🇺🇸 Houston to face reigning champs LAFC in Western Conference Final | OneFootball

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Emily Wilson·27 November 2023

🇺🇸 Houston to face reigning champs LAFC in Western Conference Final

Article image:🇺🇸 Houston to face reigning champs LAFC in Western Conference Final

The MLS Cup Playoff Conference Semifinals continued on Sunday with the two Western Conference showdowns.

Here is what went down.

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LAFC step closer to title defence

Scorer: Bouanga 30′

Reigning MLS Cup champions LAFC will continue their hunt for another title after scraping by Seattle Sounders on the road.

The hosts controlled the match from kick-off but the visitors opened the scoring against the run of play after vital saves from Maxime Crépeau kept things deadlocked.

Having the MLS Golden Boot winner in your squad is a huge boost, and Denis Bouanga drove down the left-hand side of the box before beating a helpless Stefan Frei.

Coming out into the second half, Seattle continued to control the game, and things became heated inside Lumen Field. LAFC’s defence, however, kept the hosts tame.

Timothy Tillman cleared an effort off the line before Crépeau kept LAFC ahead with two saves on long-range efforts by Alex Roldán and João Paulo.

Albert Rusnák later had an effort hit the crossbar in the dying moments but the Sounders fell short of an equaliser in a feisty clash which finished with 26 fouls combined.

The result means Seattle’s unbeaten playoff run at home ends at 19 games while LAFC will face Houston in the Western Conference final.

Houston edge past Kansas City

Scorer: Escobar 39′

Houston Dynamo claimed the first spot in the Western Conference Final after edging past Sporting KC in front of home fans.

It was a lively encounter inside Shell Energy Stadium as both sides displayed some fluid football right from kick-off. The difference was one side managed to take their opportunity when it arrived.

While both sides threatened at either end in the first half, the breakthrough arrived just before the break. A perfectly curled corner kick from Hector Herrera found the head of a rising Franco Escobar.

Yet minutes later, Sporting KC shouted for a potential penalty as Erik Sviatchenko appeared to handle the ball after clearing an attempt off the line. The officials, however, dismissed their requests.

Things turned cagey in the second half as it remained a one-goal game. True chances, however, were scarce throughout the remaining half an hour.

Goalkeeper Steve Clark kept the hosts in the lead with a reflex save on a point-blank effort by Dániel Sallói. Unfortunately for the visitors, Sallói and Alan Pulido were off their game seeing their missed chances come back to haunt them.

The result means Houston (who also won the 2023 U.S. Open Cup) will face LAFC in the final.

Looking ahead, FC Cincinnati will face Columbus Crew in the Eastern Conference final.