CARSON, Calif. – The scoreline may look worse than it did in last year's final against the LA Galaxy, but the Houston Dynamo feel a lot better about what they did in Saturday's night's 3-1 loss in MLS Cup 2012.
"I think this year is different from last year. To be honest I don’t know whether I want to cry or throw up," manager Dominic Kinnear said in the postgame press conference. "We played well. Last year you can hold your hand up and say we really didn’t get it going. We played well today. We gave ourselves a chance to win the game. That’s the tough part."
Houston controlled large portions of the match, pushing the Galaxy like few teams have in these playoffs. In fact, the Dynamo feel they looked better on the day and were significantly improved over last year's 1-0 loss in the final.
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“I think we outplayed them, but it doesn’t matter how you outplay teams,” defender Bobby Boswell told MLSsoccer.com. “We’ve been outplayed on the road this year and some places and we got results. Tonight they got the result and credit to LA.
“I definitely think it stings more this year than last year for sure because we were so close in some regards to putting the game out of reach.”
The pill is a bitter one because the first 60 minutes went exactly the way the Dynamo wanted.
The visitors were winning the midfield battle, a Boswell-led defense was shutting down the Galaxy’s counter attacks and Calen Carr scored a 44th-minute goal, leading an attack that had the usually stout LA defense somewhat rattled.
Then things went downhill. Minutes after missing a header that would have given Houston a two goal lead, Carr left the game with a left knee injury in the 59th minute. LA pounced and thanks to an Omar Gonzalez header that gave LA life and Landon Donovan penalty kick had reversed the score line and the game in the matter of six minutes.
“It’s a better feeling because we were closer to it and it felt like we could’ve deserved to walk away with a win,” Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall said. "However, because we didn’t, I guess it makes it worse in a sense.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.