argument as no club in MLS has attempted more shots over the past two years than Sporting. In fact, Sporting has attempted 842 shots over the past two seasons, 84 more than the next highest club and 96 more than the Dynamo. And while Houston has seen Sporting’s high-octane attack before, come Wednesday the Dynamo are expecting the kitchen sink and more as the regular season Eastern Conference champs look to keep their dream of an MLS Cup alive.
“They are a team that knows they are capable of coming back from a two-goal deficit,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall. “They are going to take a few more chances than in an average game. I think they are a smart team and we need to be organized to combat them.”
For the Dynamo to earn a result on Wednesday and advance to their second consecutive Eastern Conference final, they will need to put forth the same team-wide effort that has gotten them to this point and has MLS pundits predicting them to represent the Eastern Conference on December 1. Over the past seven games in all competitions, the Dynamo have allowed more than one goal only once and are 4-1-2 during that span.
“I don’t think we can sit back by any means because they are a good team going forward,” said Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis. “If we sit back, we are just inviting them to put pressure on us.
“We have to have the same mentality and the same game plan, to not make it easy on them to play or get into a rhythm,” Davis added. “The guys have been playing great putting everything they have into these games and it has to stay the same the rest of the way through.”