D.C. United 1, New York Red Bulls 0

November 9, 2012

In a nutshell, the MLS Eastern Conference semifinal series between D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls:

Red cards: 3

DCU investors receiving bear hugs from Ben Olsen: 3

Own goals: 2

Saved penalty kicks: 2

Penalty kicks retaken: 1

Proper goals: 1 (178 minutes into 180 minutes of play)

Goalkeepers tweeting from locker room during match after red card: 1 (Bad, Bill, bad!)

Venue switch: 1

Postponements: 1

Snowstorms: 1

Buses to New Jersey over two days by United supporters: 16

Drama: Infinite.

“I am getting older by the day with these games,” Chris Pontius said. Well, yes, but we know what he’s getting at.

United is 6-0-3 since Labor Day — all six victories by one goal.

Okay, so now what?

Well, United will board a charter Friday afternoon in the New York area and fly to Houston to begin preparing for the first leg of the conference finals Sunday at 4 p.m. ET (NBC Sports Network). The second match will take place the following Sunday at RFK Stadium (same time, same channel).

In the Western finals, the Seattle Sounders will face the Los Angeles Galaxy, starting Sunday night at Home Depot Center (9 p.m. ET, ESPN).

We do know this: MLS Cup on Dec. 1 will take place in Washington, Seattle or Los Angeles. As the semifinalist with the fewest regular season points, Houston would visit Seattle or L.A. By winning the Eastern title, United would host the Cup at RFK Stadium, regardless of the Western opponent.

How did United fare against Houston in the regular season?

April 28 in Washington: 3-2 victory

May 12 in Houston: 1-0 loss

July 15 in Houston: 4-0 loss (Hamid red card)

United doesn’t have to win the opener at BBVA Compass Stadium, but securing a point would bolster the cause considerably. Achieving that is another story.

In nine trips to Houston, United has suffered eight losses and earned one draw. The scoring margin is 18-4.

Don’t expect to see Andy Najar in Sunday’s match. MLS is likely Friday to suspend him further for flinging the ball at the referee last weekend, an act that earned him a red card and banishment from the Red Bulls finale.

You will see Joe Willis, who saved the penalty Thursday in place of the ejected Bill Hamid. Andrew Dykstra will serve as the back-up.

Here’s my match report with fun quotes from the 1-0 victory over the Red Bulls.

Watch the video package:

Go behind the scenes for United’s celebration:

Vote in the poll:

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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Steven Goff · November 8, 2012