On Wednesday night, the 2012 MLS playoffs kicked off at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, and a familiar playoff favorite continued their winning ways in the postseason.
The Houston Dynamo once again came out to play in the MLS Cup Playoffs and advanced into the semifinal round with a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire in the Eastern Conference knockout round.
Houston went up early in the 12th minute with a goal from forward Will Bruin.
Bruin's header found the back of the net off of a corner kick by veteran Brad Davis.
On the corner kick, Chicago defender Jalil Anibaba slipped in the penalty area while defending Bruin, allowing the Dynamo forward to score the first of his two goals of the night.
Bruin's second goal came in the 46th minute as he capitalized on poor defending by Chicago and fired his shot right past keeper Sean Johnson, who had a miserable night in the net.
Throughout the rest of the second half it seemed like the Dynamo had the match all locked up, but the Fire gave the two-time MLS Cup champions a bit of pressure late in the second half.
In the 83rd minute, substitute Alex scored to give the Fire and their home supporters a small chance of achieving a two-goal comeback.
Alex's shot barely found the back of the net after it bounced off the right post.
The late goal was not enough for the hosts, however, and they were unable to get the ball past Dynamo keeper Tally Hall in the final attacks of the match.
With the loss, the Fire become the first team eliminated from the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs and will be wondering where their season went wrong.
One outside observer may point to the one win in the final five regular-season matches played by the Fire as they slumped into the postseason.
As for the Wednesday night winners, the Dynamo will head home to BBVA Compass Stadium, where they have not lost yet, to host Eastern Conference top seed Sporting Kansas City in the first leg of the semifinal round on Sunday.
The second leg of the Eastern Conference semifinal will be played next Wednesday at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City.
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