COLORADO, DALLAS IN MLS CUP

Colorado Rapids midfielder Kosuke Kimura went goalless all season until arguably one of the most important moments of the season – the 43rd minute of the Eastern Conference Final against the San Jose Earthquakes in Commerce City, Colorado, last Saturday night.

Kimura’s intended cross to teammate Omar Cummings was missed by everyone in the goal area, including Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch, and settled in the back of the San Jose goal for the only score of the game that would send the Rapids to MLS Cup for the first time since 1997. The Eastern Conference champion Rapids will play FC Dallas for the USA soccer championship at BMO Field in Toronto on Sunday.

“I wasn’t looking to score. Just to set up Omar Cummings with a chance to get a go-ahead goal for the Colorado Rapids, said Kimura. ‘’I took the shot with the idea that good things happen when you put the ball to the net.’’

Colorado coach Gary Smith certainly appreciated his player’s effort. ‘’We’ve gotten scoring from a lot of different areas in the playoffs,’’ said Smith. ‘’Tonight it was Kosuke’s night and he made the most of it.’’

Colorado, led by captain and defensive midfielder Pablo Mastroeni, continued to play a very smart game of accurate passing and retreating behind the ball to defend. The Earthquakes were persistent in searching for the equalizer as forwards Geovanni and league-leading scorer Chris Wondolowski, among others, forced second half saves from Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens.

‘’We had our chances in the first 40 minutes,’’ Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop said. ‘’Finishing passes was lacking. The final pass was lacking.’’

On Sunday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, FC Dallas stunned hosts Los Angeles Galaxy with a 3-0 spanking to capture the Western Conference Championship and will play in the MLS Cup for the first time.

Dallas, was positive from the outset and totally outplayed the Galaxy. The Dallas players connected with each other with accurate passing, they supported the ball well throughout the game and made good decisions in front of the Galaxy goal. Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was stalwart in the nets with game-winning saves. The visitors shut down the stars in the Galaxy as leading scorer Edson Buddle, U.S. national team captain Landon Donovan and England international David Beckham were kept quiet throughout the night.

St. Kitts and Nevis forward Atiba Harris returned to the Dallas starting lineup after sitting out the Conference semifinal because of accumulated yellow cards and was effective as a target on the frontline. Harris started the play that led to David Ferreira’s goal from 19 yards in the 15th minute to put Dallas ahead, 1-0, in the first half.

Dallas, led by captain Daniel Hernandez and MLS Coach of the Year Schellas Hyndman, maintained its good play in the second half and in the 54th minute, George John scored his only goal of the season, and Dallas’ second on the night, when he latched on to a cross from the left wing by Brek Shea. Martin Chavez closed out the scoring for Dallas in the 73rd minute off a well executed triangular passing sequence.

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