Dynamo top Red Bulls, advance to conference finals
Cummings scored in the 104th minute to help the Dynamo oust the New York Red Bulls with a 2-1 victory on Wednesday night.
Cummings scored in the second minute of stoppage time on Sunday to give the Dynamo a 2-2 draw in the first leg.
The Dynamo moved on with an aggregate score of 4-3. Houston will face Sporting Kansas City in the East finals, which start on Saturday.
The Red Bulls led Sunday’s game 2-0 before Jamison Olave committed a foul that led to a red-card ejection and allowed Houston to rally for a 2-2 draw.
“It’s terrible, I guess you can’t exorcise every game this year from this club,” Red Bulls first-year coach Mike Petke said. “Hats off to Houston, they’re a playoff team and they proved it the last three years. We did it to ourselves these last two games. “
On Wednesday night, Red Bulls defender Ibrahim Sekagya’s errant pass led to the tying goal by Houston.
“It was individual mistakes, and they happen,” Petke said.
Cummings came off the bench in both matches and Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear went to him in the 64th minute Wednesday.
“I was trying to put some fresh legs closer to the goal and hope that something would come out of it and Omar has made me look good for two games in a row here,” Kinnear said.
Cummings got his foot on a ball that slipped past Red Bulls goalie Luis Robles at the near post.
Houston, which won the 2006 and 2007 MLS Cups in its first two years in the league, reached the MLS Cup final in each of the past two seasons, losing in the final each time to the L.A. Galaxy.
The Red Bulls took a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute on the first career playoff goal by Bradley Wright-Phillips. Lloyd Sam crossed the ball into the box and Dynamo goalie Tally Hall went down to grab it with two hands.
But when he hit the ground, the ball squirted out of his grasp and Wright-Phillips was there to knock it into an open net from inside the 6-yard box.
“I tried to pin it against the ground and it slipped out,” Hall said. “It’s a sinking feeling. Whether I made a mistake or not, I still have a job to do for the rest of the game. This team has a will to win like nothing I’ve ever seen before. That’s why our jersey has two stars on it (2006 and 2007 MLS titles).”
Hall made one of his best saves in the closing seconds of regulation when Thierry Henry hit a bicycle kick on goal, but the Houston goalie managed to block it with his leg.
Houston took advantage of a Red Bulls mistake to tie it at 1-1 on a goal by Brad Davis.
Sekagya attempted to clear the ball from the top of the penalty area by sending the ball across the middle. The rolling ball went right to the foot of Davis inside the box and he placed it past Robles.
“The guy looked up and I knew he was going to try and play it across,” Davis said. “Luckily he mishit it, I looked up and it was the goalie and me.”
The Red Bulls dominated Houston during the regular season, winning all three matches. But the Dynamo extended New York’s playoff futility, making the Red Bulls winless in their past six playoff games. The Red Bulls had come into the playoffs with an eight-game unbeaten string of 6-0-2.