With only two days between legs of their Eastern Conference Semifinal, and a 2-0 deficit to make up against Houston, Sporting Kansas City can't afford to take time off to rest and regroup.
They'll be back home and back out on the training pitch Monday, to prepare for Wednesday's home leg (9 pm ET, MLS Live) – and as they do every week, they'll begin with a team meeting.
Jimmy Nielsen, Sporting's veteran goalkeeper and first-year captain, will have a simple message for his teammates as they try to avoid elimination at the hands of the Dynamo for the second straight year.
“We're down two goals,” Nielsen told MLSsoccer.com on Sunday. “It's not like we lost 5-0. We're down two goals, and it's not like there's away goals. That keeps us absolutely alive. If we score a goal after 15-20 minutes, I'd say the game will be 50-50 then.”
“There’s no time to be frustrated,” he said. “There's no time to be sad. It’s time to show who you are. It’s time for us to step up and show we are a playoff team as well.”Talking to reporters in Houston after the match, Nielsen acknowledged the disappointment of Sunday's defeat but said Sporting have to put it behind them quickly.
Nielsen might not have much to do on Wednesday if Houston sit back and try to bunker in against what is sure to be a high-pressure attack from Sporting. But the veteran 'keeper said he's not concerned about what the Dynamo are planning.
“They have to do what they have to do,” Nielsen said. “We can't focus too much on what they're going to do. Our mentality has to be an attacking mentality. We know we have to score at least two goals.”