Three thoughts on Houston’s 4-3 aggregate victory over New York to advance to the MLS semifinals.
• Houston. Dom Kinnear. Playoffs. -- It’s what Houston does: The Dynamo barely sneaks into the playoffs and then turns into a SuperTeam when it counts, upending higher seeds left and right. This time the victim was Supporters' Shield winner New York, and Houston’s comeback from 2-0 and 3-2 aggregate deficits added an even more impressive element to the win. Omar Cummings didn’t score a goal in the regular season, but his second goal of the tie -- coming in the 104th minute on Wednesday -- was the game-winner on the road. Give plenty of credit also to Houston goalie Tally Hall, who made up for his first-half howler (which gifted Bradley Wright-Phillips a goal) by making two remarkable reaction saves and keeping things solid late. Houston’s playoff mentality is simply incredible.
• More New York misery. -- You thought things were different this year for the Red Bulls once they finally won the franchise’s first competitive trophy with the Supporters Shield. But how do you squander 2-0 and 3-2 leads? How do you lose at home in a game like this? Jámison Olave’s foolish red card in Houston changed everything. New York didn’t win a game all season in which Olave was absent, and that streak continued on Wednesday. It was Olave’s central-defense running-mate, Ibrahim Sekagya, whose horrible pass gifted Brad Davis Houston’s first goal, and we’ll never know if Olave would have kept Cummings from getting to the Houston game-winner that just snuck over the goal line. Oh, this New York collapse was so Metro.• The MLS playoff format still stinks. A Confederations Cup-like group stage