HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 03: Brian Ching #25 of the Houston Dynamo tries to settle the ball against the Philadelphia Union attacks in the second leg of the playoffs on November 3, 2011 at Robertson Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Dynamo won 1 to 0 and will play the Sporting K.C. Sunday, November 6, 2011. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
In roughly six and a half hours, the Dynamo will take the field at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park against Sporting Kansas City with a birth in the 2011 MLS Cup Final on the line. I doubt you can find many who believed the Dynamo would be in this position as late as August, but here they are and their run of form at the end of the regular season and in the playoffs clearly shows they deserve to be here. The best part, so does Sporting KC.
Sure that makes today's match even harder considering LSP is one of the toughest stadiums in the league to play in, but that old saying about wanting to be the best, you have to beat the best rings true. No matter what the result Sunday afternoon, fans can be proud of their team and excited about the future.
So how does Houston win today? Play a near perfect game, it's really that simple. The defense has been stellar for most of the past couple months, but the goals they've allowed have often been a combination of great play by their opponents and positional mistakes. Given how well both teams are playing, it's those kind of mistakes that could determine who wins today. Sporting KC has been known to make the same kind of mistakes at the back as well this season, so taking advantage of any opportunities is key as well.
Secondly, the Dynamo need to neutralize the dynamic SKC attack by controlling the game in the midfield. Houston can't afford to let SKC control the flow of play and pound away at the defense for 90 minutes. The play of Moffat, Davis, Camargo and whomever plays on the left will make a huge difference in whether the Dynamo are playing in LA in two weeks.
It's also probably not a bad thing that the Dynamo got run out of the building when they visited LSP back in September. Nothing helps give you an extra push in a big game that the memory of being embarrassed. The Dynamo will need to draw on all that motivation today to survive the Blue Hell and earn a chance to play for their third MLS Cup. It's possible, but it's going to be tough.
It's All Chalk In The Eastern Conference Final [SB Nation Soccer]
Dynamo hope to erase bitter memories in K.C. [Houston Chronicle]
Dynamo quietly confident heading to KC [MLS Soccer]
Costly says Dynamo have conviction [MLS Soccer]
Houston have enough to stop Kansas City [Fox Soccer]