One of the more heated rivalries in recent seasons in the Western Conference begins anew, but this time with a different landscape, as the LA Galaxy play host to the Houston Dynamo at The Home Depot Center. The teams are now in different conferences, the Dynamo moving to the East with the 2011 expansion. The Galaxy come in off back-to-back wins and unbeaten in four games, while the Dynamo are winless in their last four.
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REFEREE: Chris Penso. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): Ian Anderson; 4th: Kevin Stott MLS Career: 2 games; FC/gm: 22.0; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 0; pens: 1
LA GALAXY – OUT: DF Sean Alvarado (R knee surgery), DF Leonardo (R knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: FW Adam Cristman (L knee surgery recovery)
HOUSTON DYNAMO – OUT: FW Calen Carr (concussion); FW Brian Ching (L plantar fascitis); DOUBTFUL: MF Danny Cruz (R knee hyperextension); PROBABLE: FW Cam Weaver (R ankle sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: LA: Juninho … HOU: Brad Davis
ALL-TIME (13 meetings): Galaxy 5 wins, 15 goals … Dynamo 4 wins, 14 goals … Ties 4
AT LA (9 meetings): Galaxy 2 wins, 9 goals … Dynamo 2 wins, 8 goals … Ties 2
RETURN MATCH: 10/23: Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy, 6 p.m. CT (Galavision)
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/10: HOU 0, LA 2 (Buddle (27, 45)
6/5: LA 4, HOU 1 (Kirovski (1, 21; Bowen 48; Juninho 56 – Weaver 7)
- The Galaxy won both meetings a year ago, extending their unbeaten streak against Houston to four games in league play and five in all competitions. The Dynamo last won vs. LA on Oct.18, 2008, a 3-0 win.
- The Dynamo haven’t defeated the Galaxy at The Home Depot Center since 2007, a 3-1 victory. The Galaxy have won three of the four league and MLS Cup meetings there since, including a 2-0 win in extra time in the 2009 Conference Championship.
- Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. HOU: P7 W4 L2 D1 … Dominic Kinnear v LA: P21 W8 L8 D5
The LA Galaxy won for the second consecutive weekend, getting the only goal of the game for a victory against Chivas USA in the first SuperClásico of the season. The Galaxy have 23 points from 13 games on the season, leading the Western Conference.
- The game's lone goal came in the 26th minute. A foul on the left set up a David Beckham free kick, and Chad Barrett was completely unmarked in the box, flicking a header inside Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy's left-hand post.
- Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made two changes to the team that rolled over Sporting Kansas City 4-1 at The Home Depot Center. Donovan Ricketts returned to goal in place of Josh Saunders, and Juan Pablo Angel came back in at striker for Miguel Lopez.
- LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Donovan Ricketts - Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant - Landon Donovan, Juninho, David Beckham (Michael Stephens 89), Mike Magee (Chris Birchall 64) - Juan Pablo Angel, Chad Barrett (Miguel Lopez 71).
- The Galaxy’s win was their second in a row and moved them five points clear at the top of the Western Conference, holding the most points in MLS. They’ve lost just once in their last 10 games.
- “We created a lot of chances and moved the ball well,” said Landon Donovan. “This year we have done that a lot in the first half and we have tried to continue that in the second half and for whatever reason we haven’t been able to do that, but sometimes when you are not perfect you have to find a way to win and I think that a lot of teams would have drawn or lost that game.”
- David Beckham recorded his sixth assist in the 1-0 win vs. Chivas USA, putting into a tie for the league lead along with Houston’s Brad Davis.
- Beckham will miss the Houston match after he played in a testimonial match in England on Tuesday for former Manchester United teammate Gary Neville. Arena said Beckham likely would have missed the Houston game anyway, still suffering from a nagging thigh injury. "This decision is made on what I think is in the best interests of our team as well," Arena said. "We would have rotated David on Wednesday."
- Of Beckham’s six assists, five have come from set pieces. In his first four seasons in the league, just four of Beckham’s 16 assists in league play came from standard situations.
- “He has made a living at doing that,” Arena said. “We get a lot of chances and a lot of goals from David’s service on set pieces. It is a real positive for us.”
- For Barrett, it was his third goal of the season, along with three assists, all recorded over the past seven games.
- “I think [Chad] and Juan are getting more and more comfortable as games go on. It takes a while to acclimate into a team, especially a group of guys that have been together for a long time now,” Arena said. “It took them a little while, but obviously the goal was great, Chad’s workrate was great, he was a little unlucky not to score the second, but I thought the two of them were good [against Chivas].”
The Houston Dynamo had their winless streak stretched for four games, despite coming away with a second draw in a row, this time a 2-2 tie with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening at Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo have 14 points from 11 games on the season, sitting in third place in the Eastern Conference.
- The Red Bulls took the lead after just 39 seconds. Luke Rodgers knocked down a long ball from Rafael Marquez and laid it back to Dane Richards, who pounded a low drive past Tally Hall from long range. It was the fastest goal from the start of a game in New York club history.
- But the Dynamo pulled even after 12 minutes. Márquez's attempted slide tackle in the box caught Will Bruin’s ankle, and Brad Davis converted the resulting penalty.
- The stalemate was broken in the 82nd minute. A Geoff Cameron header off a corner kick was saved by Red Bulls ‘keeper Greg Sutton, but Koke made a lunging effort to beat two New York defenders and poke home the rebound.
- Yet the Red Bulls found the leveler in stoppage time. Mehdi Ballouchy got onto the end of a Joel Lindpere corner kick and snapped a quality header past Hall.
- Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made no changes to the team that reached a scoreless draw with Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Hunter Freeman, Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Colin Clark (Je-Vaughn Watson 69), Lovel Palmer, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis (Mike Chabala 86) - Will Bruin (Koke 75), Cam Weaver.
- After reeling off three wins in four games through the end of April, the Dynamo now haven’t won in four games, taking two of a possible 12 points.
- “I think we’re playing well,” Kinnear said. “I’m not trying to make the sun shine, but I told the guys, ‘Be disappointed; I am.’ We let up late but, all in all, I really like what I’m seeing from the team.”
- The Red Bulls opening goal, coming after 39 seconds, was the fastest allowed in Dynamo club history.
- “The first goal we knew we had to be leery of those long balls, because they have so many players that can play that one,” André Hainault said. “Yeah, it’s pretty frustrating to give up a goal like that when we know better. The ball played over the top, a good ball that got behind us.”
- Koke scored his first MLS goal for Houston, putting home the rebound on a corner kick, for what appeared to be the game-winner.
- “To have the game practically won,” Koke said, “we should have tried to protect the three points because it was very important.”
- The game-tying goal was the second conceded on a corner this year by the Dynamo, and the fourth from a set piece opportunity. By contrast, Houston has scored six goals starting from dead ball situations.
- “We were just one defensive corner kick away from having a real good atmosphere in the locker room,” Kinnear said. : … [Their goal] was not a missed assignment. It was a lack of aggression in an important area that we always stress. We just let our guard down, and they were very happy to take advantage.”
- Facing the middle game in a stretch of three games in eight days, Kinnear indicated his squad will some rotation over the period.
- “This stretch is difficult, because they’re all good teams,” Kinnear said. “It’ll be hard to ask [the regulars] to all play 90, so we subbed a little earlier than normal tonight looking ahead to Wednesday, and I think we’ll see some different lineups this week.”