KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Credit Sporting Kansas City for making it interesting.
Trailing by two goals on aggregate entering the second leg of the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference semifinals Wednesday against the Houston Dynamo at Livestrong Sporting Park, Sporting KC pulled one back in the 64th minute to energize the crowd of 20,894.
That second goal, the only Sporting KC needed to force extra time and extend its season, never came.
The end result was a 2-1 aggregate win for the Dynamo, who advanced to the conference final for the second straight year.
It was the unlikeliest of goal scorers who came through for Sporting KC as Seth Sinovic found the back of the net for the first time in 75 career MLS appearances.
Forward Kei Kamara set the play in motion made an incredible individual run into the box along the right side of the penalty box before laying off for midfielder Graham Zusi, who lofted a high chip across the face of goal where Sinovic buried his first career goal with a diving header.
Sporting KC’s best chance to knot the series came nine minutes later when Kamara rolled a perfectly weighted pass into C.J. Sapong’s path, but the second-year forward chipped the ball over the goal despite beating Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall to the ball.
Flash forward another eight minutes, after a poor clearance of midfielder Oriol Rosell’s cross, center back Matt Besler drove a right-footed shot barely over the bar.
Midfielder Roger Espinoza drove a shot from distance in the 91st minute, but Hall had it covered easily.
Sporting KC lobbed a few more promising crosses into the box, but the Dynamo defense held even without center back Jermaine Taylor, who was injured in Sunday’s first leg.
During the first half, Sporting KC created a bounty of chances beginning with a hopeful drive by Kamara in the fourth minute from just outside the Dynamo penalty area.
Perhaps the best opportunity before halftime came four minutes later when Zusi dropped a free kick into the box at the back post, but Kamara’s header sailed well wide of the net.
Sapong had a go from just outside the box in the 19th minute, but failed really to test Hall
A couple minutes later, Kamara centered a ball for Zusi, who wound up and slammed a shot well high and well wide into The Cauldron.
Another golden chance presented itself in the 27th minute when right back Chance Myers cut a ball back for Kamara in the box, but the shot smacked Houston center back Bobby Boswell in the back of the leg.
During the scrum for the deflection, Zusi, who had already been warned for a couple rugged challenges, picked up a yellow card.
Three minutes later, center back Matt Besler provided pinpoint long service for Kamara, who nodded the ball back for Sapong, but he couldn’t get a enough behind a shot to beat Hall.
World Cup update – The United States opens the final round of World Cup qualifying at Honduras on Feb. 6 and plays three of its first four games on the road.
The Americans play at Mexico on March 26 and host El Tri on Sept. 10, according to the draw conducted Wednesday.