Houston Dynamo 2-2 New York Red Bulls
First half goals from Tim Cahill and Eric Alexander helped the New York Red Bulls, who played over 25 minutes down a man, to a 2-2 road tie against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium in the teams’ first leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinals Series Sunday afternoon.
Omar Cummings scored an equalizing goal in second-half stoppage time as the Houston Dynamo and New York Red Bulls played to a thrilling 2-2 draw in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Red Bulls will host the second leg of the aggregate score series on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT at Red Bull Arena.
If the Dynamo win Wednesday’s second leg in Harrison, N.J., they will advance to the Eastern Conference Championship for the third straight season.
After securing two wins at BBVA Compass Stadium this season, the Red Bulls gained another early lead as Thierry Henry delivered a pinpoint cross from near the corner and Tim Cahill rose between two Houston defenders to head New York into a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute.
Ten minutes later, the Red Bulls added a second goal. After a spell of sustained Dynamo pressure, the Red Bulls gained possession and Eric Alexander led the counterattack, playing a short pass to Dax McCarty, who sent a long forward ball to Cahill. The Australian fed Alexander, who drove into the box, cut the ball back, and used his left foot to slide his shot inside the near post for a 2-0 lead.
Trailing 2-0 at halftime, Ricardo Clark brought the Dynamo halfway back six minutes into the second half. After Brad Davis sent a cross through the New York penalty area, Clark collected a Red Bull clearance at the edge of the box and drilled a low shot through traffic and into the net to make it 2-1 New York.
It was Clark’s second career MLS Cup Playoff goal and first since 2005. It was also Clark’s 14th career goal in all competitions with Houston to pass Nate Jaqua and tie Geoff Cameron for eighth on the club list.
14 minutes later, the Dynamo gained a man advantage when Davis played a forward ball to substitute forward Omar Cummings, who received a sliding challenge from New York defender Jamison Olave.
Referee Ricardo Salazar showed Olave a red card and the Red Bulls were reduced to 10 players for the remainder of the game.
Olave is suspended for Wednesday’s second leg at New York.
Up a man and down a goal, the Dynamo searched for the tying goal. It arrived from a corner kick in stoppage time.
Davis delivered the corner kick between the six-yard box and the penalty spot where it was met by Bobby Boswell, who directed a header on goal that required a diving save from Luis Robles. The rebound fell in front of goal, and Cummings drove it into the net for the tying goal.
It was Cummings’ first goal for the Dynamo this season after injuries forced the Jamaican to miss several parts of the season.
It was also Cummings’ second career playoff goal and first since 2011.
The late goal ensured Houston will travel to New York even in the two-game series. The club with more total goals from the two games wins the aggregate score series. The “away goals rule” used in some competitions does not apply in the MLS Cup Playoffs. The second leg is on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. CT at Red Bull Arena.
Sunday was the first home tie in Dynamo postseason history. Houston is now 9-1-1 in 11 home playoff games.