19 November, 2012

Galaxy, Dynamo Rematch in MLS Final

The MLS final will be exactly the same as it was last year, the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo. It is a strange coincidence, since the Galaxy were the #4 team in the West and the Dynamo were the #5 team in the East.

The Galaxy took an insurmountable 3-0 aggregate lead (on the strength of yet another two-goal performance by Robbie Keane) into tonight's match at Seattle's CenturyLink Field, and then, if the ball had bounced their way, Seattle could have won 3-0 today. But they didn't. Eddie Johnson scored for Seattle in the 11th minute, but the linesman (incorrectly) ruled him offsides and the goal was disallowed. Then Eddie Johnson scored his second goal of the game, but the first that counted, one minute later to put Seattle ahead 1-0. Seattle dominated the match, forcing LA keeper Josh Saunders to make what turned out to be game-saving saves in the 16th and 32nd minutes. Then, just before halftime, Sounders defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado of Colombia blocked a Mike Magee shot with his hand, but the referee chose not to call the handball. Keep that in mind; the Galaxy get the next close one.

In the second half, Zach Scott headed a corner kick into the net to give Seattle a 2-0 lead and cut the aggregate score to 3-2. But, ten minutes later, Sounders defender Adam Johansson of Sweden deflected a loose ball out of bounds with his arm while defending Robbie Keane in the penalty area, and the referee awarded the Galaxy a penalty kick, converted by Robbie Keane. The final score was Seattle 2-1 over LA, and the aggregate score was 4-2 in LA's favor. The goal was Keane's 5th of the 2012 playoffs, so the all-time MLS playoff record of 8 goals (held by Carlos Ruiz in the 2002 playoffs) is just a hat-trick away from being tied by the Irishman.

The Galaxy's opponent on Saturday December 1 will be the Houston Dynamo, once again, just like last year. Houston took a 3-1 aggregate lead in the first leg, with DC United taking a 1-0 lead on the road on a goal by rookie Nick DeLeon, only to collapse in the second half, allowing goals by Andre Hainault, Will Bruin, and Kofi Sarkodie. In today's second leg at DC's RFK Stadium, Dynamo midfielder Boniek Garcia of Honduras opened the scoring in the 33rd minute. Although DCU controlled the action, they could not put a goal past Tally Hall until the 83rd minute to manage a 1-1 draw at home. Houston wins 4-2 aggregate.

The MLS final will be shown on ESPN on Saturday, December 1, at 4:30 pm Eastern/1:30 pm Pacific from the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.

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