November 11, 2012
Houston 3-1 over DC; Galaxy 3, Sounders FC 0
The Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy both took giant steps toward a rematch of the 2011 MLS Cup final with lopsided wins in the Conference Championship openers on Sunday.
|Will Bruin scored his fourth goal of the postseason as the Houston Dynamo took a 3-1 lead over DC United in the Eastern Conference Championship Series.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
HOUSTON DYNAMO 3, DC UNITED 1
HOUSTON—The Houston Dynamo scored three times in the second half to defeat DC United 3-1 in the opening match of the Eastern Conference Championship series Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Andre Hainault leveled the score 1-1 in the 52nd minute, Will Bruin sealed the win with his fourth postseason goal, and Kofi Sarkodie closed out the Dynamo scoring.
The fifth-seeded Dynamo needed to bring a cushion into next Sunday’s return match against #2 United at RFK Stadium. Houston have won only one of their last 16 matches on the road.
Despite losing offensive linchpin Chris Pontius to injury in the 11th minute, DC had the best of the early going, and took a 1-0 lead when Nick DeLeon scored in the 27th minute. DeLeon nutmegged Hainault with an opportunistic strike after Lionard Pajoy’s sharply angled shot hit the right post and caromed into the center of the box.
DC backup goalkeeper Joe Willis – in net while starter Bill Hamid served a red-card suspension-- held his own during the first half, picking off crosses in front of the net and artfully palming away a dangerous shot by Macoumba Kandji in the 37th, but was left helpless in the 52nd minute. Defender Brandon McDonald fouled Dynamo substitute Giles Barnes 20 yards out on the left side, and the Dynamo caught United flat-footed with a fast restart. Boniek Garcia received the free kick and squared a ball into the six-yard box, where a wide-open Hainault poked it home from point-blank range.
DC’s last best chance to derail the Houston juggernaut came in the 66th minute, when Pajoy’s hard shot was blocked off the line by defender Bobby Boswell. Two minutes later, Barnes got past Jakovic on the left endline and squared the ball toward the near post. Willis deflected it into the path of the onrushing Bruin for an easy game-winner.
Sarkodie delivered the coup de grace in the 80th minute, after Augusto could not clear a Houston corner kick and Luis Camargo fed the ball from the top of the box to Sarkodie at the top right corner of the six-yard box.
LA GALAXY 3, SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC 0
CARSON, Calif.-- The MLS Western Conference Championship series is two games, but the LA Galaxy decided to put it in their pocket early, routing the travel-weary Seattle Sounders FC 3-0 in Sunday night’s first-leg match at the Home Depot Center.
Robbie Keane led the way with two goals and an assist. Sean Franklin had two helpers, and Mike Magee scored his eighth postseason goal for the defending MLS Cup champions.
The teams sparred carefully through the first half, neither taking any serious risks or mounting any lethal challenges until stoppage time, when Keane broke through with the centennial goal in Galaxy postseason history. Christian Wilhelmsson backheeled the ball through to Donovan on a run into the right side of the box. A heavy first touch sent the ball rolling toward the end line, but Donovan chased it down and looped a cross back to Keane, who was unmarked at the top of the six-yard box and slammed a header past goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
In the 65th minute, Magee got the Galaxy their coveted second goal. Keane got the ball upfield and fed it to Sean Franklin on the right side. Franklin dribbled once and passed it to Magee in the center of the penalty area for the put-away.
Immediately after Magee’s strike, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid replaced Fredy Montero with Eddie Johnson, but before his new forward could even break a sweat, Seattle was in a three-goal hole. In the 67th minute, Donovan’s shot from the top of the box was blocked straight up and fell to Wilhelmsson off the right post. The Swede’s popped header fell short of the net, but drew Gspurning off his line, and Wilhelmsson toe-poked the ball toward the far post, where Keane helped it into the net.
The late insertion of Steve Zakuani for Alex Caskey added a bit of spark to the Sounders attack, and the game ended with a flurry of chances orchestrated by semifinal series hero Mario Martinez, but the outcome was never really in doubt.
The series wraps up next Sunday at CenturyLink Field, where the Sounders notched a pair of lopsided regular season wins over the Galaxy.
Full story from LA Soccer News