D.C knockout Red Bulls, Sounders through

Fri Nov 9, 2012 12:52am EST
 
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By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - A dramatic 88th minute winner from rookie Nick DeLeon gave D.C. United a 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference semi-finals on Thursday.

In the Western Conference, the Seattle Sounders go through to face the L.A. Galaxy after stunning Real Salt Lake 1-0 in Utah thanks to a superbly struck goal from Honduran Mario Martinez making his first league start.

In New Jersey, a thrilling second half of a clash which was rescheduled after snow on Wednesday saw two red cards and a missed twice-taken penalty by New York striker Kenny Cooper.

D.C., who won the tie 2-1 on aggregate after their 1-1 draw at home on Saturday, will now face the Houston Dynamo over two-legs for a place in the title-deciding MLS Cup on December 1.

The Red Bulls had the better of the opening hour with former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry forcing two good saves out of D.C. keeper Bill Hamid.

But the game looked to have turned towards New York when Cooper went down in the area, under challenge from Hamid, resulting in a penalty and red card for the keeper.

The keeper angrily protested that Cooper had leapt over him but there was another twist as the New York forward converted the spot-kick but referee Mark Geiger spotted encroachment by two Red Bulls players and ordered the kick retaken.

To the delight of the traveling D.C fans, substitute keeper Joe Willis then dived low to save the retaken penalty and keep the scores level.   Continued...