The Houston Dynamo took a big step towards the MLS Cup final with a 3-1 win in the home leg of their Eastern Conference championship against D.C. United on Sunday.
Dynamo came back from a goal down for a victory which opens up the possibility of a repeat of last season's final when Houston lost to the L.A. Galaxy.
The Galaxy hosted their first leg of the Western Conference final later on Sunday against the Seattle Sounders.
Rookie Nick DeLeon, whose goal against the New York Red Bulls on Thursday earned D.C. their place in the conference final, struck again with a 27th minute opener.
DeLeon fed Lionard Pajoy down the left who cut inside and hit the right post but DeLeon responded quickly and slotted in the rebound.
Two-times MLS champions Houston went close to an equaliser eight minutes before the break when Macoumba Kandji's diagonal shot from the left was pushed wide by Joe Willis.
That was a sign of things to come in the second half.
Houston pulled level when Honduran Oscar Boniek-Garcia burst in from the left and slipped the ball across the box to Andre Hainault who slotted home confidently.
The Dynamo grabbed the lead through another close-range effort from Will Bruin in the 68th and then after some poor defending from a corner, Kofi Sarkodie's right footed shot from inside the area made it 3-1.
The second leg will be played on November 18 at RFK Stadium in Washington.
(Reporting By Simon Evans; editing by Gene Cherry)