The Houston Dynamo advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs after defeating Sporting Kansas City 1-0 in added extra time at BBVA Compass Stadium Thursday evening.
The Dynamo will host the Portland Timbers in the Western Conference Semifinals, presented by McDonald’s, at 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 30 at BBVA Compass Stadium (TICKETS).
Forward Alberth Elis scored the game’s lone goal in the fourth minute of extra time, coolly finishing from the top of the six-yard box. The goal was created by the work of forward Vicente Sánchez, who beat a Kansas City defender on the right flank, raced to the byline and pulled the ball back to an unmarked Elis.
Kansas City forward Dániel Sallói nearly equalized three minutes later, but Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric rose up to parry away his shot. Deric launched a quick Dynamo counterattack which ended with forward Romell Quioto blasting a shot that forced a save from Sporting goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra.
As Houston looked to close out the match, Deric was called upon to come up big several times in the second period of added extra time. He came up with a pair of saves in the 106th minute, first diving to his left to push a Graham Zusi shot wide, then cleanly catching another shot from distance to snuff out a Sporting chance. The Houston native finished with six saves in the match.
The Dynamo got off to a typically fast start at home, generating a shot from forward Erick Torres and a pair of corner kicks inside of the first three minutes, but were unable to seriously threaten Sporting goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra.
Sporting’s most dangerous chance of the first half came in the 39th minute when forward Gerso Fernandes raced down the left side and into the Dynamo penalty area for a clear chance at goal. Deric, who came up with a career-high nine saves the last time these sides met on Oct. 15, quickly got on the ground to save Blessing’s low left-footed shot.
For the second week in a row, the Dynamo were forced to use a substitute in the first half to replace a defender when Leonardo had to leave the match with an announced left leg injury in the 41st minute. He was replaced by defender Jalil Anibaba, who took up the right back position, sliding Adolfo Machado back to his usual right center back spot and moving Philippe Senderos to left center back.
The Dynamo created their most dangerous chance of the game in the 59th minute when midfielder Alex worked free on the left flank and whipped in a cross that Torres snapped toward goal with a headed shot. Dykstra was well positioned to make the save, however.
Houston Dynamo (13-10-11; 1-0-0) 1-0 Sporting Kansas City (12-9-13; 0-1-0)
Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs – Knockout Round
Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017 – BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston, Texas
HOU: Alberth Elis 1 (Vicente Sánchez 1) 94
Houston Dynamo: Tyler Deric; Adolfo Machado, Philippe Senderos, Leonardo (Jalil Anibaba 41), DaMarcus Beasley; Juan David Cabezas, Ricardo Clark © (Vicente Sánchez 86), Tomás Martínez; Alberth Elis, Erick Torres (Romell Quioto 73), Alex (Eric Alexander 91)
Unused Substitutes: Joe Willis, Boniek García, Mauro Manotas
Total shots: 20 (Erick Torres and Romell Quioto tied with 4); Shots on goal: 5 (Erick Torres 2); Fouls: 21 (Ricardo Clark 6); Offside: 4 (Romell Quioto 2); Corner kicks: 6 (Tomas Martinez 3); Saves: 6 (Tyler Deric 6)
Sporting Kansas City: Andrew Dykstra; Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Matt Besler ©, Jimmy Medranda; Roger Espinoza (Saad Abdul-Salaam 115), Ilie Sanchez, Benny Feilhaber (Kévin Oliveira 101); Gerso Fernandes (Dániel Sallói 51), Diego Rubio, Latif Blessing
Unused Substitutes: Adrián Zendejas, Cristian Lobato, Soni Mustivar, Erik Palmer-Brown
Total shots: 22 (Benny Feilhaber and Dániel Sallói tied with 4); Shots on goal: 6 (Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza, Gerso Fernandes, Latif Blessing and Dániel Sallói tied with 1); Fouls: 16 (Latif Blessing 4); Offside: 3 (Ike Opara, Matt Besler and Diego Rubio tied with 1); Corner kicks: 9 (Graham Zusi); Saves: 4 (Andrew Dykstra 4)
HOU: Philippe Senderos (caution; foul) 14
HOU: Ricardo Clark (caution; foul) 21
SKC: Graham Zusi (caution; other) 45+1
SKC: Ilie Sanchez (caution; foul) 53
SKC: Roger Espinoza (caution; foul) 65
HOU: Adolfo Machado (caution; foul) 76
SKC: Diego Rubio (caution; foul) 89
HOU: Romell Quioto (caution; time wasting) 109
Referee: Mark Geiger
Assistant Referee 1: Joe Fletcher
Assistant Referee 2: Mike Rottersman
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
VAR: Juan Guzman Jr.