Houston Dynamo defender DaMarcus Beasley says watching the hometown Astros' success in the baseball playoffs spurred them through Thursday night's playoff win over Sporting Kansas City.
Alberth Elis scored the lone goal in extra time as Houston advanced to the Western Conference semifinals against the Portland Timbers.
The Dynamo will host the first leg on Monday, less than a mile from where the Houston Astros will host the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series over three straight nights in the interim.
The Astros have won all six of their home postseason games this month, and Beasley said that form inspired the Dynamo to fight past Sporting KC.
"Watching those guys, especially against the Yankees where they didn't win on the road, they came back and won two at home to go to the World Series, but to see them fight and to keep going, just seeing that and the emotion of the players and how they stuck together and how everyone celebrated when they hit home runs -- I get inspiration from everywhere, not just football," Beasley said.
"Seeing that, and obviously a home team in Houston, seeing guys hit those home runs and celebrate together, it gave me more motivation, even, to win this game today. We want to do it for Houston, we want to play our game, play our part and show that we're a top team in Houston too. If people want to jump on the bandwagon -- hey, jump on it!"
And though only a little over 14,000 fans came out to the midweek playoff clash, goalkeeper Tyler Deric said the Dynamo are feeding off the energy that the Astros have given Houston.
"I was watching the San Jose-Vancouver game and I would hear outside my apartment, just everybody roaring, and it was a Marwin Gonzalez home run to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth," Deric said of Wednesday night's Astros win in Los Angeles. "It's that energy and that passion that the fans have, really sparks these teams right now."
The Dynamo had to wait for four minutes into extra time for Elis, 21, to find the breakthrough, but both he and coach Wilmer Cabrera credited 37-year-old substitute Vicente Sanchez for getting past two defenders and setting up the goal.
"I am not surprised about Vicente Sanchez because that's why I brought him and invited him to be part of this project," Cabrera said. "He gave us that possibility to counterattack, to create problems for them [Sporting KC] and to create a lot of possibilities and options to be dangerous.
"When Vicente goes on the field, he does things... we still don't have the type of players that can do that. Because of his experience and his time on the field. And also, he keeps himself in very good shape. Because the dynamic and intensity that he plays with are very important."
For Sporting KC, the defeat marked the fourth straight year the club have crashed out of the playoffs in the knockout stage after winning MLS Cup in 2013.
Thursday's loss was a continuation of a late-season swoon as coach Peter Vermes' men had a chance to secure the top seed in the West, only to settle for two points over their final five games of the regular season.
"It stings from that point of view because we were in a very good position with four or five games left in the season," Vermes told the Kansas City Star. "But sometimes that's just the way it goes."