Houston, TX (Sports Network) - D.C. United threatened the long home undefeated
run of the Houston Dynamo on Sunday in the first leg of the Eastern Conference
finals, and the hosts had an emphatic response.
Andre Hainault, Will Bruin and Kofi Sarkodie scored after half as Houston beat
D.C. United, 3-1, to stay unbeaten at BBVA Compass Stadium and take control of
their two-legged conference final series.
Now the Dynamo are just 90 minutes from a return trip to the MLS Cup. But they
will have to take care of business on the road.
Houston will visit D.C. for the second match on Nov. 18, when United will need
to overturn the two-goal deficit to deny the Dynamo a place in the Cup. United
will host the Cup if it wins, while Houston will visit the Western finalist.
Nick DeLeon scored for United, which last lost at home in its season opener
against Sporting Kansas City in early March - a stretch of 17 matches at RFK
Just 1-9-2 when allowing the first goal during the regular season, Houston had
its back against the wall after DeLeon converted a rebound in the 27th minute
for his second goal of the playoffs.
Coupled with United being a perfect 7-0-0 when it led at halftime, the 26-game
unbeaten streak dating back to last year at home for Houston was under threat
But Houston survived a questionable non-call late in the first half when D.C.
substitute Raphael Augusto was knocked down by Hainault on a last-man chance.
Hainault added to the frustration of D.C. coach Ben Olsen, who was upset about
the non-call, when he pulled Houston level with a goal from six yards in the
Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell cleared a shot from United forward Lionard Pajoy
off the line in the 66th, and Bruin followed on the other end when he drilled
home a rebound for his fourth goal of the playoffs in the 68th.
Sarkodie forced a good save from United goalkeeper Joe Willis in the 77th, and
beat the backup - playing for suspended Bill Hamid - in the 81st when he was
sent into the area by Luiz Camargo and hammered a shot far post.
Houston maintained its two-goal advantage, as it won the first-ever postseason
match between the clubs with a combined six MLS Cup titles - four for D.C. and
two for Houston.
The Sports Network