Adam Moffat and Will Bruin scored for Houston to give the Dynamo a 2-0 win over Sporting Kansas City in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
But, both teams recognize that it is only halftime. The second leg is at Wednesday night in Kansas City.
"It's not over," Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. "We know that. If we go to Kansas City thinking that 2-0 is going to carry us to the top and take care of itself, then we are approaching the game the wrong way, and I won't let them do that."
Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes said being down 2-0 was not disastrous for them.
"It would be better if it was 0-0 or 2-0 our way, right?" Vermes said. "I wouldn't use that word [disastrous]. There are many teams that have come back from this."
Moffat put the Dynamo, which is the Eastern Conference's fifth seed, ahead 1-0 in the 18th minute, one timing a shot on a bounce off a header from Bruin from 30 yards out just right of the centre, inside the near post.
"Obviously, the result is fantastic," Moffat said. "To get the two goals, the clean sheet doesn't matter as much. It's good for confidence to get that victory. We are delighted, but we know we are halfway there."
Bruin extended Houston's lead to 2-0 in the 75th minute, getting a cross from Calen Carr in the middle of the box and one-timing it into upper right corner from 10 yards out.
Bruin scored twice in Houston's 2-1 win over Chicago on Wednesday in the Eastern Conference play-in game as the Dynamo advanced to play Kansas City, the Eastern Conference's top seed. Houston defeated Kansas City 2-0 last year in the Eastern Conference finals in Kansas City to advance to the MLS Cup.
C.J. Sapong missed a chance to tie it at 1 in the 34th minute, having a shot from the left box stopped on a diving save by Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall.
Aurelien Collin had a chance to put Kansas City on the board in the 79th minute, but Collin was ruled offsides before his shot from the middle of the box was saved by Hall.
"Them getting the first goal 20 minutes in changed the game a little bit," Vermes said. "I thought they did a very good job in the first half of every time we got the ball, putting numbers around us and either winning the ball or they fouled us and broke the rhythm of the game very quickly. They got 11 guys behind the ball. It slowed the game down for them. They did a good job on the counter, especially the second goal. It's halftime. We are getting ready for the second half now."
Vermes refused to make excuses for Kansas City trailing.
"We don't have any excuses," Vermes said. "It is what it is. We just get on with the next game. As far as I am concerned, they played well and got the result at home, and now, we need to go do the same."
Houston lost defender Jermaine Taylor with a left knee injury. Taylor appeared to initially injure his knee late in the first half when he was reaching out to make a play on the ball. Taylor stayed in to start the second half but went down again in the 54th minute. Houston subbed Andre Hainault in for Taylor in the 55th minute.
Despite being ahead 2-0, Kinnear said Kansas City is an explosive team with strong, powerful players.
"By no means, is this over," Kinnear said. "I think in any playoffs, especially when it is home and away, the second one is going to be the deciding one. We definitely have our work but out for us. If we bring the same attitude and same determination that we showed today, I think we will be battling hard again."