Houston Dynamo FC advances to Western Conference final vs. LAFC with MLS Cup berth at stake

Dynamo defender Franco Escobar headered the only goal on Sunday to eliminate Sporting Kansas City.

ByMatt Guillermo KTRK logo
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Franco Escobar's headered goal from Hector Herrera's corner kick on Sunday was all that Houston Dynamo FC needed to put the club one win away from returning to the MLS Cup Final.

The Dynamo's lone goal in its Western Conference semifinal match eliminated Sporting Kansas City, a team with which Houston has a long playoff history.

The Escobar score came in the 39th minute in the first half. Sporting threatened to level the match two minutes later on a penalty kick that Houston goalkeeper Steve Clark denied.

Clark finished with three saves to earn his first shutout this postseason after collecting 12 clean sheets during the regular season.

The match was seen by more than 20,000 fans at Shell Energy Stadium.

So, what's next for first-year manager Ben Olsen's club?

Western Conference Final set

The No. 4-seed Dynamo will next travel to Southern California with a spot in the MLS Cup Final on the line against the third-seeded LAFC, which earned a 1-0 victory in its semifinal against Seattle Sounders FC.

LAFC, which is bidding on back-to-back MLS Cup titles in 2023, has a limited history with Houston. "The Black and Gold" lead a 12-match series against the Dynamo, boasting five wins to three losses with four draws.

However, Houston swept the 2023 season series against LAFC, earning shutouts on June 10 and 14.

The Western Conference championship match is set for Saturday, Dec. 2 at 8:30 p.m.

The winner between Houston and LAFC will face the Eastern Conference winner between Cincinatti FC and the Columbus Crew on Saturday, Dec. 9.

SEE ALSO: Dynamo advances to Western Conference semifinals in Game 3 against Real Salt Lake