When the LA Galaxy prepared for Saturday’s match against Houston, they knew they could do little to counter one challenge the match would ultimately throw their way.
Sweltering Texas heat, which sent many of the fans at BBVA Compass Stadium seeking shelter, wore down the Galaxy as the club built an early lead only to watch it collapse once more, this time resulting in a 2-1 loss to the Dynamo.
With temperatures that soared past the 90-degree mark, Galaxy players wondered afterward why the match had an early afternoon kickoff to begin with.
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“Whoever scheduled the game in Houston at 2 pm in the afternoon doesn’t know anything about the game,” Galaxy midfielder David Beckham said. “It’s difficult for both teams, as much as they’re used to playing in this heat, training in it, no one enjoys these games.”
To make things more difficult for the Galaxy, they were coming off a midweek match and had to travel to play a team that had had a full week of rest between games. They kicked off Saturday’s match roughly 60 hours after Wednesday’s match finished.
“We should never be playing games under these conditions,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “The scheduling is poor. Teams playing on Wednesday shouldn’t be traveling and playing a team that’s rested on Saturday in the heat.”
The Galaxy tried to prepare for Houston’s attack and did fairly well under the circumstances, conceding fewer opportunities than they had against San Jose just a few days prior. But the heat affected how they went about the match as well.
“Given the circumstances of the heat and travel and the two games in a short period of time, our guys physically gave a good effort,” Arena said. “It was a little demanding on them and certainly fatigue was a factor in the game and the heat was a factor for both sides. It was a slow game and a sloppy game and it’s difficult to play under these conditions.”
Edson Buddle scored an early goal to put the Galaxy ahead and they pressured and came close to adding a second. Most notably, Bryan Jordan had a goal disallowed for being offside.
Ultimately, though, LA were unable to maintain their early pace because of the weather.
“We did try to score [early] and we did score,” Arena said. “The pace of the game changed because of the conditions. The players are not able to play at a high pace under these conditions for long periods time. No one is made to play in this kind of heat for 90 minutes.”
Of course, the Dynamo were able to emerge from the oppressive conditions with three points, using a Mike Magee own-goal and Andre Hainault header to record a 2-1 victory.
Still, Beckham said the heat and humidity made the match a tough go for everyone involved – fans and players alike.
“It’s not good for the fans because you can’t run around as much as you can in normal games where it’s not as hot as this,” Beckham said. “It’s not good for anyone, it’s not good for the fans, not good for the players.”