The Houston Dynamo advanced to their fourth conference championship game in six seasons with a 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union on Thursday night at Robertson Stadium, completing a 3-1 aggregate victory in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Houston will take on Sporting Kansas City on Sunday in Kansas City, Kan., with the kickoff time still to be announced.
Dynamo all-time leading scorer Brian Ching scored the game’s only goal in first-half stoppage time, heading in a free kick from MLS assist king Brad Davis. The goal was Ching’s eighth career playoff goal – five have come at Robertson Stadium – and lifted the Dynamo to the 100th win in club history in all competitions (100-72-75). Davis has now recorded assists in four consecutive games and five of his last six to run his season total to 18 in all competitions, plus a 19th in an in-season friendly.
The Dynamo extended their unbeaten streak to eight games (6-0-2) and are now 9-2-4 in their last 15 games. The unbeaten streak is the longest since an 11-game regular-season unbeaten streak from April 19-June 20, 2009.
Houston is now 6-1 all-time in home playoff games, including a 4-1 record in the second leg of conference semifinal series. The Dynamo are now 8-4-3 all-time in playoff games.
The conference championship game matchup between Houston and Kansas City is a rematch of the 2007 Western Conference championship game, which the Dynamo won 2-0 at Robertson Stadium en route to a second consecutive MLS Cup title.
In Thursday’s game, Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall needed only four saves to record the shutout, his seventh of the season, running Houston’s shutout streak in the series to 173 minutes. Hall’s biggest stop came in the 59th minute, when he dove to his left to stop a long-range shot from Veljko Paunovic and did not allow a rebound. The shutout is the fifth playoff shutout in Dynamo history in 15 games.
Houston defender Corey Ashe made his 100th career start for the Dynamo in all competitions, the 13th player in club history and the second this season (along with Geoff Cameron) to reach that milestone. Midfielder Brad Davis played in his 199th career game for Houston, while defender Bobby Boswell made his 140th career start for the Dynamo. Forward Brian Ching played in his 20th career playoff game. Midfielder Danny Cruz tied a career high with his 16th start of the season.
The Dynamo played without forward Cam Weaver (right hip surgery).
Next Match: Sunday, November 6, Dynamo at Sporting Kansas City, LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan., 4:30 p.m. CT (Eastern Conference final)