HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo clinched second place in the Eastern Conference with a 3-1 victory over a reserve-laden LA Galaxy lineup in the final MLS regular-season game of 2011 in front of 30,018 fans at Robertson Stadium on Sunday.
With goals from Adam Moffat, Bobby Boswell and Carlo Costly, the Dynamo took care of their business against an LA side that took advantage of having clinched the Supporters’ Shield by resting all of their regulars except goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
After a sluggish start for both teams, Moffat started the fireworks hitting a sterling strike from 38 yards out to give the Dynamo a 1-0 lead. In a pack of Galaxy and Dynamo players, Moffat found a sliver of space and took his chance with a rocket to the upper 90 to beat an outstretched Ricketts.
The score line held until just minutes after halftime when Boswell hit a seeing-eye grounder past a frozen Ricketts in the 48th minute. Moffat was credited with an assist for heading down Brad Davis’ free kick to the defender, who took his chance well.
Costly got in on the act in the 74th minute heading home an excellent Davis cross – who clinched the MLS assist title on the play with 16 on the year – for the third and final goal and salt away a victory. The Honduran national-teamer found space at the back post and rose above Dasan Robinson to open his MLS account.
For LA, it was a night to get their reserves some action and stay away from injuries before the playoffs. Sean Franklin returned for his first minutes since Sept. 9 and 16-year-old Jack McBean made his MLS debut, starting up top with Jovan Kirovski.
LA challenged Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall just once on the night, but made it count two minutes from the final whistle when Chad Barrett set up McBean inside the 18-yard-box. The youngster hit a hard right-footed shot past Hall to punctuate his MLS debut with a goal.
With the victory, Houston finish the season with 49 points and book a conference semifinal series against the Philadelphia Union – with the first game on Oct. 29 PPL Park. LA finish the season with 67 points and will await the lowest wild card seed for their conference semifinal matchup.
HOU -- Adam Moffat 2 (unassisted) 27
HOU -- Bobby Boswell 5 (Adam Moffat 2) 48
HOU -- Carlo Costly 1 (Brad Davis 16) 74
LA -- Jack McBean 1 (Chad Barrett 5) 88
HOU -- Andre Hainault (caution; Reckless Foul) 43
HOU -- Danny Cruz (caution; Reckless Foul) 44
LA -- Jovan Kirovski (caution; Reckless Foul) 49
HOU -- Carlo Costly (caution; Shirt Removal) 75
LA Galaxy -- Donovan Ricketts, Frankie Hejduk (Ryan Thomas 76), Gregg Berhalter, Dasan Robinson, A.J. DeLaGarza, Hector Jimenez, Chris Birchall, Dan Keat, Michael Stephens, Jovan Kirovski (Chad Barrett 62), Jack McBean.
Substitutes Not Used: Paolo Cardozo, Sean Franklin, Juninho, Miguel Lopez, Brian Perk.
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Corey Ashe, Danny Cruz (Colin Clark 81), Luiz Camargo, Adam Moffat, Brad Davis, Brian Ching (Carlo Costly 63), Calen Carr (Will Bruin 76).
Substitutes Not Used: Hunter Freeman, Jermaine Taylor, Je-Vaughn Watson, Tyler Deric.
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee's Assistants: Greg Barkey; Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Jasen Anno
Time of Game: 1:46
Weather: Cloudy and 81 degrees