D.C. United tied 1-1 against the visiting Houston Dynamo and lost 4-2 in the aggregate goal count to bow out of the MLS Cup 2012 race.
At the end of the day, the mountain was just too high to climb for the Black-and-Red in their matchup against the Houston Dynamo. Mounting injuries, untimely suspensions and a boatload of logistical issues made United’s playoff run to the Cup rather difficult as they came up against a veteran playoff experienced team in Houston (in spite of their #5 seeding) that was at full strength and has arguably the best coach in MLS on their sideline in Dom Kinnear.
Oscar Boniek Garcia’s 33rd minute goal against the run of play essentially sealed United’s fate as it gave the visitors a 4-1 aggregate lead. With United needing three goals to just extend the match to extra time and the fact that Houston is one of the most disciplined and suffocating defensive teams in MLS, the task was just too tall considering the lack of options United had due to injuries (Chris Pontius) and suspension (Andy Najar).
However, that did not deflate United as they were backed by a season-high crowd of 20,015 fans decked out in all black. The energy of the crowd ensured that United would not give up until the final whistle and Branko Boskovic made it interesting in the 83rd minute with a well-crafted run through the Dynamo defense to level the match at 1-1.
United had a handful of chances throughout the second half that could have made the game much more interesting including efforts from Robbie Russell, Maicon Santos and a few from Hamdi Salihi.
However, the it was the visitors from Houston who proved their class over the two legs and they deservedly pushed past United to MLS Cup where they will face the Los Angeles Galaxy in a rematch from last season’s season ending game.
To sum up a memorable season seemingly against all odds, this is what UnitedMania saw:
- A fan base that, once again, outdid themselves – What a tifo!
- A team that refuses to quit
- A young Coach that has molded a group of guys in his image, this team IS Ben Olsen – He IS the coach of the year
- The Rookie of the Year, If Nick doesn’t get it MLS is flat out wrong
- A City that desperately needs a Soccer Specific Stadium
- A tie, that sent United out of the play-offs but that showed MLS that the Eagle is rising again – We can hope for the shield and the cup next year
- And then these, a few shots form under the clock…