DL_102617_playoffs_matchup

Audi MLS Cup Playoffs Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City

The Basics

Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City
Thursday, October 26, 2017, 8:30 p.m. CT
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas

Broadcast Information

KUBE 57 – 8:00 p.m. (CHANNEL LISTINGS)
UniMás – 8:30 p.m. (CHANNEL LISTINGS | WATCH IN ENGLISH)
MLS LIVE (FREE STREAM) – 8:30 p.m. (blackout restrictions apply)
610 AM/Radio.com app – 8:00 p.m.
Univision Radio 1010 AM – 8:00 p.m.

Preview

The Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City will meet for the third time in two weeks on Thursday, but this time, the stakes will be higher than ever.

Houston will host SKC in the Knockout Round of the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo clinched the fourth-seed in the West with a 3-0 home win against the Chicago Fire on Decision Day, while SKC slipped to fifth after their 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake.

It’ll be the latest in a long line of playoff matchups between the two clubs. Houston and SKC have had some serious postseason battles in recent years; SKC won the 2013 Eastern Conference Championship over Houston en route to lifting MLS Cup, while Houston got the best of SKC in 2011 and 2012 on their way to consecutive appearances in MLS Cup.

The Dynamo will enter the match as favorites to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals. Houston are in solid form heading into the postseason, posting a 3-0-3 record – including a 0-0 draw at SKC on Oct. 15 and a 2-1 home win vs. SKC on Oct. 11 – in their last six matches. They’ve been nearly unbeatable at home all year, finishing the regular season with a 12-1-4 record in Houston.

It’s been a different story for SKC. Peter Vermes’ squad have had a rough second half, recording just four wins since July 1 and going 0-3-2 in their final five matches of the regular season. They’ve had a rough tie on the road, too, posting a 2-8-7 record in 17 regular season matches away from Children’s Mercy Park.

They could also be without Tim Melia, a frontrunner for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and one of SKC’s best players all season. The veteran backstop went down with a hamstring injury on Oct. 7. He didn't make the 18 for Sunday's loss at RSL, and his status for the Knockout Round match is not yet known.

Of course, SKC aren’t alone in dealing with injuries to significant players. Houston lost a couple of their regulars in Sunday’s win against Chicago, with defender A.J. DeLaGarza and forward Romell Quioto both leaving the match due to injuries. Their status for this week is also not yet known.

Houston Dynamo

  • Suspended: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D George Malki (torn ACL), M Memo Rodriguez (right knee sprain), D A.J. DeLaGarza (torn ACL); QUESTIONABLE: D Philippe Senderos (right adductor strain)

Projected Starting Lineup
(4-2-3-1, left to right)
GK: Tyler Deric – DaMarcus Beasley, Leonardo, Adolfo Machado, Jalil Anibaba – Juan David Cabezas, Ricardo Clark – Romell Quioto, Alex, Alberth Elis – Mauro Manotas

Notes: Houston is unbeaten in eight consecutive MLS games against Sporting Kansas City (4W-4D). In two playoff games in Houston, Sporting has failed to score. Houston has only lost once in 12 MLS home playoff games (8W-3D in 90 minutes). They have kept seven clean sheets across those 12 matches. Houston averaged 1.7 points per game (7W-4L-3D) when Rommel Quioto started, and 1.3 points per game when he did not (6W-6L-8D).

Sporting Kansas City

  • Suspended: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: F Cameron Porter (broken fibula and ligament damage in right ankle), GK Tim Melia (right hamstring injury)

Projected Starting Lineup
(4-3-3, left to right)
GK: Andrew Dykstra – Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Ike Opara, Graham Zusi – Jimmy Medranda, Ilie, Roger Espinoza – Latif Blessing, Diego Rubio, Gerso Fernandes

Notes: Sporting finished the season winless in five consecutive games (3L-2D) and only scored three goals in those five matches. Graham Zusi’s assist for Ike Opara against Real Salt Lake was his eighth of the season, tied for his second-most in a MLS regular season since the start of 2010.

All-Time Series

Houston are unbeaten in their last eight regular season matches against Sporting KC, including a 0-0 draw between the sides at Children’s Mercy Park on Oct. 15 and a 2-1 win for the Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on Oct. 11.

This will be the fourth playoff meeting between Houston and SKC since 2011. The Dynamo won the first two matchups, beating SKC in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2011 and in the Eastern Conference Championship in 2012. Kansas City got a bit of revenge in 2013, when they topped the Dynamo in the Eastern Conference Championship series en route to winning MLS Cup.

  • Overall (regular season): Houston 10 wins (38 goals), Sporting KC 5 wins (31 goals), 11 draws
  • At Houston (regular season): Houston 6 wins (21 goals), Sporting KC 3 wins (15 goals), 5 draws

Referees

Referee: Mark Geiger
Assistant Referees: Joe Fletcher, Mike Rottersman
Fourth Official: Hilario Grajeda
VAR: Juan Guzman Jr.

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