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Dynamo beat Revolution 2-1 to repeat as MLS champions
Associated Press, Updated 1 day ago
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WASHINGTON (AP) - Make it two in a row for the Houston Dynamo, the first MLS team to repeat in a decade.

The men in orange rallied with two goals in the second half Sunday to beat the New England Revolution 2-1 in the MLS Cup, securing the win with Dwayne De Rosario's powerful 12-yard header in the 74th minute.

The Dynamo have won the championship both years since the team disbanded as the San Jose Earthquakes and was reborn in Texas last year, beating the Revolution both times. The Earthquakes also won the title in 2001 and 2003, which makes for a dominant run of four championship rings in six years for several Houston players.

The Dynamo became MLS' first repeat champions since D.C. United won the league's first two titles in 1996 and 1997.

The Revolution, meanwhile, fell at the final hurdle for the fourth time. New England lost the 2002 and 2005 MLS Cups in overtime and was beaten in a penalty kick shootout following overtime last year.

The Revolution were hoping to capture some of the sports fervor that has overrun Massachusetts this year. The Red Sox won the World Series, and the Patriots and Celtics began the day undefeated. But the MLS trophy will go to Houston again.

Taylor Twellman gave the Revolution the lead in the 20th minute, but Joseph Ngwenya tied it in the 61st before De Rosario's winner 13 minutes later. The Dynamo's rally came after coach Dominic Kinnear made a tactical halftime switch, changing from a 4-4-2 formation to a 3-5-2 to create more scoring opportunities.

The game drew 39,859 to the neutral site of RFK Stadium, with sections of fans decked in orange for the Dynamo, blue for the Revolution and black for the stadium's usual home team, D.C. United. Dismayed that their team wasn't in the final, United's fans poked fun at the proceedings with chants of "bor-ing."

The game had moments of nervousness common in a championship setting. New England goalkeeper Matt Reis nearly allowed an early goal by misplaying a loose ball directly in front of the net, but otherwise the Revolution were the more settled team in the first half, dominating possession for long stretches.

Midfielder Shalrie Joseph started the sequence that led to Twellman's goal, making a pass ahead to Steve Ralston at the edge of the penalty box. Ralston deflected the ball to the right side of the net, where he had plenty of space to launch a perfect cross to Twellman, who rose above two defenders to place an 8-yard header in the upper right corner of the net.

The goal was Twellman's 10th in 21 career playoff games. He's scored in three straight, including last week's 1-0 win in the Eastern Conference final.

Houston nearly gave away a second goal later in the half when Brian Mullen's weak pass was intercepted by New England's Khano Smith. Smith ran 40 yards through the Dynamo defense with barely any resistance before passing to Twellman, whose shot was saved by goalkeeper Pat Onstad.

But the formation switch made Houston the better team in the second half, leading to the tying goal from Ngwenya in which the Revolution were slow to react to the ball. Receiving a left cross from De Rosario, Ngwenya mis-kicked with his left foot but had time to reload and score with his right foot from 6 yards.

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De Rosario put the Dynamo ahead with a laser-like header of Brad Davis' cross. De Rosario was well-marked by defender Jay Heaps, but there was little Heaps or Reis could do as the ball bounced just inside the right post.

The Revolution pressed forward to try to tie it late. Onstad stopped the best chance with a point-blank leg save on a header from Jeff Larentowicz.

The Dynamo played without forward Brian Ching, the MVP of last year's MLS Cup. Ching, who tied for the team lead with seven goals during the regular season, strained his left calf in last week's Western Conference final.


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