Los Angeles Galaxy earn draw against Houston Dynamo, 1-1

March 22, 2015

Carson. Calif. -- After earning a difficult tie last weekend at Portland, the Los Angeles Galaxy once again drew even, producing a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dynamo at home Saturday night in front of 19,087 fans in attendance.

The tightly contested result was not surprising, as the Galaxy and Houston have quite a history, having battled in back-to-back MLS Cups in 2011 and 2012.

This matchup got off to a quick start with both teams getting breakaway opportunities in the opening minutes.

In the 3rd minute, Robbie Keane got the ball following a Jose Villareal takeaway and pass.  Keane darted up the midfield with Nathan Sturgis defending him.  When Sturgis overcommitted to a Keane ball fake, Keane cut inside toward the goal.  With the goalkeeper and defender coming at him, Keane was able to get the shot off and score in the back of the net despite it being partially deflected.  It was Keane’s second goal of the season and it put LA up early, 1-0.

Los Angeles' lead would not last long though.  In the 11th minute, Houston earned a corner-kick, and as the ball sailed into the box, the Dynamo’s David Horst won the header and sent it towards the post.  Nathan Sturgis, who was originally marked by Robbie Rogers, found himself alone at the post to punch the ball in for the tie.

"We had a mental breakdown on a corner kick," said Galaxy coach Bruce Arena.  "Robbie Rogers loses his man, and it’s a goal. In a game like this where your opponent is sitting back and defending with numbers looking to get at you on the break, or perhaps on a restart, we’ve got to be better than that. To concede a goal shortly after we scored, that’s not good on our part. Just on the night, I don’t think we were sharp, and I give Houston credit. They played real hard."

Throughout the rest of the first half, Houston showed more energy than LA, and did a good job of limiting the Galaxy's chances.  The first half also saw Houston’s Ricardo Clark nearly scoring from another corner-kick before exiting the game with a chest injury.

“When we got the goal, we were good for about ten minutes then we stopped playing. We dropped off, and let them play," said Keane.  "They got the goal, and then they got a grip on the game. They look fairly comfortable I would say. They probably looked like they were a little bit of a better team in the first half; and with possession at times. But at home, we should be certainly doing a lot better than that.”

The second half brought more scoring chances for LA, starting in the 49th minute when Baggio Husidic headed the ball to the far post, but Tyler Deric tipped it over the crossbar.

The Galaxy’s offensive attack was at its highest in the final twenty minutes of the match, as Mika Vayrynen's strike from 25 yards out in the 71st minute forced Deric to make a diving save.  Seconds later, Omar Gonzalez sent a header towards goal that Deric also punched away.

Then, in the 78th minute following a Villareal play that earned a free-kick, Juninho aimed a shot for the near post and was able to get it over the defense, but Deric was again in the right position.

The Galaxy’s last chance came in the 80th minute when Keane got the ball at the top of the 18-yard box and quickly took the shot, but Deric was able to get his hands up and save it.

“The last draw in Portland felt like a win, this draw felt like a loss," said Omar Gonzalez.  "We want to win at home every chance we get, and when you don’t it’s very upsetting not only for the players, but for the fans. So the draw isn’t good enough.  Next time we’re at home, we want to get three points no matter what.”

The Galaxy are now 1-0-2 on the season, and will travel to play DC United on March 28 at 4 p.m. PT as part of its upcoming two-game road trip.  The game will be televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes.

News and Notes

  • Finnish midfielder Mika Vayrynen, signed two weeks ago, made his second-straight appearance for the Galaxy when he came into the match for Baggio Husidic in the 68th minute.
  • Panamanian Goalkeeper Jaime Penedo earned his first start of the season for the Galaxy. It was his 39th start for the Galaxy since joining the club in 2013.
  • Defenders Omar Gonzalez and Leonardo paired together in central defense for the third consecutive time this season. On the year, the Galaxy are 1-0-2 with three goals allowed with Gonzalez and Leonardo defending centrally.
  • Veteran forward Edson Buddle made his first appearance for the Galaxy this season when he entered the match in the 86th minute in place of Dan Gargan.

By Brian Kowalski
Staff Reporter for TheDailySportsHerald.com

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