By BRYAN ROBISON
Sporting Kansas City may have entered Sunday’s Eastern Conference semifinal opener against the Houston Dynamo as the No. 1 seed in the East, but the Dynamo entered with two facts squarely in their favor. The Dynamo hadn’t lost at BBVA Compass Stadium all year, and they hadn’t lost to Sporting Kansas City in any of this year’s three meetings.
Both streaks continued, with Adam Moffatt and Will Bruin delivering vital goals to help the Dynamo post a 2-0 first-leg victory in their Eastern Conference playoff semifinal series at BBVA Compass Stadium on Sunday.
Moffatt delivered a beautiful 30-yard blast to open the scoring and put Sporting KC on the back-foot, but it was Bruin’s late insurance goal that could ultimately help sink Kansas City when the team’s meet in Wednesday night’s second leg at Livestrong Sporting Park.
Sporting Kansas City’s offense at times looked as if it was still conducting pre-game warmups during the match, as they struggled with their passing throughout the game. An offense featuring Kei Kamara and Graham Zusi, which helped lead the team to the top of the conference, failed to make an impact on Houston’s defense.
Houston made sure to take advantage of Sporting KC’s struggles, as Dominic Kinnear subbed in forwards Brian Ching and Cam Weaver late in the match to put even more pressure going into the second leg. Bruin also continued his strong start to the 2012 playoffs, netting his third goal in two matches, following a brace at Chicago on Wednesday. Bruin finished off an impressive sequence started by Calen Carr to put the pressure squarely on the top seed in the East.
For Sporting Kansas City, Wednesday will mark a welcome return home, after a dismal opening round game. As they return to Livestrong Sporting Park down two goals, they will look to become the third team in playoff history to return from a multiple goal deficit at home since Major League Soccer switched to home-and-home series in 2003.
What did you think of the match? Can Sporting KC come back down two goals? What do you make of Houston’s continued success in the playoffs?
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