Three of four higher seeds move on
traded from the Galaxy earlier in the year -- but he couldn't clear the ball quickly enough and Tyrone Marshall lunged in to stab the ball home and put the home side ahead.
At Arrowhead Stadium, a dramatic strike from Jack Jewsbury two minutes deep into second-half stoppage time gave the Wizards their vital third goal, knocking out defending MLS champion San Jose Earthquakes with a 3-0 victory in the second leg, winning the series 3-2 on aggregate after the first-match loss at Spartan Stadium.
Surprise starter Khari Stephenson -- who did not start a game during the regular season -- gave the Wizards an all-important early goal in the 26th minute when he hit a quick shot on the turn from the spot after a desperate poke from Jewsbury in the Quakes penalty area kept the ball alive.
Then just after the break, the Wizards got the second on the night to tie the series on aggregate, through a little misfortune. After a half-clearance, Alex Zotinca looped the ball back into the mixer and with Kansas City defender Jimmy Conrad on his back, San Jose striker Brian Ching's desperate clearance attempt screwed off his boot and into his own goal.
The Wizards then provided the Earthquakes a dose of their own medicine after last year's MLS Cup Playoffs dramatics, Igor Simutenkov slipping a little angled ball to Jewsbury inside the restraining arc, the second-year midfielder lashing a low drive off the inside of Pat Onstad's right-hand post and behind the Earthquakes 'keeper for the series decider.
The Wizards and Galaxy have seen their rivalry become a little more heated over the past few seasons, Kansas City beginning to claim a bit of the upper hand with wins in five of their last league meetings, including two (and two ties) this year. The teams have met in the MLS Cup Playoffs three times (twice in the Western Conference Final) with the Galaxy winning twice, the winner each time advancing to the MLS Cup Final.
At RFK Stadium, D.C. United did just what they had to do to advance to their first Eastern Conference Final in five seasons. Holding a 2-0 lead from the first leg at Giants Stadium, they soaked up the MetroStars pressure for 85 minutes before exploding for two goals in four minutes for a second 2-0 win and 4-0 series victory on aggregate.
The visitors came close on a few occasions over the bulk of the match, but were kept in check by a tough-tackling United in front of goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
Then United killed off the match late, Freddy Adu playing provider on the first after he dribbled down the left flank before driving a low cross into the goalmouth that found Jaime Moreno at the back post for an easy finish into a wide-open net.
Then in the 89th minute, Dema Kovalenko ripped a wickedly bending free kick over the wall from just outside the area that came down off the underside of the crossbar and off the back of MetroStars 'keeper Jonny Walker. United defender Bryan Namoff raced in to sweep the ball home for his first-ever goal in MLS competition.
At Crew Stadium on Sunday, Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis singlehandedly knocked the Columbus Crew out of the postseason, saving a pair of penalty kicks as the two teams battled to a 1-1 draw, the 2004 Supporters Shield winners going out 2-1 on aggregate after a New England first-leg win at Gillette Stadium.
Reis was called upon to make a few vital stops in the first half, but none bigger than in the 25th minute. The Revolution took down Kyle Martino when the Columbus attacker had rounded his defender after Martino intercepted a poorly-struck back pass. But the resulting penalty Ross Paule was stopped by a great diving save by Reis to his left, the first penalty in 21 attempts in league and MLS Cup play the Crew had missed.
After a long period of sustained pressure, the Crew won a second penalty midway through the second half, when Jeff Cunningham was bundled over by Revolution defender Avery John. But Tony Sanneh's spot kick was not well hit, Reis diving to his right to easily grab the effort.
It was just the third time in MLS history a goalkeeper had saved two penalties in one match, the first time in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Taylor Twellman gleefully pounded home a pass from Andy Dorman after he skipped through the Columbus defense to give the Revs a 1-0 lead on the night and double their lead on aggregate after 81 minutes, but the Crew responded two minutes into added time as Edson Buddle latched onto a long ball from Sanneh and slotted home past Reis. Yet it wasn't enough as the Revolution became the lowest seed to advance to a conference final since the Colorado Rapids in 1997.
United owned the season series between the two teams this season, winning two of the four league meetings with the other two matches ending in draws. They've met just one previously in the MLS Cup Playoffs, United winning an Eastern Conference Semifinal matchup on their way to a second MLS Cup title in 1997.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.