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HOUSTON DYNAMO v LOS ANGELES GALAXY
ROBERTSON STADIUM, Houston, Texas
7:30 p.m. CT (HDNet; FSN-W)
June 3, 2006 (WEEK 10) / MLS Game #57
The Los Angeles Galaxy head to Houston for their first-ever match against Dynamo in uncharted territory. Their five-game losing streak has tied the club record, and their current eight-hour scoreless run is a club mark, and is now less than a full match away from the league record. Dynamo return home winless in their last three games, though they've lost just once, with two road draws wrapped around a loss to the Chicago Fire in their match at Robertson Stadium.
REFEREE: Steve DiPiero. SAR (bench): Kyle Borne; JAR (opposite): Corey Rockwell; 4th: Silviu Petrescu
MLS Career: first game
MLS 2006: first game
Games involving Dynamo: first game
Games involving Galaxy: first game
INJURY REPORT: HOUSTON DYNAMO - OUT: MF Aaron Lanes (R fifth metatarsal fracture); DF Adrian Serioux (L big toe fracture); DOUBTFUL: DF Kevin Goldthwaite (R ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Brad Davis (L knee MCL sprain) ... LOS ANGELES GALAXY - OUT: MF Cobi Jones (R foot sprain); MF Guillermo Gonzalez (L hamstring strain); DF Kyle Veris (L knee); QUESTIONABLE: MF Peter Vagenas (R quadriceps strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: HOU: Brian Ching (USA; World Cup 2006) ... LA: Landon Donovan, Chris Albright (USA; 2006 World Cup); Cornell Glen (Trinidad & Tobago; 2006 World Cup)
This is the first of four league meetings scheduled between the Western Conference clubs, the first of two at Robertson Stadium. They'll next meet at The Home Depot Center in three weeks time on June 24, then conclude the season set on the shores of the Buffalo Bayou on Aug. 16. They'll conclude the season series on Oct. 7 on Victoria Street.
Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. LA: P8 W4 L3 D1 ... Steve Sampson v HOU: first game
ALL-TIME: first meeting
Houston Dynamo escaped with a quality point on the road last Saturday, a late goal giving them a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Dynamo are now tied for second place in the Western Conference with 14 points from nine matches, level with the Colorado Rapids, both trailing the division-leading FC Dallas by seven points.
Both the Revolution and Dynamo were coming into the match looking to put disappointing losses in the state of Texas behind them - the Revolution falling 4-0 to FC Dallas the week before, while Dynamo lost 1-0 at home to Chicago.
Although Dynamo carried the play in the opening 45 minutes, it was New England that took the lead, in the 55th minute. Jeff Larentowicz freed Pat Noonan down the right flank and his cross to the far side of the goal area was of the highest quality. The accuracy of the ball presented Ralston with the simplest of volley finishes from six yards into a gaping goal.
Houston's equalizer came on 86 minutes thanks to a fortunate deflection off New England midfielder Shalrie Joseph. Wade Barrett's rolling cross found an unmarked Ryan Cochrane in the box. His shot was headed towards goal before it was deflected past Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis by Joseph to give Dynamo a share of the points.
Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that lost to the Chicago Fire the weekend before. With Brad Davis out to injury, Kevin Goldthwaite came into the team at left back, as Wade Barrett moved forward to a wide midfield role.
Here's Kinnear's team (4-3-1-2): Pat Onstad - Craig Waibel (Kelly Gray 77), Ryan Cochrane, Eddie Robinson, Kevin Goldthwaite (Julian Nash 73) - Brian Mullan, Ricardo Clark, Wade Barrett - Dwayne De Rosario (Stuart Holden 80) - Alejandro Moreno, Ronald Cerritos. [Substitutes Not Used: Chris Aloisi, Patrick Ianni, Zach Wells, Chris Wondolowski]
"We didn't take advantage of their mistakes and our good play. If at halftime you said we were only going to get a point, I would say, 'No, we're in line to get three,'" Kinnear said. "But then after going down a goal, for the guys to fight back and take a point, I applaud them."
With Brad Davis out with a left knee sprain, Kinnear pushed Wade Barrett up to the left side of midfield and gave Kevin Goldthwaite the start at left back. Barrett was involved in numerous scoring chances, missing a pair of chances and delivering numerous dangerous crosses into the Revolution box.
"That's what the position requires." Barrett said. "I have played there some this year when Brad has been out."
Said Kinnear: "Both teams scored from crosses tonight. If you watch a lot of goals in Major League Soccer and around the world, it comes from good wide play and runs in the box. It's one thing we work on all the time and we know it's a strength of ours."
