Houston Dynamo 0, LA Galaxy 1 | 2016 MLS Match Recap
The Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy huffed and puffed under the hot Texas sun on Sunday, and it took an unsightly goal from Alan Gordon to decide matters.
On a day when the conditions grew warm enough to necessitate in-game water breaks at BBVA Compass Stadium, rhythm and attacking quality was in short supply.
But the Galaxy's veteran target man got into the right place at the right time on his 35th birthday to deflect David Horst's attempted clearance into the net, keeping LA on course to host a Knockout Round game in the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs via possession of third place in the Western Conference.
Meanwhile, Houston's impressive Fall resurgence under interim head coach Wade Barrett seems to have peaked, as the Dynamo could direct just two shots on target en route to their third straight home loss.
- OLD FAITHFUL: When fans think of the star-studded club from SoCal, Alan Gordon's name generally isn't the first to come to mind. But the Long Beach native has come up big in more than a few important moments during his 7-plus seasons in LA, and with Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane sidelined by injuries yet again, he was Johnny-on-the-spot when his team needed him in Houston.
- NOTHING ON THE COUNTER: The scoreline doesn't reveal it, but there existed plenty of space in transition for both teams in this one. Neither side could do much with a litany of counter breaks, showing little in the way of savvy movement or decision-making against outnumbered, backpedaling defenders. Both coaches will have plenty to discuss in their video analysis sessions in the week ahead.
- CLAIMING A CLEAN SHEET: Houston's attacking woes were the Galaxy's security blanket, as LA notched their first clean sheet since a 0-0 draw with Vancouver on August 27, and their first one in a winning effort since a July 15 home defeat of the Dynamo. That will likely be coach Bruce Arena's main positive from this Texas trip.
Been too long since a #shutout— AJ DeLaGarza (@AJD_20) October 16, 2016