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MLS Playoffs: Houston vs. DC United (Match Day Commentary)

After upsetting the top seed in the Eastern Conference, the Houston Dynamo will look to extend their success in the playoffs over the last two seasons, as they play host to D.C. United today at BBVA Compass Stadium (4 PM EST, NBC Sports).

After making last year’s MLS Cup, the Dynamo have their sights set on making a return to the championship game, even after narrowly making the playoffs this season.

To do so, they will have to stop a D.C. United team that advanced after shocking the New York Red Bulls thanks to a late Nick DeLeon goal at Red Bull Arena on Thursday night. The victory did not come without a price, though, as goalkeeper Bill Hamid was given a red card after taking down Red Bulls forward Kenny Cooper in the second half. With that red card, Hamid was shown the door, and was replaced by Joe Willis, who will play in Hamid’s spot again this afternoon.

This playoff and late-season run has all occurred without Dwayne De Rosario, who went down with a knee injury in September, yet Ben Olsen’s club has yet to lose a match since losing the reigning MLS MVP. While De Rosario has been practicing with the team, he will not be featured in today’s lineup, as he continues to rehab his injury.

On the other side, Dominic Kinnear has done his own masterful job of coaching, following a 2-1 aggregate win over Sporting Kansas City. Forward Will Bruin has certainly helped matters, having scored three goals in three playoff games. Houston will certainly be comfortable starting the series at home, much like the last series, as they have yet to lose at home this season in 21 matches at BBVA Compass Stadium.

SBI will be providing live commentary on today’s playoff games so please feel free to follow along with the action here. As always, feel free to send questions our way, and share your own thoughts and opinions in the comments section below. You can also follow our comments on Twitter at @soccerbyives.

Enjoy the action (Match Commentary is after the jump):


  1. DC United should have won this game, but they lost concentration defensively and gave the game away. No one to blame, but themselves. DC United is really the more talented team. It’s a shame they failed to show their strength.

  2. How can MLS expect to gain traction as a legitimate league when the refs are this terrible? I try to be a fan, but it’s unwatchable. I’ll stick to EPL, Champs League and USMNT…

    • I’m a Houston fan and will agree that DCU was hard done by that ref, but you’re kidding yourself if you think there aren’t just as many equally bad decisions made on a daily basis in those leagues.

      • You’re right that there are certainly some poor decisions in the other leagues, but this is a weekly topic in MLS. Consistency of officiating elsewhere is 10x higher than what we see in MLS.

      • Yep. Refs screw up all the time. Happens. And then compound it by throwing a card to the bench. Stuff happens. But doesn’t it seem like you hear the name Ricardo Salazar just a wee bit too much? I know that the marquee match is in LA tonight, but you’d expect the best at a semi, right? Refs with constant drama shouldn’t be working this late in the year. That said, the refs are getting consistently better. That call, correctly made, changes this series.if it had been anyone but Agusto, I think he makes the call, but a guy with four minutes of MLS experience never gets it. Them’s the breaks.

      • I agree… I cringe when I hear any MLS referee’s name… I’m not sure how the same 5 guys or so can make it to every match I watch, though!

  3. Referee caused a 2-3 goal swing in that game. But, losing Saragosa hurt more than anything. DCU has been battling this year, but they were up against injuries and the refs tonight.

    • What? They ejected the coach for arguing. In fact that’s why Olsen had Onstad do it for him, so he wouldn’t get ejected himself.
      If that’s all it takes for you to ask “fixed game?” you need some sense slapped into you…

    • I won’t lie… I’ve got a Houston bias, but I think that’s a red 2 out of 3 times and a yellow the other 1/3. A case can be made that Pajoy’s taking the time to stiff arm Hainault means he wasn’t focused on the ball, and that drops it to a yellow.

      That said, should have been a yellow and a free kick at MINIMUM. I’ll take it though… I know DCU’s had a hard run of refereeing this cycle, but so has EVERY team.

      • OK… I’ll say 99/100 times that’s a pretty clear red, after rewatching.

        I think a legitimate explanation for the non-call (other than OMG ANTI-DCU BIAS!!!111) is that the from the referee’s view of the situation what happened was misleading.

        Pajoy leads with his arm and out-muscles Hainault, but the ref can’t see the armlock Hainault takes because the players’ bodies are in the way, and it LOOKS like Pajoy shoves him down and then trips.

      • An attacker putting his palm on your chest, is basically an f u for a defender, his arm will get grabbed or locked up every time. If you throw a stiff arm to gain advantage, you get what you deserve..ref probably saw it that way and let them play…not a popular opinion.

  4. What a dumb comment.

    No, the coach doesn’t have to trust the player when he says he has to play in a game. If he has an injury that can very easily be worsened by playing (groin), you sit the player regardless of what they say.

    Real smart Olsen, real smart. Awful coach.


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