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Nov 242013

1385266463002 USP MLS Eastern Conference Championship Houston D 007 MLS Cup bound Sporting KC wins Eastern Conference Final with 2 1 victory over Houston

Sporting Kansas City advanced to MLS Cup 2013 with a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night at Sporting Park. In front of 21,650 fans, the largest crowd in Sporting Park history, Sporting KC advanced to their third MLS Cup Final and first since 2004.

Sporting KC will host MLS Cup on Dec. 7 against the winner of Sunday night’s Western Conference Championship match between the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN. Real Salt Lake enters Sunday night’s second leg at JELD-Wen Field with a 4-2 lead in the series on aggregate.

In front of the 35th consecutive sell-out for an MLS match at Sporting Park, the Houston Dynamo momentarily silenced the record-setting crowd with a goal in the third minute. After the ball ping-ponged around the Sporting KC penalty box, Boniek Garcia received a Brad Davis header and maneuvered around a defender before putting a shot on target. The Honduran international’s attempt deflected off center back Matt Besler and trickled past Jimmy Nielsen to put the visitors ahead.

Sporting KC wasted little time responding. The equalizer nearly came in the eighth minute when Benny Feilhaber played a sublime long ball to a streaking Chance Myers. The veteran right back reached the ball before it crossed the endline and found Dom Dwyer inside the six-yard box. Dynamo center back Eric Brunner came sliding in and nicked the ball away before Dwyer could get a clean touch.

It was only six minutes later before Sporting KC found their equalizer. Feilhaber picked up the ball and attempted to zig-zag around two defenders, but Garcia stepped in to knock the ball away. Dynamo center back Bobby Boswell reached out his leg to clear the ball but kicked it directly into the path of C.J. Sapong, who one-timed his shot past an out-stretched Tally Hall. Sporting KC are now 17-0-2 in MLS competition when Sapong has scored.

Sporting KC continued to press in the second half and found the eventual game-winner in the 63rd minute with Feilhaber again in the thick of the action. The 28-year-old midfielder picked up a Graham Zusi pass, charged toward the Dynamo penalty box and slipped a ball between two defenders to Dom Dwyer. The second year striker calmly pushed the ball around a sliding Corey Ashe and slotted it to the near post past Hall.

Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made one save on the night and it came in the 80th minute. Kofi Sarkodie’s cross skipped through the Sporting KC penalty box and rolled out to an on-rushing Corey Ashe. Nielsen knocked down Ashe’s laser attempt and pounced on the loose ball before Ashe could reach the rebound.

Sporting KC held the Dynamo at bay for the final 10 minutes en route to their third MLS Cup appearance. Sporting Kansas City season ticket members that purchased the playoff package in the first week of October can secure their seat(s) through the Sporting KC Account Manager on All other season ticket members can take advantage of an exclusive pre-sale beginning at 12 p.m. CT on Tuesday and ending at 2 p.m. CT on Wednesday.

Tickets for MLS Cup 2013, while supplies last, will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. CT on Monday, Dec. 2. Sporting Park will become the first stadium to host the MLS All-Star Game, U.S. Men’s National Team and MLS Cup in the same calendar year.

Matthew Martin

Business manager for Global Football Today. I write the occasional article, but mostly stay behind the scenes.

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