The Dynamo dominated the second half of the conference title game and had two great chances to win it, but Brian Ching’s header was tipped into the crossbar and Andrew Hainault’s was ruled out for a foul. With overtime starting at 11 p.m. PT (1 a.m. in Houston) after two light failures, the Dynamo seemed to lose steam and surrendered goals to Gregg Berhalter and Landon Donovan (penalty kick) and fell one game short of reaching the MLS Cup final.
The Houston Dynamo fell 2-0 in extra time to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Western Conference final Friday night in Carson, Calif., with the Dynamo's season ending at 11:29 p.m. PT (1:29 a.m. CT) after a marathon of more than three hours. Houston had several chances in the second half of regulation to get a goal, including an 80th-minute header from Andrew Hainault that was disallowed for a foul that appeared inadvertent, and hit the post twice in the loss.
The Dynamo reached the conference final for the third time in four years but fell short of a return trip to MLS Cup. Houston drops to 2-1 all-time in conference championship games, losing its first conference final that was played on the road. Los Angeles hosted the game due to its head-to-head advantage over the Dynamo during the regular season.
The Galaxy scored the first goal against the Dynamo in the 2009 postseason -- after 313 minutes -- in the 103rd minute of today's game, when a David Beckham free kick was not cleared, and Galaxy defender Gregg Berhalter poked it into the net from close range. Los Angeles added a penalty kick from Landon Donovan in the 109th minute to seal the win and its first Western Conference title since the 2005 season, when the Galaxy won MLS Cup as a No. 8 seed.
Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad made three saves in the first half to keep the game scoreless, including a close-range stop on Mike Magee in the fourth minute and a save on a David Beckham free kick in the 27th minute. Onstad finished with four saves. His counterpart, Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, finished with five saves, including tipping Brian Ching's 79th-minute header into the crossbar.
The game was delayed for about 18 minutes twice, once in the 18th minute and once in the 51st minute, due to light failures. It was the second Dynamo game this season delayed due to a light failure. The first came August 26 in La Chorrera, Panama, when Houston's Champions League game against Árabe Unido was delayed. That game ended in a 1-1 tie.
The Dynamo dominated the second half and had numerous chances to take the lead, with their best coming in the 80th minute, when defender Andrew Hainault headed in a corner kick, but the goal was disallowed for a foul on the play.
The Dynamo played without defenders Mike Chabala (yellow card accumulation) and Richard Mulrooney (disabled list)
Houston Dynamo vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
November 13, 2009 -- The Home Depot Center, Carson CA
Western Conference final
LA -- Gregg Berhalter 1 (unassisted) 103
LA -- Landon Donovan 3 (penalty kick) 109
Houston Dynamo -- Pat Onstad, Andrew Hainault, Geoff Cameron, Bobby Boswell, Wade Barrett, Brian Mullan (Corey Ashe 82), Ricardo Clark, Stuart Holden, Brad Davis (Eddie Robinson 96), Brian Ching, Dominic Oduro (Luis Angel Landin 72).
Substitutes Not Used: Tally Hall, Ryan Cochrane, Craig Waibel, Cam Weaver.
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter, A.J. DeLaGarza, Chris Klein (Jovan Kirovski 63), Dema Kovalenko, David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle (Alan Gordon 96), Mike Magee (Eddie Lewis 101).
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Saunders, Chris Birchall, Bryan Jordan, Yohance Marshall.
HOU -- Brian Mullan (caution; Reckless Tackle) 26
LA -- Dema Kovalenko (caution; Reckless Tackle) 77
LA -- Landon Donovaon (caution; Reckless Tackle) 89
HOU -- Bobby Boswell (caution; Reckless Foul) 111
HOU -- Luis Angel Landin (caution; Reckless Foul) 119
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: Thomas Supple; Darren Clark
4th official: Paul Ward
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial