2017 MLS Cup Playoffs: Houston Dynamo vs Sporting Kansas City
BBVA Compass Stadium – Thursday, October 26 – 21:30 ET (02:30 BST)
Match Odds: Houston 23/20 – Draw 9/4 – Sporting KC 23/10
Houston Dynamo vs Sporting Kansas City: Preview
Houston Dynamo take on Sporting Kansas City for the third time in two weeks on Thursday night. But this time, it’s in the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs. This has all the makings of a classic Knockout Round clash, but only one side can make it through to the Western Conference semifinals.
The Dynamo leapfrogged SKC on Decision Day and earned home-field advantage for Thursday’s game as a result. They come into the playoffs in good form and are favourites to advance.
Houston have improved drastically from a year ago. They are unbeaten in six games – drawing at SKC and beating them 2-1 at home in that time – and only lost once at home during the regular season.
They rounded off the regular season with a 3-0 home win over Chicago Fire. That result sets them up perfectly, but they did lose two players to injury. AJ DeLaGarza has been ruled out the playoffs but Romell Quioto could return for Thursday’s game, but his status isn’t yet known.
Sporting Kansas City will have to try and get the job done without Tim Melia. The goalkeeper has probably been their best player this season but hasn’t played in almost a month as a result of a hamstring injury.
The visitors don’t have any kind of promising form to take into this game. They haven’t won in five and only picked up two roads wins all season. Peter Vermes’ men need to put in one hell of a performance if they’re to make the Conference Semifinals.
As mentioned, this will be the third meeting between the two sides in two weeks. Sporting KC won at Houston in the US Open Cup back in June on the way to their win in the competition. But they failed to win either of the two regular season clashes.
Houston Dynamo vs Sporting Kansas City: Team News
Houston will hope Romell Quioto is passed fit to play after leaving Sunday’s game with an injury. AJ DeLaGarza will miss the playoffs after tearing his ACL. George Malki and Memo Rodriguez remain sidelined, while Philippe Senderos is listed as ‘questionable’.
Sporting KC will be without Tim Melia once again. That means Andrew Dykstra will start in goal. Cameron Porter is the only other injury absence for the visitors
Houston Dynamo vs Sporting Kansas City: Key Points
Houston Dynamo’s last five: D/W/W/D/W
Sporting Kansas City’s last five: L/D/L/D/L
Key Stat: Houston are unbeaten in eight regular season games against Sporting KC. They’ve won four and drawn four of those games, outscoring them 16-10.
Key Player: Romell Quioto – Houston will be desperate for the Honduran attacker to be fit. They’ve averaged 0.4 more points-per-game with him, than without him. If he plays, they’ll be the threat they have been so often this season.
Houston Dynamo vs Sporting Kansas City: Prediction
Houston Dynamo 2-0 Sporting Kansas City – Form might not matter as much as usual during knockout football. But in the case of Thursday’s game, it’s hard to see how Sporting Kansas City can turn their fortunes around. They haven’t looked good in recent weeks. They’ve failed to beat Houston home or away. And they are struggling for goals. The Dynamo are strong at home and are riding high. They should make it through to the Conference Semifinals without too much trouble.