Peter Vermes’s Sporting Kansas City are off to the 2013 MLS Cup Final after defeating the Houston Dynamo 2-1 to win the 2013 Eastern Conference Final by the same scoreline at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. Sporting Kansas City will now face either the Portland Timbers or Real Salt Lake and will host the final due to the superior regular season record.
Here are six things we learned from Saturday’s second leg between Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo.
1. Oscar Boniek Garcia opens goal scoring for Houston
It took just a few minutes for the first blows to take place. In the third minute of play, Oscar Boniek Garcia opened up the scoring for the Houston Dynamo thanks to a headed pass from Brad Davis. Garcia’s right-footed shot hit the bottom left corner to make it 1-0 Houston.
2. Sporting fire back with C.J. Sapong
Houston would be their own worst enemy several minutes later. A blunder in the 14th minute defensively by the Dynamo back line saw C.J. Sapong take advantage and finish in the 14th minute and make it 1-1. That would be the margin going into the half.
Sporting Kansas City Houston Dynamo
7 Attempts on Goal 5
1 Shots on Target 1
3 Shots off Target 4
3 Blocked Shots 0
2 Corner Kicks 0
8 Fouls 8
7 Open Play Crosses 4
0 Offsides 0
0 First Yellow Cards 1
0 Second Yellow Cards 0
0 Red Cards 0
28 Duels Won 37
43% Duels Won % 56%
223 Total Pass 172
82% Passing Accuracy % 68%
56.5% Possession 43.5%
3. Slow start to second half
Early on in the second half, both teams were aiming to break the deadlock and maneuver their way out of the ball possession battle that carried over from the first half. Benny Feilhaber had the best chance of the first 15 minutes in the 57th for Sporting, with a volley that went over and out. A minute later, Garcia’s chance for a brace missed wide. A Graham Zusi corner in the 60th minute was collected by Tally Hall.
4. Here comes Dom Dwyer
In the 63rd minute, thanks to a brilliant sequence from Zusi, Paulo Nagamura and Feilhaber, Dominic Dwyer was able to break open and give Sporting a 2-1 lead. A blunder in the 67th minute by Tally Hall nearly cost the Dynamo a third goal but it ended up in a goal kick. With Sporting holding serve, Omar Cummings was brough in the 70th minute to add a spark to the Dynamo attack.
5. Kansas City close off the match in blue-collar fashion
The last 15 minutes would see Houston try to push through and get some chances with Sporting countering. Dwyer nearly got a brace in the 79th minute but his header was collected by Hall. Jimmy Nielsen nearly committed a howler in the 80th minute but Aurelien Collin was there to cover for him and prevent Corey Ashe to poke through.
Ike Opara was brought in at the 84th minute mark for fresh legs and an intent to protect their one-goal lead. Eric Brunner was cautioned in the 85th minute for a challenge on Sapong. In a surprise, at least according to the View, Claudio Bieler was brought in late as a substitute rather than as a starter in the 94th minute. One final longball chance in the 95th minute for Houston went array, and that was that.
6. Sporting dominate a number of key match statistics
At the end of the match, Sporting Kansas City dominated a number of match statistics, including passing accuracy, attempts on goal, shots on target and possession. The stats below are a clear indicator of how the contest went for Sporting and this should help them in the MLS Cup Final in December.
|Sporting Kansas City||Houston Dynamo|
|12||Attempts on Goal||8|
|3||Shots on Target||2|
|6||Shots off Target||6|
|17||Open Play Crosses||16|
|0||First Yellow Cards||2|
|0||Second Yellow Cards||0|
|44%||Duels Won %||55%|
|80%||Passing Accuracy %||72%|