Houston Dynamo vs Sporting Kansas City: Behind Enemy Lines with The Daily Wiz

Jamie Squire

Ahead of Sunday's clash between Eastern Conference rivals Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo, we caught up with The Daily Wiz to get the behind the scenes details on SKC and what to expect from this week's opponent.

The Dynamo will look to win their third straight game when they take on Sporting Kansas City tomorrow at BBVA Compass Stadium. Houston is unbeaten in their last five games, but got big road victories over the LA Galaxy and D.C. United this week. In their third game in eight days, Houston will host SKC on the one year anniversary of the opening of BBVA Compass Stadium.

Sporting Kansas City are sitting second in the Eastern Conference with 17 points from their first 11 matches, but have dropped three of their last four. Houston sits at the top of the conference after getting 20 points from their first 10 games.

I caught up with Ben from The Daily Wiz, SB Nation's SKC blog, to get the lowdown on the upcoming match.

Questions for The Daily Wiz:

Kei Kamara is back with Sporting Kansas City after a loan spell in Norwich City. How will his return impact SKC, who are already sitting in a nice spot in the Eastern Conference?

It'll give us a new threat on the wing. Sporting has not had a natural winger in the starting lineup since opening day. Now, CJ Sapong and Graham Zusi have done admirably, but the addition of Kamara and the return of Jacob Peterson gives us more options for better crosses and assists. The jury is still out on which lineup SKC will choose due to Graham Zusi's great success, but the options Kamara's return gives us is exponential.

With Sporting Kansas City getting ousted by Houston in the last two MLS Cup Playoffs, is coming into BBVA Compass Stadium and breaking the streak a top priority for the club?

As a fan, yes. As someone who writes about the team, even more, no. It would be great to go into Houston and break the streak while getting revenge on the past two playoff matches, but realistically Sporting cannot play with that on their minds. If they do that, they will be sloppier, especially Collin on the back line, and it will hurt them more than it will help. So while I hope Sporting indeed breaks the streak, I hope that's not what the players are thinking about.

Speaking of the last two playoffs, for the fans that don't know what SKC did in the offseason, could you fill us in an any major changes from 2012 to 2013 that you feel could push SKC over the top and help them get to the MLS Cup Final?

We got a pure goal scorer in Claudio Bieler as our biggest signing. Last year Sporting took the most shots by far in the league, but finished 12th in actual goals scored. We needed someone who could put one in the net under pressure in the box. With six goals already, Bieler has done admirably. We also picked up Benny Feilhaber to be a creative playmaker in the midfield. He has also done well in some matches, other matches he has looked lost. We also picked up depth at different positions to give us good options for all three competitions we're competing in.

Questions for Dynamo Theory:

Sporting fans feel that a rivalry is starting to develop between the two clubs because of the last two playoff series. Is the sentiment the same in Houston?

Without a doubt, I think most fans see a budding rivalry with SKC. I'm not sure it's on the same level as FC Dallas just because of the history of rivalry across all sports between Dallas and Houston, but this matchup is always more competitive. SKC is an exciting team to watch, and I think they bring out the best in the Dynamo.

Shortly before the start of the season, Dynamo Theory took an in depth look from the fan's perspective on the rivalry, talking with many Sporting fans as well as Dynamo fans. Most agree this has the potential to become something big. So naturally, fans are always looking forward to when Sporting comes to town.

Houston will be culminating 3 games in 8 days schedule. Will the lineup change due to that?

I definitely think we'll see a mixture of players on Sunday. Not only are the Dynamo playing their third match in eight days, but Houston also has a number of players who are questionable for the match. I expect Dominic Kinnear to use a mix of players to give the Dynamo a boost of energy. Giles Barnes is likely out, so the offense will rest on Will Bruin's shoulders. Houston's depth will surely be tested in the final game of this tough stretch.

At this point in the season, how big is this match in terms of how each team will finish at the end of the season?

The season is still extremely early and speaking for Houston, the start to the year has been their best in franchise history, so I don't think the match is a must win or anything like that. Regardless of this weekend's match, I think both of these teams will be Eastern Conference contenders for a third straight year.

Score Prediction: Both Ben and I chose a 1-1 draw.

What are your thoughts on the match and your lineup and score predictions?

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