The Houston Dynamo face off against Sporting Kansas City for the second time in five days as they travel to Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday. Houston managed a 2-1 win on Wednesday and are poised to get another result with the return of players from World Cup qualifying.
With a win, the Dynamo would secure a return to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs after a three year absence. A draw and other results could also secure a playoff berth, though head coach Wilmer Cabrera will tell you the team is already in playoff mode.
“The fact that we had to play on Wednesday and now we travel to play on Sunday – it’s just like playoffs,” said Cabrera. “It’s the best exercise for us, for the team, for the coaches, for the staff, for everyone as a club to understand that if we want to be in the playoffs, we have to play with that intensity and we cannot just get comfortable with anything.”
Now, both teams will have reinforcements by way of their international players returning from World Cup qualifiers. The Dynamo will welcome back DaMarcus Beasley, Adolfo Machado, Boniek García, Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto.
Elis and Quito both scored in Honduras’ 3-2 win over Mexico to secure a spot in the intercontinental playoff in November. The attacking duo also have also scored in the recent string of games for the Dynamo and hope to continue that on Sunday.
“It is very good for a player to be at a high level, to have good motivation,” said Quioto. “That helps you a lot personally and when you are with your club. Now we are here and it is now time to only think about the Dynamo, try to be in the playoffs here and try to achieve something with the team.”
Aside from the national team players, the team may also see the return of midfielder Juan David Cabezas. A finalist for MLS MVP and MLS Newcomer of the Year Award, Cabezas was left off the gameday roster on Wednesday in order to avoid risking further injury.
A loss Sunday would not completely tarnish any playoff hopes for the Dynamo, in fact the team could clinch a berth with a loss and help from other results and would still control their destiny going into the final weekend of the season. Still, the team does not want to leave anything to chance and would love to secure a ticket to the postseason by their own results.
“We need to get a result and get into the playoffs,” said A.J. DeLaGarza. “We clearly don’t want to wait till the last day or have to wait for other teams to get us into the playoffs so we know how important this game is and we’ll be up for it.”