Ryan Hollingshead scored his third goal of the playoffs just before halftime to help Los Angeles FC to a 2–0 victory over the visiting Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference final on Saturday night, Dec. 2.
LAFC added a second tally on Houston defender Franco Escobar’s own-goal to reach their second consecutive MLS Cup final.
Los Angeles will hit the road next Saturday to face the Columbus Crew, who earned more points in the MLS regular season and won at FC Cincinnati in the Eastern Conference final earlier Saturday.
Maxime Crepeau made five stops to lift No. 3 LAFC past fourth-seeded Houston, which reached the playoffs for the first time since 2017 this season.
Crepeau’s effort was enough to help LAFC overcome a Dynamo side that swept two regular-season meetings between the teams.
Los Angeles can now become the first team to win consecutive MLS Cups since the LA Galaxy did so in 2011 and 2012.
Escobar’s own-goal came six days after he scored the match-winner for Houston in a 1–0 conference semifinal victory over Sporting Kansas City.
The 2023 U.S. Open Cup-winning Dynamo became the second trophy recipient to lose on Saturday after the elimination of Cincinnati, the 2023 Supporters’ Shield winner.
The Black and Gold had the majority of the first half’s chances through open play but went in front in the 44th minute off a set piece.
Giorgio Chiellini won the initial header from Carlos Vela’s corner kick from the right and forced Steve Clark into a lunging save that he was unable to hold.
Hollingshead crashed in from the back post and reached the loose ball first, poking it past Clark and into the net.
Vela and Denis Bouanga forced Clark into two saves in the 66th minute.
Then in the 80th minute, Bouanga played Diego Palacios into a promising position down the left side, and Palacios drove in a low cross.
Perhaps sensing pressure behind him, Escobar slid to try to clear the danger and instead turned it into his own net.