Drilling down on: at Houston 2, L.A. Galaxy 1

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Man of the Match: Houston’s left-sided midfielder Brad Davis worked inside liberally, helping his team manage possession. All that possession served to wilt the visitors, who were travel weary and certainly not acclimated to Houston-level heat and humidity. Plus, another of Davis’ typically pinpoint corner kicks his the right spot for Andrew Hainault’s game-winner.

Packaged for take-away:

  • The Dynamo are unbeaten over its last four; The Galaxy are winless (0-5-2) over their last seven.
  • The Galaxy, with so many holes to patch, really should concentrate on playing better defense, keeping better possession and creating more chances … and focus a little less on doing the referee’s job for him.
  • The Dynamo defense looked terrible on the early Galaxy goal (in its first few minutes dealing with Geoff Cameron’s absence).  Replaced center back Jermaine Taylor got pulled out wide, and when Bobby Boswell failed to track Edson Buddle in the middle, the Galaxy striker had an easy, uncontested put-away from close range for the early lead.
  • Brian Ching had two terrific chances in the first 16 minutes, one from Davis’ delicate through ball and one from Corey Ashe’s accurate left-sided serve.
  • Ashe had a solid match, much of it spent being a bother in the Galaxy end, never mind that he was playing left back for the home side.
  • More back line problems for the Galaxy. The own goal came off Mike Magee, but that was just unlucky. The problem was a failure to reorganize after a clearance. Ching drifted in between center backs Bryan Gaul and A.J. DeLaGarza and was wide  open as he turned and  aimed the fateful shot at Galaxy goal. So the failure to organize and locate  strikers was the real culprit.
  • The Galaxy led MLS last year with 17 shutouts. To hit that total again this year they’ll need … 17. Yes, L.A. continues in search of its first clean sheet this year.
  • The Galaxy, with a couple of men on the wrong side of 30 and several others who haven’t played much and therefore can’t be game fit, looked positively gassed after 35 minutes.
  • Day games in Texas? Hmmm. I’m sure it has to do with TV slots and such, but …. Hmmmm.
  • Suspension ahead for Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens for his dangerous foul near midfield just after intermission? Quite possibly.
  • The Galaxy can complain all they want about referee decisions, but two very important decisions went their way Saturday. Referee Silviu Petrescu could have red carded Stephens and probably should have red-carded young center back Bryan Gaul, who denied a goal-scoring opportunity to a breaking Will Bruin in the 60th minute. Both players received cautions.
  • The Dynamo had an interesting tactical choice to make around the 65th minute. The Galaxy, having played four nights earlier, traveled into Houston and then playing in oppressive heat, looked absolutely spent. So Houston moved the ball around patiently, sucking some life out of the game. They might have been better to press the pedal against a spent visitor. In the end, obviously, it worked out fine.