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The Houston Dynamo were fine. A 1-0 loss at Giants Stadium wouldn’t have been the end of the world because the Dynamo lost the opening leg of the Western Conference Semifinal Series in each of the last two years only to go on and lift the MLS Cup trophy.
“We’ve all been in this situation before and we came out of out it,” Dwayne De Rosario said. “Being 1-0 down, we were willing to take that and go back to our place. All we needed to do was score one goal and our record at home speaks for itself.”
Instead, the Dynamo are thrilled to head back to Robertson Stadium with a 1-1 draw thanks to a Kei Kamara toe-poke five minutes from full time.
“The last two years we’ve been down a goal going home,” Stuart Holden said. “For us to get a draw on a surface that historically we haven’t done so well on is a positive result for us. We’ve done well at home this season and we have to feel confident going back with a draw and hopefully we can take care of business Sunday.”
Indeed, the Dynamo have never beaten the Red Bulls at Giants Stadium and are 0-6-6 in MLS games on the artificial surface. Conversely, they are 10-1-4 at home this season so it’s understandable that the Dynamo are confident going into the second leg.
“Look at the experience in this locker room and the number of championships between us,” Holden said. “That’s the thing with this team, we never give up and never panic so even if it was down 1-0 we wouldn’t have thought it was the end of the season.”
Wade Barrett served a ball into the box from the left side that was tapped by Holden to Kamara, who put the ball through the legs of Red Bulls defender Diego Jimenez and past rookie goalkeeper Danny Cepero.
“We’ve been doing this drill at training where the coach plays us the ball from the end line, we’re standing down by the six and it’s quick touch and hit, quick touch and hit,” Kamara said. “When that ball came, that was all I was thinking about – touch and hit.”
De Rosario sat in the visitor’s locker room at Giants Stadium resting his iced right leg on a chair. Geoff Cameron replaced the Canadian international seven minutes from full time in a physical match that saw three first-half bookings and 32 combined fouls.
“That’s playoffs, it’s got to be like that,” De Rosario said. “This is what you play for, everyone wants to be at the grand finale and everyone is giving 100 percent. I don’t think anything was malicious or dirty.”
Now the Dynamo heads to Robertson Stadium where they lost just once this season, while the Red Bulls have one road win on the season.
“You look at the draw, does it favor us?” Dynamo coach Dominick Kinnear asked. “In a way, but only on paper because you still have to play the game.”