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Originally published November 9, 2013 at 6:41 PM | Page modified November 9, 2013 at 6:49 PM

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Sporting Kansas City, host Houston play to a scoreless draw in MLS playoff match

Sporting Kansas City and host Houston played to a scoreless draw in the first leg of the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference final series.

The Associated Press

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HOUSTON – Sporting Kansas City’s Jimmy Nielsen made three saves, and Houston’s Tally Hall had two stops in a 0-0 draw between Kansas City and the Dynamo in the first leg of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday.

The second and final leg of the total-goals series will be Nov. 23 in Kansas City, Kan., after a two-week break for FIFA international matches.

“It was a great result for us,” Nielsen said. “Both teams came with a very good attitude. I had a rough game midweek. Bringing in that intensity, the game that developed today was very awesome.”

Houston appeared to take a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute as Kofi Sarkodie got a pass and sent his shot across into the net, but Sarkodie was called offside.

Nielsen kept the match scoreless in the 29th minute, making a diving save to his right on Boniek Garcia’s free kick from 30 yards.

The Dynamo has eliminated Kansas City from the playoffs each of the last two years.

“We knew it was going to be an ugly game, and it was,” Houston defender Bobby Boswell said. “But I thought we fought hard, there was no drop-off, we had guys in and out and I think everyone played well.

“The guys who came on gave us a boost. Like I said, you can’t win it in the first game but you can definitely lose it, and I think we’ve given ourselves a chance going into Kansas City.”

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