Thursday, November 07, 2013

Dynamo Shock Red Bulls, Move To MLS Eastern Conference Finals

Houston Dynamo in MLS PlayoffsWhen this series started, many pundits didn't give the Houston Dynamo a chance to advance past the Supporters Shield winning and top seeded New York Red Bulls to their third straight MLS Eastern Conference final.  

In many cases you had people openly rooting against the two time defending Eastern Conference champions and that list probably includes MLS Commissioner Dave Garber.

The Red Bulls were rested and finished the season 6-0-2.  The Dynamo had never won at Red Bulls Arena and had been outscored during the regular season in their three losses to the Red Bulls 9-1 with two of those losses happening at BBVA Compass Stadium.   

But this is Dynamo Time, the MLS playoffs, and the Men In Orange just do what they do this time of year.   They kick up their level of play another level and don't stop until they reach the MLS Cup Finals 

After coming back from a 2-0 deficit at BBVA Compass Stadium Sunday to forge a 2-2 tie, they arrived in Harrison, NJ having never beaten the Red Bulls in a playoff game or in this stadium. 

But the top seeded Red Bulls had also never won a playoff game in their home stadium either, so one of these streaks was going to end.  

The Red Bulls initial score happened courtesy of a rare error by Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall in the 23rd minute.  Lloyd Sam hit a cross into the 6 yard box that Hall tried to grab with both hands and pin to the ground.  It squirted out of his grasp and onto the waiting foot of Bradley Wright-Phillips who knocked it into the open net for a 1-0 lead.

In the 36th minute the Red Bulls returned the favor with a giveaway of their own as Ibrahim Sekagya played an ill-advised pass across the top of the Red Bulls’ 18-yard box that an opportunistic Brad Davis picked off before dribbling forward and slotting it home with ease to tie the game at 1-1.

After that it was a series of brilliant Tally Hall saves and a little luck that kept the score knotted up.  A Thierry Henry shot just before halftime redirected by Tim Cahill was parried away by a Hall reaction save. 
A Henry header in the 65th minute hit the crossbar.  He missed a bicycle kick just wide in regulation time. 

But the Dynamo hero once again was Omar Cummings.  In the 104th minute Cummings was the man in the right place at the right time when Cam Weaver's header was blocked by Robles but ended up on Cummings foot that he pushed just past the goal line inside the right hand post past a prone Robles for the 2-1 win.

The 2-1 Dynamo win was not only their first win at Red Bulls Arena and first playoff win against this team, with the 4-3 aggregate score the Dynamo moved on to the Eastern Conference finals for the third consecutive year. 

Take that Dynamo haters.    And sorry Don, no LA-NY MLS Cup final this year either. 

They will face a familiar foe in Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference Finals who closed out their series against the New England Revolution with a 3-1 win (4-3 aggregate), which will start on Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium.

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