Houston Dynamo headed to 2012 MLS Cup

Patrick McDermott

With a 1-1 draw against D.C. United, the Houston Dynamo advanced to their fourth MLS Cup appearance with a 4-2 aggregate goal difference.

dy·nas·ty
1. A succession of rulers from the same family or line.
2. A family or group that maintains power for several generations:

Whether that definition fits, you decide.

For me, the sheer joy of watching this orange clad team for seven years is enough. I'm not too concerned about the public's opinion on the Houston Dynamo - I am able to see Houston's opinion on a near weekly basis.

After another playoff series victory, the good guys are headed back to challenge for another MLS Cup - their fourth attempt in seven years. That's right... no typo there. Fourth trip in seven years. I'll let you soak that in for a moment.

It's not a cocky or overconfident start to a post game match up - on the contrary, a humble attempt at making sure readers understand the greatness behind this club.

After a season that could be described as up and down for whatever reason you'd like to chose, a Dominic Kinnear led team is never counted out in the playoffs. Even though Houston entered the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs as the fifth and final seed in the Eastern Conference, they now will compete for the MLS Cup for the second consecutive year. This year's run includes taking out the Chicago Fire (fourth), Sporting Kansas City (first), and D.C. United (second).

With tonight's 1-1 final score - and a 4-2 aggregate score, the 2012 Houston Dynamo are the Eastern Conference Champions. The best in the East. Two years in a row.

The Dynamo wouldn't have a repeat of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. Sporting Kansas City pushed the Dynamo defense to the limit in the second leg and at several times looked to be the more dangerous club. This game had a different feeling to it. It was more balanced from the opening whistle. D.C. United had the majority of possession in the first half, but aside from a nice stop from Tally Hall in the 9' on a shot from Chris Korb, United didn't mount much of a threat.

The Dynamo were not concentrating on parking the bus and defending all night. Different plans were in mind, and an early goal would be a nail in the coffin.

In the 33', Adam Moffat flicked the ball towards Will Bruin who left it for Brad Davis. The Dynamo captain calmly took the ball into the box towards the end line and patiently waited for the perfect opportunity. The perfect opportunity was none other than designated player Boniek Garcia who tapped the ball in to give Houston the early lead and add on to the aggregate scoreline. It was Garcia's first goal of the postseason, and Davis' third assist.

By the way, just a reminder that Garcia was not even a finalist for newcomer of the year in MLS' annual awards.

While D.C. United dominated possession, Houston played it's game. Their defense was sturdy, compact, and solid the entire night. When appropriate, they attacked. When not, they defended. They played like they had a two goal lead, yet knew it wasn't over.

In the second half, United had a chance to draw even in the 67' when designated player Hamdi Salihi got behind the Dynamo backline, but Tally Hall came up big and scooped up the ball averting danger. Moments later, Salihi lost the ball in the box and wasted another opportunity for United.

D.C. United finally struck back in the 83', with midfielder Branko Boskovic netting the equalizer. Boskovic made a nice run past Luiz Camargo and Jermaine Taylor to tap the ball past Hall for the goal. A bit too little and definitely too late, bringing the aggregate score to 4-2.

In the waning moments, DCU attempted to pressure more, but the Dynamo defense was too strong.

The win in the Eastern Conference Championship makes Houston's fourth trip to the MLS Cup in seven years.

The scene in RFK Stadium couldn't get any better. After the game, captain Brad Davis led the team over to the travelling supporters and players even made their way into the stands so the fans could celebrate with the team.

In Seattle, the LA Galaxy lost to the Sounders 2-1, but advanced to the MLS Cup on a 4-2 aggregate score.

On December 1st, the Dynamo will travel to the Home Depot Center to face the LA Galaxy for the second consecutive year. Last year, Houston lost to LA 1-0 on a Landon Donovan goal. This year, both teams have had different paths back to the cup.

As we await the MLS Cup, the Houston Dynamo have given fans something to cheer about and something to look forward to. If winning in Houston is decided by hardware, look no further than the Dynamo.

They're going to need a larger trophy case after this.

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