In a match most outside of the greater Houston area, and even many within, had already pegged as a win for the LA Galaxy, the Houston Dynamo defended like a team with something to prove. From goalkeeper, Tally Hall, all the way up to forwards Will Bruin and Giles Barnes, there was nobody in Orange who hadn't left it all on the field. The end result of the team's effort was the first away victory of this MLS season.
Before I really get into the meat and potatoes of this recap, I want to call out Major League Soccer for these continued asenine start times. Look, I realize you want to pander and cater to the big sports network for the wonderful national coverage, but do you expect many fans to tune in outside of the West Coast and Houston? I guarantee the match set a pretty low viewing threshold. Poor, poor marketing decision by the league.
Early on the Dynamo looked content to play the counter attack, and seemed to do so for large stretches of the game. While the Galaxy did manage to win a Penalty Kick, which in all fairness was a correct call by the referee, Landon Donovan could not convert the chance. Landycakes stutter-stepped and then unleashed a rather Gals-esque limp attempt toward Tally Hall's right side which he easily deflected to keep the game level.
Both teams went to the locker rooms even at halftime, with neither team able to find the back of the net. Give the Galaxy some credit, because even though the scoreline did show 0-0 at halftime, the match was weighted slightly in their favor for numerous reasons. Ok, so it was mostly just the referee's foul-calling, which was neither consistent nor even. Oh, and the Galaxy like to flop. I think they took some lessons from that fish who no longer plays for the Seattle Sounders, Fredy Montero.
The Dynamo came out of halftime and continued to secure their end of the pitch, preventing anything more than a few corner kicks and pathetic attempts at trying to draw foul calls close to the box. Apparently, they expect a foul call every time they hit the grass. Newsflash Galaxy players, that isn't how the beautiful game became beautiful.
Eventually, the counter attack pressure paid off as the Galaxy had pressed forward overly high, and the Dynamo attack finally took advantage. It started from the back with Bobby Boswell relaying a long pass to Giles Barnes, who then found space and passed the ball back to the top of the box where Andrew Driver fired to the inside post and into the back of the net.
While the Galaxy managed repeated attacks, the men in orange stifled each and every one. Whether by luck, skill or sheer intestinal fortitude, the Houston Dynamo thwarted all attempts to hold onto the 1-0 victory. The victory marks their first on the road in this MLS season, and marks the first time the team have won in Home Depot Center since 2007.
Next up is DC United in DC on Wednesday. An opportunity to create a new streak, and to make our march toward sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference of MLS.
One word describes my feelings and emotions at the end of the game.