MLS Knockout Round Recap: Dallas, New York Advance

IMAGE, FCDALLAS.COM

Late winners were the theme of Major League Soccer’s knockout round this past week. In Dallas, controversy surrounded a decisive penalty for the home side. In New York, the ultimate scoring machine did what he does best.

Now the two home sides will have to prepare to host their conference semifinal legs on short rest.

FC Dallas 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps

Mark Geiger has been the center of a lot of controversy since returning from the World Cup. On Wednesday night, he awarded FC Dallas a crucial late penalty when the ball bounced up against Kendall Waston’s arm, which was by his side. Vancouver protested, but Michel buried the penalty to knock the Whitecaps out of the playoffs.

Vancouver had fought back into the game after falling behind in the first half. Tesho Akindele scored late in the first half to give Dallas the lead, and it looked like the Whitecaps’ scoring woes would haunt them again. Carl Robinson brought Kekuta Manneh on, and received almost instant results. After Mauro Rosales’ free kick was only partially cleared, Manneh fired a shot back into the box. It bounced its way to Erik Hurtado, who leveled the game.

The loss marks the second time in three seasons that Vancouver has fallen in the knockout round. None of MLS’s three Canadian teams have ever won a playoff game. For Dallas, it means they’ll host Seattle in the first leg of the conference semifinals on Sunday.

New York Red Bulls 2-1 Sporting Kansas City

Red Bulls supporters hoisted a tifo before the game that declared Bradley Wright Phillips as the ultimate scoring machine. He proved them right with two goals in a come from behind win over the defending MLS Cup Champions

After a first half in which New York had the best chances, Kansas City opened the scoring early in the second. Eric Alexander’s poor first touch was pounced on by Benny Feilhaber, who fed Dom Dwyer to give SKC the lead.

The Red Bulls seemed intent on disappointing the home fans again, and had a number of stunning misses in front of goal. But BWP equalized in the 77th minute, and the rest of the game belonged to New York. In the 90th minute, SKC’s defense made the puzzling mistake of allowing BWP to have a free header on a floating cross from Ambrose Oyongo. Wright-Phillips steered it just inside the far post to give RBNY the win.

For Sporting, it’s a sudden end to a title defense plagued by injuries. For New York, it’s their first playoff win at Red Bull Arena, and it moves them on to play DC United in the conference semis.