A big reason why the Houston Dynamo finds itself in the Eastern Conference semifinals is due to its play at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Dynamo became the fourth team in MLS history to go unbeaten at home over the course of an entire regular season, posting an 11-0-6 mark on home soil.
So when the club hosts the top seed in the East, Sporting Kansas City, on Sunday in the first leg of their two-legged showdown, Houston should be very comfortable.
The club reached the conference semifinal round after a 2-1 win at the Chicago Fire on Wednesday in a knockout round contest, and Houston owns a 1-0-2 mark against Sporting this season, including a 2-1 win over Kansas City in the lone meeting at BBVA.
Houston took the game to Chicago on Wednesday and benefited from a pair of Will Bruin goals to claim the win.
Bruin's strong outing is encouraging for the Dynamo, considering that he scored just once in his previous seven games prior to Wednesday's breakout performance.
"Honestly, it's been such a long season that it's nice to have that mojo back come playoff time," Bruin said. "I want to get out there and play. It was fun and hopefully there's a lot more to go."
If Bruin can continue to keep firing and Houston's well-organized defense holds up against a balanced Sporting attack, the club will have a good chance at pulling the upset and trying to return to the MLS Cup final.
The Dynamo will have less than a week to prepare, while Sporting is facing a 10-day layoff that could disrupt the rhythm in the side.
But forward Kei Kamara, who would prefer a shorter rest between games, still thinks the time off will not hurt the team.
"You definitely want to play week by week," Kamara said. "You don't want to take long breaks like this, but when it happens, we're ready to play. We've played games where we were off for a while, with international breaks and all, and we've also played games where it was Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday. No matter what it is, I know the boys are ready."
Sporting head coach Peter Vermes is focusing on the fact that his team will get extra rest moving forward, and that the time off will allow the club to get into a good rhythm.
"The good thing is that we had a couple of days of rest," said Vermes, who gave Sporting the day off on Thursday. "With the US Open Cup, we've had a lot of games. So, given the fact that we've had a couple of days that we could take off and get us hungry again, we can now prepare. That's the more important thing, and I think we can now be in a good rhythm going forward."