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Dynamo clinch top seed in West with win over Galaxy

Oct 19, 2008 - 4:46 AM By Jeremy Rakes PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- The Houston Dynamo can call themselves Western Conference champions.

Bryan Jordan sparked an early offensive outburst and the Dynamo clinched the top seed in the West with a 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.

"I'm very proud of this team for their climb through the Western Conference, and I'm also proud because now we are tied with Chicago (31) with the least number of goals allowed," Houston coach Dominic Kinnear said. "We've had a really excellent second half to the season, but we still have some work to do.

"I'm really happy for the team for the work they have put in because to be the Western Conference champions is a great achievement."

Jordan opened the scoring in the 15th minute. Nate Jaqua crossed a pass from the right side toward the middle box and after Brian Ching failed on a bicycle kick, the ball bounced through to Jordan, who capitalized by beating goaltender Josh Saunders.

In the 20th minute, Dwayne De Rosario increased the lead when Jaqua fired a cross from the right side into a group of Los Angeles defenders. De Rosario came through the crowd in front of the box and kicked the ball into the left side of the net for his 50th career tally.

"We can rest players against Chivas and focus on the first round of the playoffs," De Rosario said. "We just continue to form and continue the consistency. Going up 3-0 in the first 23 minutes, you couldn't ask for more. We just are looking for results. It means we can do it again."

Ching capped the scoring three minutes later after beating Saunders on a one-on-one exchange.

"Feels great," Ching said. "We haven't won a conference title in a while, so that was one of our goals at the beginning of the season to accomplish that.

"The past couple games we have been able to score early and often and then hold on. We have a lot of games coming up here. Give credit to the guys. Give credit to the offense. We want to continue playing well and carry it on into the playoffs."

Dynamo goaltender Pat Onstad finished with five saves to record his 50th career shutout.

"There were segments in the first half where we were just physically manhandled," Los Angeles coach Bruce Arena said. "It wasn't as much about the soccer as it was about running harder, competing better. The first two goals were mishaps. They were more alert, more physical, more aggressive."

Houston (13-5-11) has entered the playoffs as the West's No. 2 seed each of the past two seasons, but that hasn't stopped the Dynamo from earning back-to-back league championships in their first two years since the franchise relocated from San Jose.

"One of the problems with this team is that we don't play not to win, so I will be shocked if we don't come out next week against Chivas and try to win that one," Houston defenseman Craig Waibel said. "It's important for the organization because we have never won the Western Conference, so it was important for us to get this."

The Galaxy (8-13-8), who were eliminated from playoff contention with the defeat, were without suspended star David Beckham.

"It's disappointing," Los Angeles midfielder Eddie Lewis said. "We put a lot into the season and wanted to give ourselves a chance going into the last game.

"At least since I've been here, it seems like in every game within 15 minutes, the other team has two or three or four chances and whether the other team scores or not is different every game. Given the amount of chances that we allow early on in games, it's almost suicidal."

The two teams played to a 2-2 tie in Los Angeles on April 19, and the Galaxy are 2-1-1 in their last four visits to Houston, including a 2-1 victory last October 7.

"They came out and dominated us physically for the first half hour," Los Angeles forward Landon Donovan said. "We were maybe a bit unlucky with some of the bounces, but give them credit, they came out very well. I actually thought we started the game fairly well, but once they got a couple of chances, they made us pay."

  • MLS

    Oct 18 10:30 PM

  • MLS

    Oct 18 9:26 PM

    HOUSTON GOAL: Brian Ching in the 23rd minute

    Galaxy 0, Dynamo 3  23'Oct 18 9:03 PM

    HOUSTON GOAL: Dwayne De Rosario in the 20th minute

    Galaxy 0, Dynamo 2  20'Oct 18 8:59 PM

    HOUSTON OWN GOAL: Bryan Jordan in the 14th minute

    Galaxy 0, Dynamo 1  14'Oct 18 8:59 PM