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MLS review. Conference Finals (Abridged)

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A good game for LA's stars.  Even Robbie Keane finally scored.
A good game for LA's stars. Even Robbie Keane finally scored.

Two very good games in the conference finals, plenty of attacking intent in both of them, and the added quality of Real Salt Lake v LA Galaxy made for a bit of a classic. Partially Obstructed View's James Grossi is once again here to take us through the details.

Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo 0-2

A pair of goals bookended the second half to seal Houston's unexpected run to the MLS Cup Final against a faltering Kansas City. The two sides - each riding long undefeated streaks - met in the raucous confines of Kansas City's glittering new ground in front of a record sellout crowd of 20,839.

Despite losing their midfield talisman Brad Davis to a strained quadriceps at the end of the first half, the Dynamo was able to overcome the dynamic Sporting side for a 2-0 victory. Canadian Andre Hainault provided the first - bundling the ball over the line from an Adam Moffat free kick - before Honduran Carlo Costly sealed the result with the second - collecting a sublime through-ball from Brazilian midfielder Luiz Camargo and firing a low shot in off the inside of the left post.

In a rematch of the 2007 Conference Final - which Houston also won 2-0 - Kansas City's strong home form came undone as they were unable to dominant the midfield, maintain possession, or test the opponent's backline with their pace as they have all season. A disappointing end to the season for Coach Peter Vermes and his young team, but the experience will serve them well in the coming years.

Another professional performance from Coach Dominic Kinnear's Dynamo; who move on to take part in their third cup final in the past six seasons. The dynasty, after failing to make the playoffs last season, has ridden their strong end of season form to the title decider.

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake; 3-1

In a rematch of the 2009 MLS Cup Final - one that lived up to its billing as a clash between what are widely considered the two best sides in the league - Los Angeles defeated Salt Lake 3-1.

After exchanging opening goals two minutes apart in the first half, a pair of Galaxy strikes in the second half were enough to extinguish the hopes of Real. Landon Donovan nabbed the first from the spot, to exorcise the ghost of his miss in the 2009 shootout, before Alvaro Saborio leveled with a fine flicked header.

Mike Magee put the Galaxy ahead for good, connecting his header with a trademark David Beckham cross - the third time in three playoff matches that the pair has linked for a goal - before Robbie Keane exclaimed the tie over with his excellent counterattack finish.

In a surprisingly open match between two strong defensive teams the chances came thick and fast, each side struck wood - twice for Salt Lake - and Keane, in earnest, could have had three. Will Johnson denied Chad Barrett with a headed block reminiscent of Tony Beltran's flying salmon save against Seattle, but it was not enough on the night.

Coach Jason Kreis and Salt Lake will look to put an emotional-rollercoaster of a season behind them, having earned re-entry to the CONCACAF Champions League with their progress in the postseason, while Bruce Arena's Galaxy will have the international break to rest their weary bodies in preparation for their MLS Cup Final with Houston on November 20th at the Home Depot Center.

Kansas City v Houston 0-2; Los Angeles v Salt Lake 3-1.

Extended review is now available here.