Dwayne De Rosario was forced off in the 80th minute - but not with a recurrence of his ankle injury. Instead, he suffered from cramps and could not breathe on the field, leading Kinnear to give an MLS debut to midfielder Stuart Holden.
"I've never had a cramp before." De Rosario said. "It bothered me throughout the whole game and it got to a point where I had to come off.
For Cochrane, it was the first professional goal he's scored in three seasons in MLS. "I was pretty tired at that point. The ball came to me, I just tried to get it on target. The ball was deflected, [the goalie] got caught going the other way, and it goes in. It's unbelievable. It is a weight off my shoulders. I've had good chances the past couple years, [it] just hasn't gone in for me. We came out with a point, that's the most important thing."
Kelly Gray - who was a regular starter at right back a year ago for the San Jose Earthquakes - has started to again get minutes after losing his job to veteran Craig Waibel. Gray didn't hesitate to defend Kinnear's decision to drop him from the first team.
"I didn't have any confidence," he said to the Houston Chronicle. "(Kinnear) wanted to give me time to get it back. Now it's just a question of waiting for my shot."
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
The Los Angeles Galaxy saw their losing streak match a club record five games, and saw their scoreless streak extended to eight hours, losing 1-0 to the Colorado Rapids for the second time in 11 days, this time in Denver. The Galaxy have seven points from 10 matches, tied for fifth in the Western Conference with Chivas USA (who have played three fewer games), a point behind Real Salt Lake and now 14 points out of first place.
On May 20 at The Home Depot Center, a Jacob Peterson goal after just 14 minutes was enough to give the Rapids the victory, backstopped by some terrific goalkeeping Bouna Coundoul.
At Invesco Field, it was Dedi Ben Dayan's goal that was all Colorado would need. Terry Cooke sent in a corner from the right and Ben Dayan snuck in front of Galaxy defender Ugo Ihemelu to poke home a volley past Steve Cronin for the only goal of the game, Cooke credited with his sixth assist on the campaign.
The Rapids needed much fewer heroics from Coundoul down the stretch to claim the victory, the Galaxy ending without a goal for the month of May, seeing their club-record scoreless streak extended to 480 minutes (just 77 minutes shy of the MLS record set last year by Real Salt Lake) and equaling their club record losing streak of five games, set in the inaugural season of 1996.
Galaxy boss Steve Sampson made two changes to the team that lost 1-0 to the Rapids on May 20. With both Cobi Jones and Peter Vagenas unavailable due to injury, Alan Gordon made his first start of the season, partnering John Wolyniec in attack, while Herculez Gomez also returned to the team from injury, Sampson also giving his team a tactical re-fit in the process.
Here's Sampson's team (3-3-2-2): Steve Cronin, Ugo Ihemelu, Tyrone Marshall, Kyle Veris (Josh Gardner 52) - Paulo Nagamura, Marcelo Saragosa, Todd Dunivant - Herculez Gomez, Kyle Martino - Alan Gordon (Michael Enfield 60), John Wolyniec. [Substitutes Not Used: Marc Burch, Kevin Hartman, Quavas Kirk, Troy Roberts, Nathan Sturgis]
"It was very disappointing. Not being able to hold the ball at midfield hurt us tremendously this evening. Someone that could playmake for us and give us a little bit of pause so we can develop an attack, was missing," Sampson said.
With Landon Donovan out for a third match while on national team duty, the Galaxy were further decimated with the absences of Cobi Jones and Peter Vagenas to injury.
"Even still, all the way to the end, we had an opportunity to even up the match and we just couldn't find a way to get in behind the defense consistently enough to create quality goal scoring opportunities," Sampson said. "Obviously, we were missing Pete (Vagenas). That and Cobi's (Jones) leadership and not having people to step up and fill those voids."
Sampson started his "big-and-big" strike pair of John Wolyniec (6-foot-1) and Alan Gordon (6-foot-3). But they weren't able to generate more than a shot each.
"We are so worried about getting forward and scoring goals that we played a little too direct today," goalkeeper Steve Cronin said. "I think that John (Wolyniec) an Alan Gordon did a good job battling up top (and) that the altitude played in (Colorado's) favor because any time we would play a long ball they would get to it."
The Galaxy were also caught out for offside seven times - Gordon and Wolyniec each trapped twice. "We got unlucky a couple of times. At the beginning, the first 15 minutes, we were playing well, working together," Gordon said. "At the end we kind of went for the deep ball and lost our middle. We just kind of sat and were predictable after that and didn't get many chances."
The loss left the Galaxy in last place in the Western Conference - while tied with Chivas USA at the foot of the table, they've played three fewer games than their in-stadium mates. "I don't know if this organization has ever been in (last place). To be honest, I think it's a good thing," said Todd Dunivant. "We can't have anything gloss over our situation right now."