Once again, the Houston Dynamo look ready to roll in the MLS Cup Playoffs. No matter how their regular season goes -- and this year it did not go well -- by the time the postseason comes, they find their best form. This year, the Montreal Impact were their first victims as the Dynamo completely obliterated them in a 3-0 play-in match win that sets them up for a conference semifinal tie against the New York Red Bulls.
Montreal actually came out on the front foot and could have gone ahead early, but Marco Di Vaio was caught offside on a few chances and they went by the wayside. Unfortunately for them, the first 10 minutes ended and they would never get back in the match.
Will Bruin put the Dynamo in front after 16 minutes, when Matteo Ferrari missed when attempting to intercept a pass, allowing Ricardo Clark to run at goal. He did and when the defense stepped to him, he backheeled the ball right into the path of Bruin, who rifled his shot home.
Oscar Boniek Garcia doubled the Houston lead from the spot after Hernan Bernardello hacked him down just inside the penalty area, and Montreal was all but dead. It was a clinical penalty for Garcia and the Impact implosion was underway.
For the rest of the match, the Impact failed to put anything together. Their passing was horrific and the Dynamo could have gone up by five or six goals. Things only got worse for Montreal in the 70th minute when Nelson Rivas, who spent the entire match coming in on late tackles and throwing elbows, was shown his second yellow card and the door.
Two minutes later, Bruin notched his second goal of the match and it turned into a party for Houston. They were on their way to the conference semifinals and, they hope, their third straight MLS Cup final.
Montreal managed to make things even uglier late in the match when Andres Romero fouled Kofi Sarkodie then, after the ref had whistled for a foul, kicked a prone Sarkodie. He was shown a red card for it and after a bit of a skirmish, Di Vaio was too for putting his hands on the neck of an opponent. it was a terrible end to a horrific match for Montreal, who became the latest team to be undone by Houston in the playoffs.
Hall, Sarkodie, Boswell, Brunner, Ashe, García, Creavalle, Clark, Davis, Barnes, Bruin.
Goals: Bruin 16', Garcia 27', Bruin 72'
Perkins, Brovsky, Ferrari, Rivas, Camara, Bernardello, Warner, Pisanu, Wenger, Mapp, Di Vaio
Red cards: Rivas 70', Romero 89', Di Vaio 89'