And we are just about off for the second leg of the playoffs between SportingKC and the Houston Dynamo. Sporting returns home after a 2-0 dubbing from the Dynamo where Sporting looked like a team just starting the season off and the Dynamo looking like, well a team that typically gives Sporting problems especially when Sporting is not at home. Sporting will be looking to pull out all the stops, hopefully to include stopping the ball from actually going in their own goal, as if they lose this game they are done for the year and in what most would consider a terrible end. Most people including just about everybody, sorry to be vague, are expecting Sporting to roll through this round of the playoffs and are highly expected to make it to the finals. Well if Sporting plays any remotely close to the way they played the last game or even last two games for that matter than this could be a short game. Sporting knows this and will be looking to put on an epic show for everybody, unfortunately not on television, just what they can do.
I fully expect Sporting to come out and control this game much like they have most of the year and firmly believe that they can win this game but how much can they win by and will it be enough to see them advance. I believe that it would be wise of Sporting to try and win this game out right even in extra time as I believe if this game goes into penalty kicks that the result might not be favorable. I've seen Nielsen in a penalty shootout but I have yet to see Tally Hall in one and although Jimmy is considered one of the best goalkeepers in the league that is considered more during regular matches and doesn't calculate shootouts as shootouts normaly don't happen and I'm afraid that Hall might have the slight edge at stopping penalty shots. But in a shootout you must also take the possible shooters into consideration in which case I firmly believe that Sporting and the Dynamo are probably just about level. This will be a very interesting matchup to say the least and I for one am ready for it to get started so we can see how it ends. Sadly I won't be able to actually be at the game tonight as I have a meeting to attend, but should be able to still watch it or at least listen to Callum Williams make the call on WHB 810.
Well I would like to say that this result was a completely unexpected but I believe a lot of people would agree with me as this result not being a surprise. Why you might ask is theis first leg game not a surprise? Because it's freaking Houston Dynamo! Combine that with the fact that Houston has yet to lose at home at all this year/since opening their new stadium. Luckily for Sporting and their worst performance by far this year they have one more chance at their own stadium. Sporting in all their dominate play through out the season played this match up much like it wasn't the first game of the playoffs but more like a team that won't make the playoffs in the first game of the season. For as bad as the NY Red Bulls vs DC United game was and both teams scoring on their own goals in a 1-1 draw Sporting's 2-0 loss to the Dynamo was by far the worst game of the four games of the Conference Semi-Finals so far. Sporting couldn't seem to combine any sort of rhythm and Houston took huge advantage of that. By all accounts (the proverbial on paper) Sporting should of dominated this game much like they normally have this whole season but that is why they play the game. One of the things that irratates me the most about this game is that it was on NBC and Sporting put up the terrible performance they did and made the Dynamo look like a competitive team playing against a recreational team for most of the game.
Sporting has just one more chance to get some sort of a result and possibly move onto the next round. This round of the playoffs each game is played at each other's home stadiums with the higher seeded team getting the second home game as if the aggregate score is tied after the second match the two teams will play extra time and then to penalty kicks if needed. It has already been well talked about amongst Sporting fans that several years ago the then Kansas City Wizards losing their first game 2-0 were able to come back home and win 3-0 and move on in the playoffs. Well I really hope that people are not expecting the same result. Would it be awesome? It absolutely would, but to expect the same result would be a bonkers idea. This is not that time any more and Sporting is going to have to bring their A+ game from the start whistle till the game is decided whether is be in regular time, extra time or even penalty kicks.
Well we are finally to the playoffs for Sporting and they have to start off with the team that knocked them out last year from possibly going to the MLS Cup in the Houston Dynamo. The Dynamo have definitely had their ups and downs this year but they seemed to be able to turn it back on in time for the playoffs but have they possibly exhausted themselves by already playing one match against the Fire that saw the Dynamo controlling most of the match until close to the end where the Dynamo had to fight off the Fire's dying efforts that almost worked. This match was also just played a few days ago so the Dynamo have only had a few days rest while Sporting had ten days of rest, which you could argue that a team could be getting too much rest.
These two teams always seem to play each other very closely even though the Dynamo seem to always have Sporting's number even when Sporting is at home. Add that on top of this game isn't just on National Television but it is on NBC. Not just NBC Sports (formerly versus) but NBC a channel that everybody gets so anybody that turns on the TV to watch this first game is going to see Sporting taking on a team that have yet to lose at home, but Sporting was able to be the first team to go into Red bull arena and take down the New York team that had also yet to lose at home and late in the season. So with all that being said this game is sure to be a very interesting one to say the least although it may not be as interesting as the first leg of the DC United vs NY Red Bulls game.
I am not even going to even attempt to think of an outcome because really I think it is just too difficult to do when these two teams play each other and I'm nervous enough as it is for this series to be over and hopefully see Sporting advance to the Conference Finals again this year against either DC United or NY Red Bulls which again either team will cause Sporting to continue their top play if they even want to have a chance at making it to the MLS Cup final this year and with any luck San Jose will get knocked out and Sporting will have a chance at hosting the MLS Cup right here in Kansas City this year, and on December 2nd which will be as cold as one could imagine.
Well I say they cruised but actually it was quite the difficult game for Sporting as they didn't really know how to play or probably plan against the Union as Philadelphia had nothing to play for besides possibly winning the game and possibly forcing Sporting to be in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference and 3rd overall in the MLS. Sporting didn't exactly play a great game but were able to get the result they wanted against a Union team surprisingly had a decent game for themselves and could of easily won with the types of shots they were taking but luckily Sporting has one of the top keepers in the league right now in Jimmy Nielsen. I say that Union was getting off some good shots, two of which bounced off goal post, but Sporting was forcing the Union keeper to make some really good saves that could of seen Sporting winning this game with two more goals.
Sporting got the result and finished top in the Eastern Conference for a second year in a row but they better tighten up their play because if Sporting plays the same way they did against the Union during the playoffs then they may not last very long regardless of how many saves Jimmy Nielsen can make. Espinoza should be back in the lineup though which is good especially if Nagamura is going to be out and that would mean that you have Zusi, Espinoza and most likely Cesar in the midfield which with the top three and back four should give any team fits all over the field even against a team like Houston who for some reason they give Sporting some of the biggest problems. Although so does Chicago and to an extent New York. The bad thing is that all those teams are in the Eastern Conference playoffs this year. This post season is sure to be an interesting one for sure.
Preview: #SportingKC poised to give fans a nice treat of winning division with a victory against the Union
Welcome to the last game of the regular season for all those Sporting KC fans out there. It has been an incredible season thus far and tonight will not be the last time we see Sporting this year as they have already made their way into the playoffs weeks ago. Sporting don't even have to have a win tonight in order to seal up the Eastern Conference and 2nd seed overall in the playoffs. As long as Sporting draws, which is what I easily see them going after tonight they will hold the top position and home field advantage throughout the playoffs and if San Jose can be knocked off then Sporting could be the team to beat in the MLS Cup. That is still a long road to haul though and will be very trying on them.
First Sporting does have to ensure that they don't lose tonight which this Philadelphia Union team could be looking to get some payback after being beat up the last couple times by Sporting. I foresee another Sporting draw to close out the regular season as the only thing Sporting really has to play for at this point is that top seed in the playoffs for the Eastern Conference. But knowing Sporting they could easily be looking to put on a show for the fans in this match up and could possibly be holding nothing back as Sporting won't be playing till November 7th for their first playoff match. The only thing the Union are really looking to play for is the upset role as if they could win then Sporting would fall to the 2nd position in the Eastern Conference and would not have the homefield advantage in the Conference Final come towards the end of November.
Regardless tonight should be a fun and entertaining match up for all to watch and enjoy.
Not to be mislead by the title but this will be the last meeting these two have for the regular season after battling already twice this season. It's been an interesting season to say the least and this final regular match up is sure to not be disappointing. Sporting has a chance to seal up the Eastern Conference with a victory and probably a few other things to happen, but they absolutely need to win thus pushing their unbeaten streak to 11 and further fighting for the Supporters shield that they are still technically in the fight for against the San Jose Earthquakes but San Jose needs to lose their last two games and Sporting has to win their last two as well in order to possibly get the supporters shield and the top overall seed in the playoffs. NY will do their best to ensure that Sporting doesn't win and further help themselves into making it into the playoffs.
Sporting has already guaranteed themselves a spot in the playoffs and the Red Bulls are more than likely going to make it into the playoffs as well and they stand a very good chance I believe of meeting each other again in the post season and that will truly be an or some epic matches to see.
I really think that this game will end in a draw or quite possibly and more likely in my opinion NY being at home will get the win quite possibly 2-1 and will give Sporting the focus they need to go into their last regular season match and into the playoffs and hopefully make a good run at the MLS Cup.
