for this game

Dynamo, Red Bulls tie in first leg of conference semis

Nov 1, 2008 - 11:50 PM By Simon Lewis PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- A late goal by substitute Kei Kamara earned the defending MLS champion Houston Dynamo a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls in the first leg of their Western Conference semifinal at Giants Stadium on Saturday.

The fourth-seeded Red Bulls held the lead for much of the second half thanks to a headed goal by captain Juan Pablo Angel in the 48th minute. Dane Richards hit a goalpost and saw another shot cleared off the line as the home side sought to take a bigger advantage into next Sunday's second leg at Houston.

However, Kamara came off the bench and knotted the match with four minutes left on the clock, scoring from inside the box as New York's back line failed to clear a loose ball.

"Being down 1-0, especially so early in the second half, and for us to come back, I thought we looked dangerous at times," Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear said afterwards. "It was a tough game and good play by Kei to get his toe on it (for the goal) so we're happy with the tie.

"But a draw doesn't guarantee anything, and we would have loved to have gotten the win."

While Houston, which is the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference thanks to a 13-5-12 regular-season record, has not won at Giants Stadium in its three seasons as an MLS franchise, it is unbeaten against New York on home turf at Robertson Stadium, although Kinnear is expecting a more open game next Sunday.

"Whether we lost, 1-0, or drew, 1-1, our approach would be the same," he said. "We have to come out and put them under pressure right from the get-go and they have to win the game as well. So either team sitting back, I don't think that's going to enter anybody's mind."

Red Bulls captain Angel agreed with Houston's coach.

"We competed very well against the best team in the league," Angel said. "We should have won it and we failed, but there's still 90 minutes to go and we have to try and play a little bit more. The game should be more open for us, and we'll see. It's game on."

The Red Bulls, who limped into the playoffs as the second of two wild card spots despite a 10-11-9 record and a 5-2 loss at Chicago in their last game of the campaign, were in position to steal a win in the first leg after Angel's goal early in the second half.

Just three minutes after the break, Dave van den Bergh's throw-in down the left touchline found John Wolyniec, who swung a cross into the box. Angel beat Houston's Eddie Robinson to the ball and put a head on it at the six-yard line, past Dynamo netminder Pat Onstad for the opening goal of the match.

Houston nearly responded quickly, with Brad Davis sending a ball from the right to the far post to Nate Jaqua, who had his header stopped by goalkeeper Danny Cepero in the 52nd minute.

Back came New York, though, with Richards hitting the post and then seeing Brian Mulrooney clear his low shot off the line after Onstad had blocked an attempt by Wolyniec.

With the Dynamo staring at defeat, Kamara came on in the 66th minute and pounced on a loose ball after it struck fellow sub Stuart Holden to score in the 86th to deny New York the victory.

The first half saw three yellow cards handed out and plenty of physical play.

After Richards was booked for a reckless foul, Houston's Brian Mullan was also issued a yellow card in the 29th minute for unsportsmanlike conduct.

There was further bad blood when a clash of heads between New York defender Andrew Boyens and Jaqua left Boyens down on the field. Chris Leitch sought vengeance on the visiting striker, sparking a brief melee on the field which referee Kevin Stott was happy to let go unpunished.

Angel was issued a yellow card moments later after a similar aerial challenge sent Mulrooney crashing to the ground.

The teams will meet in the second leg of their playoff series on November 9 in Houston.

"Obviously, playing at home is helpful and, if we play the same as we did here, we should be OK," Kinnear said. "It's tough to come and play pretty soccer here, we knew New York would make it hard for us so we're just looking forward to getting home and playing well."


    Nov 1 6:00 PM

    HOUSTON GOAL: Kei Kamara in the 85th minute

    Dynamo 1, Red Bulls 1  2nd - 85'Nov 1 5:53 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 87 roots (Close Finish)

    Dynamo 1, Red Bulls 1  2nd - 85'Nov 1 5:53 PM

    NY RED BULLS GOAL: Juan Pablo Angel in the 49th minute

    Dynamo 0, Red Bulls 1  2nd - 49'Nov 1 5:16 PM


    Nov 1 4:57 PM