Sporting Kansas City were the hot team heading into their Eastern Conference final against the Houston Dynamo and they had the match at their home, Livestrong Sporting Park, where a packed house was awaiting them. Then Houston's MVP candidate Brad Davis went down with an injury and it seemed like Sporting would have no problem booking their spot in the MLS Cup final. Sporting failed to show any cohesion or competent attack though and Houston took advantage, scoring on a set piece then adding a late goal to ice it as they shocked Sporting by winning 2-0 in Kansas City to book their spot in the MLS Cup final.
From the start, Kansas City controlled possession. Spurred on by a loud home crowd, they took the ball early and didn't give it up, but for all of their possession they were unable to create chances. Peter Vermes' decision to leaves Omar Bravo on the bench proved to be a bad one as the front line trio of Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury and C.J. Sapong failed to create any chances. Their speed didn't mean much with the Dynamo falling so deep and Sporting couldn't create a thing.
In the 39th minute, Davis went down though and in most people's opinion, Houston had no chance anymore. The midfielder lunged for a loose ball and immediately grabbed his right leg. After being tended to by the training staff, Davis hopped off the field without putting any weight on his leg before going straight to the dressing room. When he came back out, he was on crutches.
As the second haf started, the Dynamo looked out of options in the attack without Davis. Then they got a free kick in the 53rd minute and Adam Moffatt did his best Davis impression, hitting a great ball to the back post that Jermaine Taylor was able to head on goal. Jimmy Nielsen was there to make a good save on it, but the rebound fell to Andre Hainault to knock home and the Dynamo were in front.
Amazingly, Vermes didn't think any changes had to be made. He stuck with his ineffective and idealess team, watching them flounder around until the 75th minute before making a change. Even more amazingly, it took until the 85th minute for him to bring Omar Bravo on, a man who they sorely needed from the opening minute, but Carlos Costly made sure Bravo's entrance didn't matter.
With Sporting pushing for an equalizer, the Dynamo caught them with too many men forward in the 87th minute. Luiz Camargo jumped on a ball and quickly hit a gorgeous through ball into the path of a streaking Costly. He was in all alone on Nielsen and slotted the ball into the net, sealing this one and sending the Dynamo to the MLS Cup final.
For more on the two teams, check out Sporting KC blog The Daily Wiz and Houston Dynamo blog Dynamo Theory. For more on this match-up, the rest of the MLS playoffs and the entire world of soccer, check out SB Nation Soccer.