Monday, November 9, 2009

MLS Playoff weekend #2; a look back

One top seed is moving on to its conference final while another top team is heading home in shcoking fashion.

Playing the role of home team in the final leg of its playoff series against in-stadium rival Chivas USA, the Los Angeles Galaxy dominated possession for the majority of the match and Landon Donovan's penalty kick in the 73rd minute sent the Galaxy to a 1-0 win over Chivas USA (3-2 on goal aggregate) at the Home Depot Center on Sunday evening.

In addition to controlling possession, the Galaxy also had a majority of scoring chances, though it was unable to find the back of the net, but that changed in the 71st minute when Galaxy forward Mike Magee was fouled harshly in the midsection by Yamith Cuesta in the penalty box, awarding the Galaxy the penalty. Chivas keeper Zach Thornton guessed right, but Donovan instead shot the ball to the middle where Thornton first stood.

The Galaxy will host the Houston Dynamo at the Home Depot Center on Friday night at 11pm/8pm. THe Dynamo stamped its ticket to the Western final with an overtime victory, also by a score of 1-0, in its second leg of its playoff series against Seattle Sounders FC. After another 90 scoreless minutes, Houston finally found daylight five minutes into the first overtime, as Brian Ching's volley in the box beat Sounders keeper Kasey Keller to the left net and gave the Dynamo a lead they never relinquished.

In the Eastern Conference, the top-seeded Columbus Crew saw its bid for back-to-back MLS Cups come to a bitter end on Thursday night, as Real Salt Lake came back from two goals down in the second match of its series to elimnate the Crew 3-2 (4-2 on aggregate) at Crew Stadium. The Crew's Guillermo Barros Schelotto got Colubus going with goals in the 19th and 35th minute, but Javier Morales pulled one back for RSL, then just before halftime, the Crew's Frankie Hedjuk was called for a foul on Fabian Espindola in the box and Robbie Findley buried the penalty shot to restore RSL's aggregate lead. Andy Williams scored for Salt Lake in the 74th minute to put the series out of reach.

Unlike Columbus, the Chicago Fire were able to complete its comeback against the New England Revolution at Toyota Park on Saturday. John Thorrington scored the equalizer in the 25th minute with a shot in the box that beat Revolution keeper Matt Reis to the left net. The Fire officialy won the series in the 81st minute when Nyarko charged into the Revolution box and played a ball to Cuauhthemoc Blanco, who then beat Reis to the right side. The Fire will play Real Salt Lake for the Eastern Conference title on Saturday.

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