It was a late kickoff in the Central Standard Time Zone, but the Houston Dynamo made it worth it for fans that stayed up to watch the match against the LA Galaxy. Behind a second half goal from midfielder Andrew Driver, the Dynamo defeated the Galaxy on the road for their first victory away from home this season. The win now puts the Dynamo in a four way tie for first place in the Eastern Conference.
In all honesty, the match could have been a higher scoring affair. Between the two sides, there were a total of 33 shots on the night. Several of the attempts made for some oohs and ahhs, but most of the night the shots just weren't on target. Out of the 33 total shots, only four were on goal.
The Galaxy looked to take the early commanding lead right away when Mike Magee fired a long range shot from outside the penalty arc in the 8th minute. Tally Hall made a diving attempt at the shot, but it floated just wide of the upper corner. The Dynamo came back just minutes later and nearly scored on one of their best chances of the evening. With Brad Davis suspended for a red card, Boniek Garcia stepped in to take the corner kicks. His attempt found the head of Bobby Boswell, who angled the shot perfectly towards goal. Galaxy keeper Carlo Cudicini made a great save on the shot to preserve the 0-0 scoreline.
In the 24th minute, Landon Donovan made his presence felt with a perfectly placed through ball past the Dynamo defense. Jose Villarreal got behind Jermaine Taylor and his speed proved too much for Boswell. Hall came out and knocked down Villarreal with a sliding tackle, forcing the referee to point to the penalty spot. Hall wasn't issued discipline since Villarreal wasn't headed in towards goal; his last touch pushed the ball out wide towards the corner area.
Donovan, in only his second start from returning, stepped up to take the penalty kick for LA, but sent in a weak shot. Hall read it perfectly, and stopped the shot to keep the game level.
In the second half Boswell, who was wearing the captain's armband in Davis' absence, sent a nice longball down the field to Giles Barnes. Barnes, who continues to impress as Houston's second striker option, knocked the ball through his defender's legs to open space near the box.
Just when you thought there wasn't anyone to clean up the loose ball, Andrew Driver came sprinting into the television screen and fired a left footed shot right past Cudicini for the 1-0 lead. Both Boswell and Barnes were credited with the assist and it was Driver's second goal on the year.
It was evident Houston wanted more as defender Corey Ashe made an attempt at an Adam Moffat rocket minutes later by firing a shot from long range, but the shot went wide of the net.
The Galaxy had at least two more solid chances to find the equalizer, but the Dynamo defense stood tall.
In the 66th minute, Villarreal flicked a ball over the Dynamo backline to Gyasi Zardes, who made a run in on goal. Tally Hall came up big for the Dynamo by blocking his attempt. Juninho nearly equalized the match a few minutes later, but his shot landed on the top of the net.
LA's best opportunity game in the final 10 minutes of the match, when Mike Magee found himself wide open near the penalty spot, but his shot was sent into the stands.
The win was the first victory for the Houston Dynamo on the road in 2013, but second road game in a row where they picked up points after a draw in Toronto on April 20. This is highly encouraging and a big part of the reason the Dynamo are off their best start in franchise history through nine games.
Houston (5-2-2, 17 points) now sits in a four way tie with New York Red Bulls, Sporting Kansas City, and the Montreal Impact for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Galaxy (4-2-2, 14 points) remain in second place in the Western Conference and the loss snapped a two game winning streak for LA.
The Dynamo will continue their tough week as they travel across the country to face D.C. United on Wednesday. Dominic Kinnear's choice of starters will be interesting considering he only used on substitute (Brian Ching for Barnes) in the match against LA. Brad Davis will be available for selection after serving his suspension.
What were your thoughts on the match? Who was the man of the match? Barnes, Hall, Driver?