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Dynamo, SKC ready for crucial second leg

Kansas City, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - A spot in the MLS Cup final is on the line on Saturday as the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City square off in the second leg of the Eastern Conference finals at Sporting Park.

Both teams suffered first-leg defeats in the semifinal round before rallying for spectacular victories in the second leg to reach the conference final round.

In the first leg of the tie on Nov. 9, both clubs fought hard for 90 minutes at BBVA Compass Stadium, but played to a scoreless draw which set up an all- or-nothing second leg.

Houston's best opportunity came late in the half when forward Will Bruin came charging down the field and decided to have a strike on goal from about 40 yards out that just grazed the crossbar on its way into the stands.

Sporting didn't fare much better over the duration of the match after outlasting New England on Wednesday in the semifinals. The visitors best opportunity came in the 65th minute as defender Aurelien Collin got free for a header on goal off a corner kick, but it went just over the bar.

The scoreless draw between the sides was typical of two evenly-matches sides and Dynamo players expect an equally tight affair on Saturday.

"We talked about it before we played them here at home, what it was going to be like, and it was exactly that. So I don't see why it'll change on Saturday," said Houston captain Brad Davis.

"The coaches have the same mentality that they instill in their players: it's a group that fight and scrap for every ball and don't take days off, that's the way we are, that's the way they are, so we tend to clash. They tend to be very physical games, that's fine with us," Davis continued.

The teams have met nine times since the start of last season and last year's Eastern Conference semifinal first leg -- a 2-0 Dynamo victory -- was the only occasion either side won with a margin of more than one goal. The four games between the clubs this season have produced two scoreless draws and only three goals.

Sporting will be looking to exorcise some demons in front of their home fans as Houston has been responsible for Sporting's playoff exit in each of the last two postseasons.

Kansas City has won just once in the last five meetings between the teams at Sporting Park, but head coach Peter Vermes praised his side's effort in Houston.

"I thought we did one aspect of what we wanted to do, which is that we didn't want to give up any goals (in Houston)," Vermes said. "I thought that was an important aspect of the game. That wasn't an easy game to play in and we got a result. Now, it doesn't mean anything, now it's just a final home game."

Sporting is also hoping to get some injury relief as midfielders Lawrence Olum and Peterson Joseph should be available for selection. Olum suffered a fractured fibula in the semifinals, while Joseph has not been on the training pitch in two weeks.

SKC also has a bit of a historical advantage. In the 46 all-time two-leg series in MLS history, the teams that have hosted the second leg have advanced 25 times, while the home team in that return match has gone 28-8-10.

11/22 16:47:29 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 9
DUR 1
 
Final
MIA 101
CHA 97
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR
 
Final
ATL 3
MIA 1
Final
CHC 5
ARI 7
Final
COL 10
SFG 12
Final
OAK 0
TEX 3
Final
SEA 5
HOU 3
Final
PIT 2
CIN 5
Final
CLE 5
KAN 3
Final
WAS 5
ANA 4
Final
TOR 8
BAL 10
Final
DET 4
CWS 6
Final
TAM 4
MIN 6
Final
BOS 5
NYY 1
Final
NYM 3
STL 2
Final
MIL 5
SDP 2
Final
LOS 5
PHI 2
12:05pm Today
CLE
KAN
 
12:35pm Today
PIT
CIN
 
1:08pm Today
DET
CWS
 
1:10pm Today
TAM
MIN
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
STL
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
ARI
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
SDP
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
BAL
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
NYY
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
 
Final
MIA 101
CHA 97
Final
SAN 92
DAL 113
Final
HOU 105
POR 112
7:00pm Tonight
ATL
IND
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
OKC
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
LAC
Final
CLB 4
PIT 3
Final
DAL 4
ANA 2
Final
CHI 4
STL 3
8:00pm Tonight
DET
BOS
9:30pm Tonight
MIN
COL
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
SJS
Final
CHR 9
DUR 1
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR