New England Soccer Today

Houston returns to Conference Final

Brian Ching scored before the half as the Dynamo coasted to the Eastern Conference final with 1-0 victory over a punchless Philadelphia Union Thursday night and clinched the series 3-1 on aggregate at Robertson Stadium.

Ching, who rose above a scrum of players inside the box, nodded a lofty Brad Davis free kick through in the 48th+ minute as the Union failed to file a reply thanks in large part to the same offensive ineptitude that haunted them during the regular season.

Going into the game down 2-1 on aggregate, Philadelphia tried to open it up in the first half. But with the crowd against them and few chanes afforded to them, the Dynamo were happy to have the Union play right in their hands.

Calen Carr nearly had a chance to break it open when he took a pass ahead from Geoff Cameron in the 39th minute before the shifty striker was whistled offside.

With the interval approaching, Davis launched a free kick from about 40 yards that floated right to Ching, who lept up and glanced it through to cushion the difference to two goals.

The second half watched the Union attack continue to stall despite the fact that they needed two goals to rescue them. Although Veljko Paunovic forced Tally Hall to the dive in 59th minute, it would be the clostest the Union came to making it a series as regulation waned.

With the 3-1 advantage, Houston advances to its first-ever Eastern Conference final, where they will head to Kansas City to face Sporting K.C. at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park. Prior to the 2011 season, Houston had played in the Western Conference.

The last time the Dynamo played in a Conference final – in 2007 – they went on to win their second-straight MLS Cup over the New England Revolution.

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