50/50 Ball: #SportingKC plays to a very lack luster draw against the Crew and possibly loses out on Supporters Shield
A bit of an odd game much like the last few that Sporting has played but we could possibly see this cecause it is very late in the season and they are somewhat chasing the San Jose Earthquakes although the Earthquakes have yet to lose a game of late either so I believe Sporting is just trying to do enough to stay on top of the eastern conference ans it has been working for them even while resting some of their players yet still pushing to get results. They probably thought they had the game won as it was the start of stoppage when the crew were able to get their equalizing goal much like they had the last couple games. Well that made for an interesting last couple of minutes as both teams wanted to try and get the three points for a win. For Sporting it would of been further domination in the eastern conference and for the crew it would of been one step closer to making it to another year of at least making it into the playoffs.
After this match up Sporting only has two more matches left. Neither of which will probably be very easy as the next match up will be against the New York Red Bulls again in New York and they will be looking for payback as Sporting gave the Red Bulls a good whooping in the last match up, even if the New York fans don't know how to spell but we won't hold that against them as I know I'm not the best writer.
I didn't get a chance to post my preview post but as I was thinking about it before I didn't post it I had a good feeling about this match up. Sure it is easier to say that I was thinking that now, but in all honesty I was thinking that Sporting had a good chance at winning this game. This entire match save about a 15 minute period Sporting just seemed to completely control much like they have most of the season. I say that there was a 15 minute period that they didn't look good because I believe that the Redbulls having just gone down 2-0 and were trying to do everything they possibly could to try and get something going before halftime. Sporting was able to hold off every attack that the Redbulls brought to them even though you could argue that they really should of scored, but Sporting could of possibly scored more as well. I'm not saying that the Redbull played terrible because they didn't. It just seemed like it was not their night and the final stat line showed the same thing. Sporting has to be careful though because they are scheduled to play the Redbulls one more time this season and again it will be in New York. It will be the second to last game and hopefully by then Sporting will have the Eastern Conference sealed up and be slotted in the top spot and possibly even in the top spot for the league and just trying to secure the Supporter's Shield.
Well this game went just about as expected with the exception that I really thought that Sporting wouldn't even be able to pull off the draw. Now being the Sporting fan that I am I was very glad to see Sporting get the draw even if it was at home. They went down early in the second half and due to Sporting's fight back and Houston not being very smart and trying everything they could to waste time Sporting pulled off just about quite literally a last second equalizer. Both teams played really well with a lot of back and forth with Sporting playing much like they have most of the season and getting more shots off even on goal. Sporting seemed to get more shots on goal then they normally get so that just goes to show how good Houston's goalkeeper is and one of the reasons why they are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. That doesn't go without saying that Sporting's goalkeeper didn't have a few good saves to include one incredible save in the first half that saw him take just about a point blank shot right into the stomach and hold onto it. It doesn't seem like that big of a deal for most people but myself being a person that typically plays goalkeeper that can be a very difficult save, not so much the initial save but the holding onto of the ball, and not just because he took the shot in the stomach but because so many times that impact of the ball to the stomach can see the ball bounce back out and allow the ball to possibly be shot again with the keeper not being in a good postition for the rebound.
I went to this game in a spectator aspect this time and so I did not stay for any of the press conferences but I would imagine that both coaches could not be happy with the way the offciating was for the entire match as I know I say several things that the officials just failed to call or not call. That seems to be a thing that has its moments. There are times that the officials can call really great games and then there are moments where they do terrible. The odd part is that it just isn't for one game or for one team, but it tends to be league wide and can carry for several games. Regardless the regular season is about to draw to a close and the officiating better get back on par.
For both Sporting and Houston there are just a handful of games left and the playoff race is still pretty much wide open. It will be interesting to see how the end result comes out. It appears that Sporting will be able to make it into the playoffs with ease but they have a difficult road ahead of them these last few games that could see their overall seeding change a bit.
This is sure to be an epic clash. Even if the game ends in a lopsided affair it will still be a game to watch minus all the goals. Both these teams are great teams with Sporting having a better season than Houston but you can never count the Dynamo out until its all over and it is still far from over. I am fully expecting Houston who is missing one of their key players to still be bringing lots and lots of pressure and this is sure to be a game that will have Sporting's defensive line fighting off attack after attack all night long. That can't go without saying though that Sporting won't be getting their own fair share of offensive moves down the field. I'm very interested to see what the stat lines will be after this game as it could be very high or very low. Luckily for Sporting the weather is not suppose to be in Houston's favor and Sporting can possibly use that to their advantage and if not at least get a draw at home sneak out with another three much needed points to stay in the hunt for the Supporter's Shield against the San Jose Earthquakes who continue to have a stellar season as well. This game like many for Sporting this year will probably come down the wire and I'm hoping for at least a draw, but much like a lot of games lately I am very nervous to see the end result.