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MLS Cup Playoffs: LAFC beats Houston Dynamo 2-0 to reach 2nd straight final

Los Angeles FC midfielder Ryan Hollingshead, center, celebrates his goal with teammates during the first half in the MLS playoff Western Conference final soccer match against Houston Dynamo, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

LAFC is one win away from becoming the first repeat MLS champion in a decade.

The defending champions defeated the Houston Dynamo 2-0 on Saturday in the Western Conference final at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles to set up a final against the Columbus Crew, who punched their ticket earlier in the day with a comeback win over FC Cincinnati.

It hasn't been the easiest season for LAFC, but they have once again caught fire when it counts. This time, it was Ryan Hollingshead who came through in the first half with a goal off a corner kick from Carlos Vela.

LAFC put the game away in the 80th minute with an own goal from Houston off a cross from Diego Palacios.

Dynamo actually won the possession game with more than 70%, but LAFC was arguably the team in control most of the time, outshooting Houston 18-10.

Here is how the match unfolded:

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  • Armando Botello

    MLS Cup Playoffs: LAFC beats Houston Dynamo 2-0 to reach 2nd straight final

    Yahoo SportsIt will be LAFC against the Columbus Crew on Dec. 9.

  • Henry Bushnell

    LAFC sees it out.

    Fascinating final up next.

    The Crew should be favored at home. But ... how do you bet against a defending champ that hasn't conceded a single goal since the first half of its first Round 1 playoff game?

  • Armando Botello
  • Henry Bushnell

    2-0 to LA.

    Franco Escobar own goal. The hero last weekend. Devastation six days later.

    Harsh on him and Houston. But it had been coming. Only one team looked like scoring.

    Barring another stunning comeback, it'll be LAFC at Columbus for MLS Cup.

  • Armando Botello
  • Armando Botello
  • Henry Bushnell

    Hector Herrera takes down Tim Tillman to wipe out an LA counterattack, and gets a yellow.

    He then rages at the referee, right in the ref's face. Somewhat fortunate to not get a second yellow for the reaction.

    Still 1-0, 17 minutes plus stoppage time remaining.

  • Henry Bushnell

    LAFC have become so, so comfortable playing without the ball.

    28% possession, but twice as many shots as Houston, and they've never really looked troubled by the Dynamo.

  • Henry Bushnell

    Back underway, and the Dynamo have started the second half well.

    They had 70% possession in that first half, but looked periodically vulnerable. Much less so since halftime.

  • Breakthrough for @LAFC! Ryan Hollingshead always finds a way. 💥 #LAFC // Audi #MLSCupPlayoffs t.co/SGZGNJXNRS