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MLS Playoffs: Semi-Final, Second Leg



If you need convincing that the MLS conference system is due a shake-up, this should do the trick: the Eastern Conference final will be played by two teams from the West. Here's all the action from the semi-final, second legs.

San Jose Earthquakes overturned a first leg defeat by winning 3-1 at Red Bull Arena against New York Red Bulls. One of their best players this year, Bobby Convey (pictured), opened the scoring with just five minutes gone to set the tone for the match. The sides exchanged chances before Convey's superb second with fifteen minutes to go. Juan Pablo Angel pulled the Red Bulls level with one final MLS goal a couple of minutes later but it was Chris Wondolowski, the man of the moment, who suckerpunched New York and sent the Earthquakes through.

The other true Eastern Conference team, Columbus Crew also went crashing out. Having been beaten 1-0 in the away leg, they looked in good shape after taking a 2-0 lead against Colorado Rapids. Eddie Gaven finally opened the scoring from close range in the 22nd minute after a blistering start by the Crew. The went ahead in the 70th minute when Robbie Rogers broke free to score past Matt Pickens, but the Rapids took the game to extra time thanks to a late goal by Conor Casey.

Extra time was goalless, and the match went to penalties. Mac Kandji's spot kick was fortunate but made it 2-1, and everyone scored until Brian Carroll stepped up to take the vital tenth penalty for the Crew and smashed over with the score at 5-4 Rapids.

FC Dallas needed only to hold their ground at Rio Tinto Stadium after beating Real Salt Lake in the first leg. They did just that, and the champions exit at the first hurdle. Midfielder Dax McCarty drew first blood in Sandy, rolling the ball home after side-stepping Nick Rimando in the 17th minute. Salt Lake needed two goals to take the match to extra time but they only managed one despite continually knocking the door. Robbie Findley tapped in with ten minutes to go but RSL couldn't find the all-important second goal and their defence of the title ended in the semis.

Supporters Shield winners LA Galaxy are still going strong thanks to a 2-1 win over Seattle Sounders, securing a 3-1 aggregate victory. Edson Buddle headed in David Beckham's corner to open the scoring and Omar Gonzalez glanced in a Beckham free kick to make it 2-0 inside half an hour. The Sounders could only dent the Galaxy wagon, getting a late consolation goal thanks to Steve Zakuani's finish with five minutes left.

The last four consists only of teams from the West. Colorado and San Jose will contest the Eastern Conference final after seeing off Columbus and New York respectively. In the West proper, it's LA v Dallas. The format now moves to a single match, and LA and Colorado will be at home.

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