Game Thread: Dynamo at Sporting Kansas City (2011 Playoffs - Eastern Conference Final)

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Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City
LIVESTRONG Sporting Park - Kansas City, KS - 4:30pm CT
2011 MLS Playoffs - Eastern Conference Final

 

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

FOX Soccer (ENG TV)
FOX Deportes (SPN TV)
KPRC 950 (ENG Radio)
La Ranchera 850 (SPN Radio)

PREVIEW:
The Houston Dynamo will try to win their third conference championship in six seasons on Sunday afternoon when they take on Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference final. Houston reached the final with a 3-1 aggregate win over the Philadelphia Union, while Kansas City dominated defending champion Colorado 4-0. The Dynamo are appearing in their fourth conference final, with wins in 2006 and 2007. Houston and Kansas City met in the 2007 Western Conference championship game, a 2-0 Dynamo win.

REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): C.J. Morgante; JAR (opposite): Steven Taylor; 4th: Chris Penso

 

INJURY REPORT (as of Friday, November 4):

HOUSTON DYNAMO - OUT: FW Cam Weaver (R hip)

SPORTING KANSAS CITY - OUT: DF Daneil Cyrus (L foot fracture); MF Luke Sassano (R knee sprain); MF Peterson Joseph (R knee surgery); MF Konrad Warzycha (R knee surgery); PROBABLE: FW Omar Bravo (R abductor strain); MF Milos Stojcev (R ankle sprain)

Dynamo Starting XI & Bench:

Lineup-card_new_medium

Sporting KC Starting XI:

Nielsen (c); Myers, Collin, Besler, Sinovic; Cesar, Espinoza, Zusi; Kamara, Bunbury, Sapong

 

GAME NOTES:

Sunday's match will be the fourth competitive meeting of the season between Houston and Kansas City, with Sporting leading the 2011 series 2-0-1. The Dynamo maintain a 6-4-4 edge in the all-time series in all competitions, including a win in the teams' only previous playoff meeting. Houston had a nine-game unbeaten streak against Kansas City snapped on Sept. 22, 2010.

With the semifinal series sweep, Houston extended its unbeaten streak to eight games (6-0-2) and is now 9-2-4 in the last 15 games, dating back to a 3-1 win over Seattle on July 30. The unbeaten streak is the club's longest since an 11-game regular-season unbeaten streak from April 19-June 20, 2009.

The Dynamo have won three consecutive road games for the second time in team history and the first time since 2007. Houston won at FC Dallas (Sept. 24), at Portland (Oct. 14), and at Philadelphia (Oct. 30) to improve its road record on the year to 3-6-9. During the regular season, the Dynamo ranked second in the league in road ties with nine and tied for the fourth fewest road losses of any team with six. The Dynamo are 1-3-2 all-time in road playoff games.
Houston midfielder Brad Davis is expected to become the first player in club history to appear in his 200th career Dynamo game in all competitions (out of 248). Davis also needs 28 minutes to set the club record for minutes played in all competitions. Davis has played 15,312 minutes, while former goalkeeper Pat Onstad played 15,339 minutes in his Houston career.

Brad Davis assisted on two of the Dynamo's three goals against Philadelphia, giving him five assists for his postseason career. After notching assists in four consecutive games, Davis has a career-high 18 assists in 2011, adding a 19th in a September friendly against Monterrey.

Houston defender Corey Ashe became the 13th player in Dynamo history to make 100 starts for the club in all competitions in Thursday's game.

Since establishing eight regulars of 11 starters on September 17, the Dynamo have gone 6-0-1 while playing four home games and three away games, outscoring opponents 12-4. Prior to that stretch, Houston was 8-9-12 with a -2 goal differential in MLS play.

NOTES ON PROJECTED HOUSTON STARTERS:

GK Tally Hall - made 8 saves in 1-1 tie vs. KC on 7/16; made 10 saves in playoff opener at PHI on 10/30
RB Andre Hainault - had goal disallowed in 2009 Western Conference final at LA
CB Bobby Boswell - played 90 mins. in last 14 outings; missed 9/10 match at KC due to suspension
CB Geoff Cameron - played 90 mins. in 35 of 36 MLS games; missed 5/4 match vs. COL due to injury
LB Corey Ashe - made 100th career start in all competitions vs. PHI on 11/3; suffered 7 fouls in series
RM Danny Cruz - Houston is 8-2-5 when he starts in 2011; suffered 5 fouls in semifinal series
CM Luiz Camargo - team is 6-0-2 with 4 goals allowed from open play in his 8 starts
CM Adam Moffat - played 90 mins. in last 14 outings; missed 8/20 match vs. RSL due to suspension
LM Brad Davis - assists in 4 straight games; set to play 200th career Dynamo game in all competitions
FW Calen Carr - more than doubled career playoff minutes from 134 to 299 with 2 starts, 1 goal vs. PHI
FW Brian Ching - has scored in five of his last six postseasons, including game-winning goal vs. PHI

HOUSTON VS. KANSAS CITY -- PART II:

The lineups from the 2007 Western Conference championship game between the clubs included Brian Ching, Brad Davis, Eddie Robinson, and current assistant coach Wade Barrett for Houston, with Corey Ashe available as a substitute. Kansas City's lineup included Davy Arnaud, Michael Harrington, and current assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin, with Eric Kronberg available as a substitute.

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