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Hainault’s goal the Canadian highlight from Sunday MLS playoff action

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Andrew Hainault
Andrew Hainault gave his team’s MLS playoff campaign a major kick-start.

The Canadian national-team defender cored the opening goal of the Houston Dynamo’s playoff campaign, a header off a Brad Davis free kick in the sixth minute of their Eastern Conference semifinal. The Dynamo would go on to take the road leg of their match-up with the Philadelphia Union by a 2-1 count.

Hainault’s goal was the highlight of a day filled with MLS playoffs incidents that would turn the heads of Canadian soccer fans.

While Hainault’s goal helped propel his team to a key road win, the MLS player Canadians love to boo had a massive match for Sporting Kansas City. Hamilton, Ont.-born Teal Bunbury — who went from great hope for the future of the Canadian side to public enemy no. 1 with his decision to instead play for the U.S. — scored twice as Sporting Kansas City got a massive 2-0 decision on the road over the Colorado Rapids.

Already missing striker Conor Casey and midfielder Jamie Smith — who tore his ACL Thursday — Colorado looked like a team struggling with only two days rest after its play-in game win over Columbus.

Before halftime, forward Caleb Folan and defender Kosuke Kimura left the game with injuries, and ex-Toronto FC defender Tyrone Marshall came in to join former Reds’ teammate Marvell Wynne in the heart of the Rapids’ defence.

After Bunbury had struck the post and then later scored the opener, Marshall was ruled to have brought down the forward with a professional foul — and was sent off. Because of the injuries, coach Gary Smith had burned all of his subs at the 59-minute mark. So he could do very little once Marshall was sent off. Bunbury converted the penalty and now it would take a minor miracle for the Rapids to survive the second leg in Kansas City.

Like Colorado, the New York Red Bulls had a sudden-death game in the middle of the week and then had to face stiff competition on very little rest. The Red Bulls lost 1-0 at home to the Los Angeles Galaxy in an ill-tempered match that saw New York Designated Player Rafa Marquez and the Galaxy’s Juninho both red-carded in a post-game fracas.

Really, the game should have been a more high-scoring affair than 1-0, but Josh Saunders, who looks to have upstaged Donovan Ricketts as the No. 1 goalkeeper in Los Angeles, made a couple of fantastic saves, robbing both Dane Richards and Joel Lindpere, the latter save coming with a nifty swat of the arm to deny the Estonian from just a few feet away.

Frank Rost, New York’s keeper, stretched to deny a Landon Donovan volley after the Galaxy’s American star found himself alone in front of goal.

Mike Magee scored the only goal of the game early in the first half.

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