Monday, November 7, 2011

Football Americana: Conference Finals

2011's MLS Cup match will be played at the Home Depot Center between LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo on 20th November.

The Galaxy added the Western Conference Championship to their Supporters Shield victory by defeating Real Salt Lake 3-1 in the conference final at HDC. The sides exchanged blows in the middle of the first half, with LA drawing first blood. Omar Gonzalez was adjudged to have been pushed by Andy Williams and the referee pointed to the spot in the 22nd minute. Landon Donovan overcame his Nick Rimando issues, clipping the ball past him to make it 1-0. Salt Lake quickly equalised, Alvaro Saborio glancing Jamison Olave's header past Josh Saunders.

In-form Mike Magee made it 2-1 to LA just before the hour mark after both Robbie Keane and Kyle Beckerman had hit the woodwork. David Beckham swung in a trademark cross to set up Magee's header to continue his playoff scoring streak. Ten minutes later the tie was dead, but not before Fabian Espindola fired against the crossbar for RSL with a stunning effort on the half volley. The goal arrived courtesy of Keane, who remained composed to fire the Galaxy into MLS Cup.

Two second half goals were enough to secure the Eastern Conference title for the Dynamo, who defeated Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park. The bad came before the good for Houston; MVP candidate Brad Davis tore his right quadriceps and will miss the game with LA, a huge loss for Dom Kinnear. Andre Hainault finished from close range to give them the lead eight minutes into the second half, and although they fluffed a chance to make it 2-0 less than a minute later Houston did get a second to seal the tie. Carlo Costly left it late, but found the net with an easy finish off the post on the break with Kansas City chasing an equaliser.

You can see the conference final highlights here - we'll be back after MLS Cup.

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