[MLS PLAYOFFS: Houston-Montreal]The Houston Dynamo lived up to reputation for stepping things up in the playoffs with a 3-0 win over the Montreal Impact in their play-in game that drew an announced crowd of only 10,476 fans at BBVA Compass Stadium. But the big story was the Montreal meltdown that featured three second-half red cards. Impact coach Marco Schaellibaum, no stranger to disciplinary problems, had the understatement of the night when he said, "The cards we received do not put the club in the best light."
The Dynamo, which has reached MLS Cup the last two years and four times in its previous seven seasons in MLS, was in total control after opening the game with goals from Will Bruin (set up by Ricardo Clark's backheel) and Oscar Boniek Garcia (from the penalty spot).
Bruin brushed aside challenges from the Montreal defense to put the game away in the second half after Colombian Nelson Rivas -- playing his first game of the season -- was red carded.
"La chute" of the Impact was completed when Italian star Marco Di Vaio and Argentine Andres Romero were red carded for altercations in the 89th minute.
Smartly, referee Mark Geiger chose not to add on any stoppage time to a game in danger of spilling out of control.
Bruin Goal #1:
Oct. 31 in Houston
Houston 3 Montreal 0.Goals: Bruin (Clark) 16, Garcia (pen.) 27. Bruin (Ashe) 72.
Houston --Hall; Sarkodie, Boswell, Brunner, Ashe; Garcia, Creavalle, Clark, Davis (Driver 83); Barnes (Cummings 79), Bruin (Weaver 79).
Montreal -- Perkins; Camara, Ferrari, Rivas, Brovsky; Bernardello, Warner (Felipe 62), Pisanu (Romero 55), Wenger (Paponi 62), Mapp; Di Vaio.
Yellow Cards:Houston -- Ashe 89; Montreal -- Rivas 35.
Red Cards: Montreal -- Rivas 70, Romero 89, Di Vaio 89.
Referee: Mark Geiger.