In what was one of the coldest MLS games on record, the second leg of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City was much better than the first leg, which had finished in a 0-0 draw. The diving and crappy refereeing was still there, but this time both teams played an exciting game of soccer that saw more movement of the ball. There was more back and forth action through out the field , though few shots were taken by either team.
Before the game started the Dynamo were without Ricardo Clark and Will Bruin, both of whom had suffered injuries in the first leg two weeks ago. The team came out in a 4-3-3 that saw Brad Davis back at midfield with Boniek Garcia, Cam Weaver and Andrew Driver starting up top.
The Dynamo jumped out to an early lead thanks to the counter attack. Brad Davis headed the ball to Boniek Garcia, who sent it into the net for the lead. The team held the momentum early but, eleven minutes later Bobby Boswell cleared the ball right to C.J. Sapong, who buried it past Tally Hall and brought the game level at 1-1. These were the first miscues in the back line that would end up costing them the game.
Clark's absence - combined with a larger field of play than at BBVA - was apparent as SKC repeatedly cut through the midfield throughout the game. Neither team had an overwhelming number of shots: SKC attemped 7 to the Dynamo's 5 in the first half but both teams missed out on several great chances. Cam Weaver sent the ball flying before getting it settled and missed turned out to have been a crucial second goal while Kansas City missed a couple of easy tap ins- the second coming in the closing minutes of the first half when Sapong tripped over the ball and went down appearing to injure his elbow.
In the second half, KC appeared to hold the edge as they continued to take advantage of the weak midfield. The defense broke down again as Benny Feilhaber was allowed to dribble the ball past them and passed it to Dom Dwyer. Both defenders failed to try and clear the ball and he easily sent it into the back of the net and sent the Dynamo down 2-1. Despite signs of life after Omar Cummings and Servando Carrasco were subbed on the Dynamo weren't able to find that second goal.
Three Eastern Conference Finals in three years is a lot to ask of a team. But we did, and this team worked hard to try and get to a third straight MLS Cup - but it wasn't to be for 2013.
That being said...2014, how you doin'?