In the final home game of the year, interim manager Wade Barrett elected to change some of his lineup around which included putting in Yair Arboleda at right midfield, giving Keyner Brown another start in central defense, and putting Cristian Maidana back into the central attacking midfield role. Barrett could have made some of these choices due to the playoffs being a mathematical impossibility at this point, but with a game played earlier this week at Seattle, the decision to evaluate some of the young players was an easy one. This time they face the always dangerous LA Galaxy with Landon Donovan back in the fold.
Houston would get one of the best chances early on as Collen Warner was able to collect a poor clearance by LA Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe. Warner quickly passed the ball to Mauro Manotas who took a shot that went wide of the goal. The opening minutes featured little offense for each side, but the Dynamo’s pressing made it difficult for LA to break down the Dynamo defense and created a few counter attacking opportunities.
Los Angeles found some opportunities of their own before the 30 minute mark as a teasing pass towards Alan Gordon would have found the veteran forward free directly in front of goal, but the Dynamo were able to shield Gordon off the ball and Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis was able to collect the ball. Moments later Landon Donovan found himself free as he dribbled through the defense and got a shot off that somehow deflected off a Dynamo player to go over the top of the crossbar leading to a LA corner kick.
The young Yair Arboleda made a great run before halftime as he broke one tackle, but goalkeeper Brian Rowe read the play perfectly to deny the Dynamo a goal before half. LA would respond with Emmanuel Boateng getting back-to-back shots blocked by Joe Willis before the half whistle blew.
The Dynamo defense stood up well early in the first half, but LA’s chances gradually increased and looked more and more dangerous. Houston’s chances were limited to counter attacks, usually after intercepting a pass or by playing a long ball from the back.
Andrew Wenger and Ricardo Clark were part of a double substitution and the two helped the offense immediately. Wenger carved out a nice run and played a nice ball to Manotas, but Manotas’s pass to Boniek was well behind the Honduran National Team player.
The Galaxy opened the scoring at BBVA with Alan Gordon being able to finish a ball that wasn’t cleared after Joe Willis spilled a previous save. David Horst tried to clear the ball, but it found its way to Gordon who easily directed the ball into the back of the net.
The Dynamo switched to a 3 man back line after going down a goal when they substituted Will Bruin on for David Horst. This helped pressure the LA defense more and nearly led to a goal after some nice build up play. Keyner Brown crossed a ball into Will Bruin who headed the ball just over the top of the bar.
Despite 5 minutes of stoppage time at the end of the game, the Dynamo were unable to find an equalizer. While the Dynamo showed glimpses of promise in this match, the lineup was largely comprised of bench players and the result was somewhat predictable. The Dynamo were successful for much of the game defending a very good attacking LA team, and had opportunities on counter attacks, but couldn’t put those chances away.
The final game of the season for the Dynamo is Sunday, October 23rd at 3:00 PM CT against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.