There was only one change in Sporting Kansas City’s lineup Sunday from the 2011 Eastern Conference final, and not much changed in the end result either as the Houston Dynamo won both games 2-0.
Forward Teal Bunbury, who suffered a torn ACL on Aug. 26 against the New York Red Bulls, wasn’t available Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. He was replaced by offseason signing Jacob Peterson.
Of course, that consistency in personnel got shaken up considerably in the game’s closing minutes, with seldom-used Peterson Joseph and Dom Dwyer making their MLS playoff debuts.
Joseph, a midfielder who made 10 appearances with four starts this season, and Dwyer, a rookie first-round pick at forward who logged only four minutes in the regular season, came on late as Sporting KC tried to pull back a goal.
Peterson came on for Roger Espinoza in the 77th minute, while Dwyer replaced C.J. Sapong in the 80th minute.
“It was tough after being out for a month, but I felt like I did OK,” said Espinoza, who hadn’t played since suffering a sprained ankle Oct. 7 at Columbus. “I was trying to get in the rhythm of the game, and it felt good to be back.”
• Dynamo defender Jermaine Taylor left the game in the second half because of a left knee injury.
Taylor originally went down — and briefly left the field after being treated by trainers — when he blocked a shot by Graham Zusi inside the right edge of the penalty box late in the first half. Taylor returned for the second half, but didn’t last long. He was replaced by Andre Hainault in the 55th minute.
That leaves Taylor’s status for Wednesday’s game at Livestrong Sporting Park in question.
The Dynamo defense has been in flux since Geoff Cameron transferred to Stoke City FC in the English Premier League in late July.
• It was eight years ago today that Davy Arnaud scored both goals as Kansas City topped the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0 in the MLS Conference Finals at Arrowhead Stadium. The win allowed the then-Wizards to reach the second MLS Cup championship game in club history.
| Tod Palmer, firstname.lastname@example.org