Houston Dynamo 4, LA Galaxy 2 | 2019 MLS Match Recap
From the sultry summer conditions to their lively performance with nothing to play for, the Houston Dynamo did their level best to make life difficult for the LA Galaxy on Decision Day presented by AT&T.
Just like they did in their season-ending clash a year ago, La Naranja gave the visitors fits on Sunday, twice rallying from behind before kicking on to grab a 4-2 win. The result lands a hammer blow to the Galaxy's aim of a top-half finish in the Western Conference's playoff places, which would have ensured them at least one home game in the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic got LA off to a dream start in the 9th minute, lofting a brilliant chipped finish over Tyler Deric and inside the far post from the top left corner of the Houston penalty box. But Southern California native Christian Ramirez equalized in first-half injury time, stabbing home from close range after Alberth Elis slashed open the Galaxy defense and slapped a low shot off the base of the post.
Cristian Pavon pushed the Galaxy back in front with a firm finish at the far post early in the second half, only for Elis to draw the Dynamo level again eight minutes later when he was left inexplicably unmarked at the back stick.
Ramirez bagged his second after Elis found him with an endline cutback in the 83rd, dooming LA to their second disappointing result in as many weeks. Memo Rodriguez tapped in an injury-time exclamation point to pour more salt in the wound and send off DaMarcus Beasley a winner in the final match of his illustrious 20-year career, the MLS and US men's national team legend drawing a standing ovation as he left the pitch in the 89th minute.
- 9' – LA – Zlatan Ibrahimovic | WATCH
- 45+2' – HOU – Christian Ramirez | WATCH
- 54' – LA – Cristian Pavon | WATCH
- 62' – HOU – Alberth Elis
- 83' – HOU – Christian Ramirez | WATCH
- 90+4' – HOU – Memo Rodriguez | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Does anyone in MLS have a higher ceiling and lower floor than the Galaxy? After last week's stunning 4-3 home loss to Vancouver, on Sunday they melted under the Texas sun on an afternoon where temperatures climbed well above the 90-degree mark and hydration breaks were required. What they'll do in the playoffs is anyone's guess.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Perhaps it was fate that "Superman" Ramirez, a former Minnesota United and LAFC player, wreaked havoc on the Galaxy with the game-winner that means the Loons get to host LA in the first round of the postseason, rather than vice versa...
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Ramirez's brace was huge, but Alberth Elis was the real menace at BBVA Stadium, scoring one Houston goal, assisting on two more and playing a key role on another.
- Houston: End of season
- LA: Sunday, Oct. 20 at Minnesota, 8:30 pm ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes) | Round One, Audi MLS Cup Playoffs