Rivals Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo are set to meet in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the third consecutive season with a berth in MLS Cup 2013 on the line.
Sporting Park will host the team’s official watch party on Saturday in the Boulevard Members Club with doors opening at 12:30 p.m. CT and parking in Lot D. The watch party, free to attend and open to all ages, will feature food and drink specials as well as a raffle for two pairs of playoff tickets.
The Eastern Conference Championship series will be decided by total goals scored in both matches with the return leg scheduled for Nov. 23 at sold out Sporting Park. The winner will advance to MLS Cup 2013, which Sporting Kansas City would host on Dec. 7 if the club reaches the championship match.
Saturday’s meeting will be the fourth between Sporting Kansas City and Houston in 2013, and the third match-up at BBVA Compass Stadium. Sporting KC earned four points on the Dynamo’s home field in 2013 including a 1-0 victory on May 12 that ended Houston’s 36-game home unbeaten run dating back to the stadium’s opening in 2012.
The teams split the points in a 1-1 tie on May 26 and a scoreless draw last month to give Sporting Kansas City the 1-0-2 edge in the season series.
Seven points separated Sporting Kansas City (17-10-7, 58 pts) and Houston (14-11-9, 51 pts) in the regular season standings. Sporting Kansas City earned the No. 2 seed in the East and advanced past the New England Revolution 4-3 on aggregate in the semifinal series with a dramatic 3-1 win after extra time at Sporting Park on Wednesday.
The team's playoff run, presented by Ivy Funds, now reaches the penultimate round for the seventh time in team history.
Houston, the No. 4 seed in the East, have finished MLS Cup runners-up each of the last two seasons and opened their 2013 playoff campaign with a 3-0 victory over the Montreal Impact in the Knockout Round.
The Dynamo were held to a 2-2 draw at home by New York in the opening leg of the Conference Semifinals but eliminated the Supporters’ Shield winners with a 2-1 win after extra time on Wednesday at Red Bull Arena.
Aurelien Collin, Will Bruin and Omar Cummings enter Saturday’s match leading all MLS players with two goals scored in the postseason. Dynamo defender Corey Ashe will miss the match due to caution accumulation while five players (Collin, Seth Sinovic, Chance Myers, Teal Bunbury and Boniek Garcia) are on warning and would miss the decisive second leg if they receive a yellow card on Saturday.
Sporting Kansas City's home leg at Sporting Park will be played on Nov. 23 following the international break (Nov. 15-19).
Tickets for the match, presented by Ivy Funds, sold out in less than 24 hours of the general public on sale and Standing Room Only tickets are now available via Ticketmaster.com.
Fans can follow the match online by visiting www.SportingKC.com/GameOn or on Twitter at @SKCGameday. Additionally, MLSsoccer.com will stream pre-game and post-game shows live on the league website with commentary and analysis.