Both of the MLS Conference Final games yesterday featured an early goal by the road team. In the first game, it was all the scoring that would take place. In the second game, it was the only stumbling block for the home side.
New England gets back to the MLS Cup Final again
Heading into Sunday's match up at RFK, you had some good storylines on the field (DC looking vunerable late in the year after being on fire early, New England having to again go without an injured Clint Dempsey, and the ongoing Eskandarian-Reis feud) as well as an entertaining one in the broadcast booth (Grant Wahl - Rumble in the Booth ).
In the end the game wasn't the most entertaining game of this year's playoffs. 2005 MLS MVP Taylor Twellman scored in the 4th minute on a feed from Pat Noonan. After that, it was about DC getting loads of shots (they outshot NE 18 to 6) and corners (DC had 9 corners to NE's 1), yet getting nothing on the scoreboard to show for their efforts. Things got a bit interesting late as both Wynalda and Arena were questioning some of the moves by DC's Peter Nowak. The two moves that got the most play were taking out Freddy Adu in the 65th minute for Matias Donnet. Both Wynalda and Arena wondered why Josh Gros wasn't the player that was subbed off in that situation. Arena also wondered throughout the match about DC's plan to go without a left footed player on the left side of the field. Then Arena wondered why Clyde Simms was brought on for an injured Christian Gomez in the 81st minute as opposed to a more offensive minded player such as Jamil Walker.
This will be New England's second straight trip to the MLS Cup Final and their third trip in the past five years. New England supporters will be hoping that the third time is the charm.
Early PK goal doesn't faze the Dynamo
The 4th minute looked to be a bad one for the two teams I was rooting for last evening when the Houston Dynamo faced an early uphill battle as defender Adrian Serioux was called for a handball in the Dynamo penalty area and Colorado Rapids forward Jovan Kirovski stepped up and staked the visitors to an early lead.
However, Houston forward Paul Dalglish scored twice in the next 17 minutes of action and the Dynamo never looked back as they advanced to their third appearance in an MLS Cup Final with a 3-1 win over the visiting Rapids.
In the 10th minute, Dalglish pulled the Dynamo even off of a nice feed from 2006 MLS MVP candidate Dwayne De Rosario. De Rosario's backheel pass sent Dalglish in alone on Colorado goalkeeper Joe Cannon and the Scot was able to slot the ball home and even the match at one goal apiece.
In the 21st minute, Dalglish was able to put Houston ahead for good. Dalglish's second of the night was set up by a beautiful passing play as De Rosario found Brad Davis in the left corner, Davis then switched the field to Brian Mullan, and Mullan found Dalglish at the far post for a header past Cannon.
Houston closed out the scoring in the second half as Alejandro Moreno's cross found a sliding Mullan at the back post for a 3-1 Dynamo lead.
While this will be the first appearance by the Houston Dynamo in an MLS Cup Final, it is the third time this franchise has been to the MLS Cup Final. The San Jose Earthquakes won the MLS Cup in 2001 and 2003. So while New England is hoping that the third time is a charm, Houston is hoping for a hat trick of sorts.
US wins Peace Queen Cup
The US defeated Canada 1-0 in the final of the Peace Queen Cup on a 68th minute goal by captain Kristine Lilly.
This match was the first time that Abby Wambach has missed a game to an injury spanning her high school career forward to the national team. Wambach suffered an ankle injury in the US's last match before the final versus the Netherlands.
Wambach is expected back prior to the US embarking on qualifying for next year's Women's World Cup.
Adu's last game in MLS?
After yesterday's match, Freddy Adu was asked if that was his last game in his MLS career. Adu answered that there are serious talks ongoing with European clubs.
During the broadcast Bruce Arena rightly declined to comment on whether he'd sign Adu for the Red Bulls if he were available. But it's looking more and more like Adu's career under Peter Nowak could be coming to an end sooner as opposed to later.
More on Beckham and Ronaldo to MLS
Ronaldo reaffirms desire to possibly play in U.S.
Alexi Lalas says that the LA Galaxy would love to have Beckham if he's available and Ronaldo says that he might want to come to MLS if he continues to have issues with Real Madrid.
Does this really count as news at this point?
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