The Houston Dynamo return to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2013 and their opponent is the same as the last one they faced: Sporting Kansas City. The two teams have built a rivalry over the years primarily built on their playoff encounters as two of the top teams in whatever conference they happen to be in at the time.
Take a run through the years of Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City playoff encounters:
2007 Western Conference Final
Houston Dynamo 2-0 Kansas City Wizards (Robertson Stadium)
On their way to their second consecutive MLS Cup, the Dynamo hosted the then-Wizards at Robertson Stadium. Houston finished second in the Western Conference, while Kansas City – still in the Eastern Conference – was a wild card finisher and took the fourth seed in the West.
Dynamo forward Nate Jaqua headed in a corner kick from Richard Mulrooney in the 35th minute, and Dwayne DeRosario sealed the win with a left-footed shot in the 81st minute to down Kansas City in front of a record crowd of 30,972. Playing for the Wizards that night was none other than current Dynamo assistant Davy Arnaud.
2011 Eastern Conference Final
Sporting Kansas City 0-2 Houston Dynamo (Livestrong Sporting Park)
Following a rebrand and a move to a new stadium, Kansas City began to transform into a power to be reckoned with, and the finished first in the Eastern Conference with the Dynamo right behind in second after a switch in conferences.
Sporting lost only twice all season in the inaugural year of their new stadium and were the favorites to advance to MLS Cup, but the Dynamo shut down that party despite losing MVP candidate Brad Davis with a torn quadriceps injury in the first half after a collision with Graham Zusi. Defender Jermaine Taylor headed a free kick from Adam Moffat off the post, but Andre Hainault followed the rebound for the lead in the 53rd minute. Forward Carlo Costly got in behind the Kansas City defense in the 87th minute and finished with a perfectly-placed shot to seal the victory and the upset.
2012 Eastern Conference Semifinal
Houston Dynamo 2-0 Sporting Kansas City (BBVA Compass Stadium)
Sporting Kansas City 1-0 Houston Dynamo (Livestrong Sporting Park)
Dynamo advance 2-1 on aggregate
The teams met again in 2012, as Sporting again claimed the top seed in the East – and a bye into the conference semifinals – while the Dynamo snuck in as the fifth and final seed and needed a road win in the Knockout Round to advance to the two-legged series.
Houston rode their momentum from the Knockout Round, however, and jumped to a shock 2-0 win at their new home behind a 35-yard rocket from Adam Moffat and a second-half breakaway from Will Bruin. Sporting piled on shot after shot from with their high-powered offense back in Kansas City, but goalkeeper Tally Hall allowed only a diving goal from Seth Sinovic as the defense dealt with 20 shots, 31 crosses and 71% possession from SKC to advance on aggregate en route to their second straight MLS Cup appearance.
2013 Eastern Conference Final
Houston Dynamo 0-0 Sporting Kansas City (BBVA Compass Stadium)
Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Houston Dynamo (Sporting Park)
Sporting KC advance 2-1 on aggregate
For the third year in a row the teams met in the playoffs, and it was third time a charm for Kansas City. Sporting come in as the second seed in the East, while the Dynamo finished fourth and again had play in the Knockout Round. Winning that match and an upset victory over Supporters’ Shield winners New York Red Bulls in the semifinals set up yet another classic showdown.
Dynamo defender Kofi Sarkodie found the back of the net in the first leg of the series in Houston, but had it waved off via the offside flag and a rough and tumble match finished scoreless. Boniek García scored in the third minute in the second leg at Kansas City, perhaps signaling more playoff heartbreak for Sporting, but C.J. Sapong and Dom Dwyer answered as Kansas City moved on to MLS Cup – which they won for the second time in club history.