Major League Soccer Roundup, Oct. 25
Jeff Larentowicz scored in the 79th minute to secure a playoff spot for the
The victory in the final game of the MLS regular season gave New England (11-10-9) 42 points and a playoff berth at the expense of the
Larentowicz’s first goal of the season came on a free kick from 20 yards. The midfielder bent his right-footed shot around the
“Fantastic free kick,” said New England coach Steve Nicol of the shot that launched his side into the playoffs for an eighth consecutive season.
“To come here on the last game of the season and needing points was never going to be easy,” Nicol said. “To get into the playoffs is huge.”
New England will face the
Columbus (13-7-10) already had secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs as well as the 2009 Supporters’ Shield, given to the team with the best regular-season record. The
Representatives from Columbus supporters’ groups handed the shield to
However, the loss was the
“It’s not that we played bad in those games,” Warzycha said. “Sometimes it’s just tough to score a goal, especially at the end of the season when teams feel they have to play harder.”
Columbus, which has scored only one goal in its last four games, will face
Schoeni made his best save of the night to prevent an own goal in the seventh minute.
Schoeni was placed in the starting lineup just minutes before kickoff in place of regular starter William Hesmer, who said he has been battling the flu since last Friday.
“We know what the next four games are all about,” said Hesmer, who was in goal for the
Larentowicz tested Schoeni with a laser-like, low strike from 22 yards in the 28th minute, but Schoeni was able to gather it into his midsection.
Houston scored two goals in a three-minute span midway through the first half Sunday, then held off
The Dynamo (13-8-9) have 48 points along with Los Angeles, which held the tiebreaker over Houston for the top spot in the conference. The Dynamo will play the expansion
Andrew Hainault, Dominic Oduro and Abe Thompson scored for Houston, which improved to 6-1-5 against
The Dynamo’s playoff scenario, however, did not please coach Dominic Kinnear, who said his team would have to deal with fatigue and travel concerns ahead of the playoff opener.
“I’m not worried about their fitness, I’m worried about how many games they’ve played,” Kinnear said. “Now we’re playing on Thursday and the league didn’t take into account that we played in CONCACAF on Wednesday. It’s unfair.”
Houston, which played a CONCACAF Champions League match in El Salvador on Wednesday, will stay in Southern California until Tuesday before heading north to Seattle.
“We definitely didn’t achieve our goals. The
Failing to capitalize on its chances hurt
Instead, it was Hainault who opened the scoring for Houston in the 26th minute after Ryan Cochrane headed a corner kick to the front of the net.
Three minutes later, Brad Davis slipped a ball in the middle of the field as Oduro raced into the penalty area unmarked. He beat Zach Thornton from 15 yards to make it 2-0.
“We got the goal and it kind of gave us some confidence and a boost of energy,” Kinnear said. “We get a second goal and the confidence grows from there.”
Thompson padded the lead in the 52nd minute before
“The way we played, the way we fought, our energy, hopefully they will get rewarded because there was only one team on the field who played soccer, there was only one team on the field who had chances and that team lost,” he said. “Quite a few times the game can be cruel. We are not putting our head down.”