Dwyer sends Sporting to MLS Cup final
Kansas City, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Dominic Dwyer's second-half tally held up as the winner on Saturday as Sporting Kansas City hung on for a 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo at Sporting Park to advance to the MLS Cup final for the first time since the 2004 season.
Sporting had been knocked out of the postseason by Houston in each of the past two seasons, but after battling to a scoreless draw at BBVA Compass Stadium in the first leg of the tie, Sporting managed to get the job done in front of its home fans.
But things started in the worst possible way for the hosts as the veteran-savy Dynamo got the opening goal just three minutes into the match. Andrew Driver got the scoring play started as he served a well-struck ball into the penalty area from the left flank. It was headed by Brad Davis back to Boniek Garcia, who worked his way past several Kansas City defenders and fired it past Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen into the bottom left corner.
Following the goal, Sporting responded with plenty of pressure in the attacking third of the field and found an equalizer in the 14th minute when C.J. Sapong pounced on a botched clearance in the penalty area and ripped it past Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall.
The clubs went into the intermission level, but the winner came in the 63rd minute as Benny Feilhaber drove to the heart of the Houston defense, drawing three defenders before chipping the ball to an onrushing Dwyer, who calmly placed it past Hall to make it 2-1.
Houston had a spectacular chance to pull the sides level in the 79th minute as a loose ball fell to the feet of defender Corey Ashe, who had a go from distance, forcing a stellar save from Nielsen.
The Dynamo had some hope coming down the stretch as the fourth official's board showed four minutes of stoppage time, but they spent most of those minutes pinned in their own half of the field as Sporting hung on for the victory.
Sporting will host MLS Cup on December 7 and will face either Real Salt Lake or the Portland Timbers hoping to claim their first MLS Cup title since 2000.
11/23 21:57:50 ET