AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Houston Dynamo win 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

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Mauro Manotas’ first half goals were enough to lead Houston Dynamo to their first Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title.

The home Dynamo bested the visiting Philadelphia Union 3-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium on Wednesday, handing the Union a third USOC Final loss since 2014.

Philadelphia saw an own goal from Auston Trusty in the 65th minute.

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The ball was in each goal twice in the first four minutes, but only the latter counted on the score board.

Philadelphia’s Fafa Picault headed over Joe Willis, but was offside.

At the other end, Alberth Elis’ cutback pass from the touch line was missed by Philly’s Jack Elliott and Andre Blake, with Manotas stooped to nod the opener into the goal.

He’d score another in the 25th, dribbling down Main Street to drive a low left-footed shot past Blake, off the post, and into the goal.

Elis scores twice as Dynamo beat Fire 3-2

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (AP) Alberth Elis scored two second-half goals to help the Houston Dynamo beat the Chicago Fire 3-2 on Sunday for their first road win of the season.

Elis, on a one-on-one breakaway, cut back to evade defender Johan Kappelhof and ripped a right-footer from the center of the box into the back of the net to give Houston (4-3-3) a 3-2 lead in the 74th minute.

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The Dynamo’s Romell Quioto opened the scoring in the fourth, running onto a long through ball from Tomas Martinez and rolling the finish past sliding goalkeeper Richard Sanchez. Nemanja Nikolic tied it in the 14th minute and then fed Diego Campos for a goal about two minutes later. Elis converted from the spot to make it 2-2 early in the second half after Mauro Manotas drew a foul in the area conceded by Sanchez.

Chicago (3-6-2) has lost three of its last four games.

 

MLS Conference Finals: Toronto, Seattle on collision course?

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The ties are leaning away from the underdog stories as the MLS Cup Conference Finals reach their second legs.

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Reigning champs Seattle are 90 minutes away from a return to the final after scoring a pair of away goals in Texas, while Toronto needs a win at home to bring out the fine china for a rematch of the 2016 title game at BMO Field.

Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew — 7:30 p.m. ET Wednesday
Scoreless after one leg

The good news for Columbus Crew is that a scoring draw is good enough to take them through to a second MLS Cup Final in three seasons under Gregg Berhalter, taking the embarrassment of owner Anthony Precourt’s public desire to relocate an MLS original club to Austin, Texas.

The bad news? That scoring draw has to come at noisy BMO Field against the team with the best record in MLS history, a Toronto FC bunch which will be welcoming Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco back to the fold after suspension.

Columbus has veteran savvy and some wild cards like Pedro Santos, but it’s going to take a lot of defending to handle TFC’s field-switching work and busy full backs (let alone Altidore and Giovinco).

Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo — 10:30 p.m. ET Thursday
Seattle leads 2-0

Clint Dempsey is among the most important and accomplished players in American history, and his work since returning to Major League Soccer certainly ticks a lot of boxes: influential, clutch, prolific.

He’s helped the Sounders to an almost insurmountable advantage. At home for the second leg, the Sounders can make Houston’s task near impossible just by scoring a goal.

That said, Wilmer Cabrera is a heck of a coach and has assets that can attack and fire at will. While it may be improbable for Alberth Elis and Erick Torres to spring a massive comeback in Washington, it’s not quite impossible. That’s about as much as we can give the orange-clad men from Texas.

Houston 0-0 Portland: Attinella keeps 1st leg level (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): A pair of first half penalty shouts, one taken back and another not given, were the stories of the frame as both Houston and Portland were denied attempts from the spot. More concerning for Portland was the pre-half injury to Diego Chara, who appeared to suffer a non-contact leg injury. The Timbers were on the back foot for plenty of the second half, calling upon goalkeeper Jeff Attinella several times, though the introduction of Jeremy Ebobisse at least temporarily gave them some life. Plenty of time on social media was spent on Houston’s turf, which has not had kind hurricane, soccer, and football seasons. The second leg is Nov. 5 at what will be a raucous Providence Park.

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The moments that mattered

31′ — Houston penalty overturned — There’s good debate as to whether VAR should’ve been called into this bang-bang call, but Houston’s chance for a first half lead from the spot was taken back when it was ruled Alberth Elis was not fouled by Portland’s Larrys Mabiala.

42′ — No penalty given to Portland — Why wasn’t VAR called upon here, where Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric certainly appears to scythe down Portland’s Darren Mattocks.

56′ — Forget away goals, just keep it clean — Jeff Attinella was under fire in the second half. Similar to Alex Bono in the other Monday first leg, the Timbers keeper was a big part of the away effort.

Man of the Match: Attinella.

Elis scores in extra time, Dynamo top Sporting KC 1-0

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HOUSTON (AP) — Alberth Elis scored his 11th goal of the season in the 94th minute and the Houston Dynamo made it stand in the second extra period for a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City on Thursday night.

Houston, which is undefeated in its last seven games, advanced to the Western Conference semifinals to face the Portland Timbers.

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Vicente Sanchez dribbled alone along the right side, cut back his defender to get inside the 18-yard box near the end line and found Elis alone at the penalty spot for a calm finish.

The Dynamo improved to 13-1-4 at home this season.

Sporting KC, winless in its last six matches, was again without one of its best players in goalkeeper Tim Melia, who went down with a hamstring injury on Oct. 7. Backup Andrew Dykstra started his fourth game of the season and denied Sanchez’s penalty kick on the final play of the game.

Houston was without 30-game starter A.J. DeLaGarza due to an injury last Sunday.