For the fourth time in seven years, the Houston Dynamo will be a participant in the MLS Cup. They earned their spot as the 2012 Eastern Conference Champions, with their 1-1 tie against DC United Sunday afternoon.
The Dynamo knew heading into the game that United was going to come out guns blazing. With the support of the raucous crowd at RFK Stadium, the Dynamo didn't want to sit back and defend for 90 minutes.
And the Dynamo had just the solution to quiet the crowd: Boniek Garcia.
The always smiling Honduran international has become a fan favorite with his technical ability on the ball, and his blue-collar workmanship on the field. Both of his trademarks were on display when he buried a shot at the roof of the goal in the 33rd minute, silencing the crowd at RFK.
The goal gave the Dynamo a 1-0 lead in the match, but more importantly gave them a 4-1 lead in the aggregate score. That's all the Dynamo needed. They went on to put on another professional defensive effort; something that has been the norm for the Orange in the playoffs.
"It's like anything," Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell said. "The more you do it, the better you get at it. In big pressure games, you do them enough and you get better at it. You get better at managing stress and managing the mental side coming up to it. Honestly, we had fun out there."
DC's Branko Boskovic managed a goal in the 83rd minute, but it was a little-too-late for United.
Clark finally has his shot at Cup
Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark made his return to starting lineup on Sunday. He was unavailable for the first leg of the series due to a groin injury. He managed to play 66 minutes before being subbed for Luiz Camargo.
He also managed to avoid a suspension.
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Clark was instrumental in the team's success the first couple of years in the city. He helped the team reach the MLS Cup, but always missed the big dance due to suspensions.
This time, the league office won't hold Clark back from seeing MLS Cup action, who described his chance at playing in the finals as "pretty special."
"Unfortunately, I wasn't able to play in the other Cup finals; it's been pretty funny looking back at it. I just want to take advantage of the opportunity once it comes my way."
The Dynamo will play the LA Galaxy for the MLS Cup on Saturday, December 1 at the Home Depot Center in Southern California.