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November 24, 2014 at 3:48 PM

The Day-After Report: A tale of two conference finals

The first of Sunday’s two Major League Soccer conference finals was a frantic, thrilling free-for-all.

The New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution tore into each other from the opening stanzas. The first half featured a wonder-strike goal from Teal Bunbury, a yellow card (that could’ve been more) for Jermaine Jones, Thierry Henry tracking into his own half.

It also included the goal that summarized the game: Bradley-Wright Phillips nodding in the rebound off Peguy Luyindula’s crossbar-hitting shot from his backside. It might not have been sharp, but man, was it entertaining.

The Revs edged into control with five minutes remaining as Jones swept in a ball at the back post, giving New England both the 2-1 win and a pair of precious away goals to take home.

The Western Conference final a few hours later was that opening game’s polar opposite.

Seattle and Los Angeles played 90 controlled, measured minutes. Neither side was willing to open themselves up — the Sounders, especially — cognizant of the opposing attacking threat.

“I didn’t see the (Sounders) play a game this year when they had to push and score a goal,” said Galaxy midfielder Marcelo Sarvas, the lone goalscorer in L.A.’s 1-0 win. “In my opinion, they play very conservative. They keep two guys higher all the time and everyone behind the box so we’ll see what the situation is going to be there.”

The match was read and react, chess pieces pushed around a lush green field. It lacked the fireworks that exploded from start to finish at Red Bull Arena, but it was intriguing in its own kind of way.

“I think that is a part of these kind of games,” Seattle midfielder Gonzalo Pineda said. “When they are at home, they try to push too much, and maybe we need to be smarter.

“But at home, we will be different.”

By the numbers: 31. Number of crosses launched into the Seattle box by the Galaxy on Sunday.

In their own words: “We’ve been there (CenturyLink Field) twice this year — thoroughly dominate in the first game, and we were the much better team for 82 minutes of the second game. We are full of confidence going there. We are going to get their best shot and we look forward to it” — Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan

Up next: Sounders vs. Galaxy in the second leg of the Western Conference final next Sunday at 6 p.m. at CenturyLink Field.

| More in Day-After Report, MLS

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