Portland, Oregon: Houston Dynamo are through to the Western Conference final of Major League Soccer (MLS) after a 2-1 victory over the Portland Timbers in the second leg of their semifinal Sunday night. The teams had played to a scoreless draw in the first leg in Houston. The goals gave the Dynamo a 2-1 advantage on aggregate, setting up the conference final against the Seattle Sounders.
Dylan Remick and Mauro Manotas scored for the Houston Dynamo.
Deric started 26 games for the Dynamo this season with six shutouts. Joe Willis, who started in eight previous games this season, played in his place.
Willis made a tremendous diving save on Dairon Asprilla’s header in the 24th minute.
Asprilla broke through in the 39th minute, booting a cross from Vytas over Willis’ outstretched arm, then celebrating with a backflip. Asprilla had two goals and four assists this season.
Houston defender Dylan Remick, who slipped on the Asprilla goal, scored in the 43rd minute, getting past Timbers’ goalkeeper Jeff Antinella and silencing the sellout crowd at Providence Park. The away goal was crucial for the Dynamo, because if the game ended in a 1-1 draw Houston would advance.
But Manotas made that moot with his strike from some 25 yards out in the 77th minute.
The Dynamo also were without defender A.J. DeLaGarza, who had surgery Wednesday to repair a torn ACL in his left knee. DeLaGarza was hurt on Oct. 22 in the 13th minute of Houston’s 3-0 victory over Chicago.
Houston Goalkeeper Tyler Deric was arrested Tuesday morning in connection with an alleged domestic incident. He was charged with misdemeanor assault and suspended by the league. MLS is working closely with the Dynamo and the Houston police during the investigation.
The Timbers were decimated by injuries going into the game and dealt a big blow on Saturday when defender Roy Miller ruptured an Achilles during training.
Midfielder Diego Chara broke a bone in his foot during the first leg on the chewed-up field in Houston. Fellow midfielder Darlington Nagbe injured his calf and center back Larrys Mabiala hurt his hip.
Portland was already without Fanendo Adi, who has been dealing with a lingering hamstring injury. Winger Sebastian Blanco didn’t play in the first leg after burning himself with boiling water while cooking. Defensive midfielder David Guzman also sat out the first match with a sprained knee.
Nagbe and Guzman started on Sunday, and Blanco came in early in the second half. But just about eight minutes into the game forward Darren Mattocks appeared to knock his head with a Houston player while going up for a ball. He was replaced by Jeremy Ebobisse.
The Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals is a home and home two game series.
Houston has now only lost once in 15 MLS home playoff games (9W-4D). They have kept nine clean sheets across those 15 matches.
The Sounders, the defending MLS Cup champions, advanced 2-0 on aggregate against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Eastern Conference finals will feature Toronto FC against the Columbus Crew, who each claimed their semifinals early Sunday.
The Houston Dynamo’s Western Conference Finals first leg match against the Seattle Sounders is scheduled to kick off at 8:30pm CST on Tuesday, November 21st, in Houston.
The match was originally scheduled to kick off at 9:00pm CST, but the MLS decided to move the kick off time to 8:30pm CST to better accommodate fans.
The Dynamo are competing in their 7th conference championship in just 12 years in Houston.