The Houston Dynamo ended the season the way that they had started it: strong. This wasn’t the Dynamo’s year as the club again missed the playoffs, but it was great for the team to reward the fans – on Fan Appreciation Night no less- in the final game of the season. The visiting LA Galaxy had something to play for and even though they were able to take the lead on two occasions, the Dynamo played their way back into the game and came away with three points.
Both sides had come out aggressive, playing at a high tempo. After some back and forth play, the LA Galaxy would strike first with it coming from their super star in Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The ball moved from side to side in the Dynamo defensive third and then would land at Ibrahimovic’s feet at the corner of the top of the 18 yard box. He coolly took his time and lobbed one over goalkeeper Tyler Deric back post to make it 1-0 Galaxy.
After Zlatan’s 9th minute goal, momentum had completely shifted to the visitors. The Dynamo had surrendered possession and their chances to equalize mostly came from the counter attack. However, in the second minute of stoppage time before halftime Houston would equalize. Alberth Elis pounced on a ball out of the back and tried to beat goalkeeper David Bingham, but he struck the side crossbar. Luckily Christian Ramirez followed the run and did what good strikers do: be at the right place at the right time. He took a poor first touch, but was able to slide into his shot to beat Bingham.
The Dynamo came out after halftime with a lot of confidence as they commanded more possession and had come close to finding the back of the net, but even though the Galaxy were being outplayed, they still took advantage of the chance they had to go up a second time. Favio Álvarez had the ball near the penalty spot and saw an unmarked Cristian Pavón making a run back post. He slotted the winger the ball and he beat Tyler Deric at the far post in the 54th minute.
Instead of continuing the game defeated, the Dynamo continued their aggressive game plan and found their way back into the game thanks to an Alberth Elis strike. Elis found himself unmarked back post and Kiki Struna sent in a ball to the Honduran. Elis chested the ball down and volleyed one passed Bingham to put the Dynamo back in the game which he celebrated with his usual panther pose.
Elis wasn’t done leaving his mark on the game as he helped the Dynamo take the lead and then he helped secure it by assisting on a goal in stoppage time. First Elis found himself free on the right wing defended by Diego Polenta. Elis tried to get around Polenta using his speed, but Polenta used his strength to try and shield the ball as it went out of play. Only, it didn’t go out of play and Elis regained possession and picked out Ramirez who one timed it into the net in the 83rd minute.
As the Galaxy tried to find an equalizer, Davy Arnaud managed the lead very well as he had his side try to retain as much possession away from our goal as possible. It had LA chasing much of the game with Dynamo players doing the smart thing and resetting and finding room on the counter to keep the game away from our net but with the ball at our feet. This approach helped lead to an insurance goal which killed the game off for good. In the 4th minute of stoppage time Elis again with space to work nutmegged Polenta and then played a ball across the mouth of goal for Memo Rodríguez to tap into the net. 4-2 Houston.
It was a great night capped off by a great farewell to USMNT and now Dynamo legend DaMarcus Beasley. His time in Houston didn’t see us win any MLS Cups, but we did have a successful US Open Cup run last season. Early on in the game we saw the visiting LA Galaxy supporters challenging Dynamo supporters for making the most noise in the stadium, but by the end it was an electric atmosphere with wild celebrations for each Dynamo goal and a hell of an ovation for DaMarcus Beasley.
9’ LAG: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (assisted by Sebastian Lletget)
45’ + 2’ HOU: Christian Ramirez
54’ LAG: Cristian Pavón (assisted by Uriel Antuna, Favio Álvarez)
62’ HOU: Alberth Elis (assisted by Kiki Struna)
83’ HOU: Christian Ramirez (assisted by Alberth Elis)
90’ + 4’ HOU: Memo Rodríguez (assisted by Alberth Elis)
45’ + 1’ LAG: Rolf Feltscher (yellow card)
70’ HOU: Oscar Boniek García (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-2-2-2): Tyler Deric; DaMarcus Beasley (89’ José Bizama), Alejandro Fuenmayor, Kiki Struna, Adam Lundqvist; Oscar Boniek García, Matías Vera; Tomás Martínez (74’ Tommy McNamara), Alberth Elis; Christian Ramirez, Mauro Manotas (82’ Memo Rodríguez)
LA Galaxy (4-3-3): David Bingham; Dave Romney, Diego Polenta, Giancarlo González. Rolf Feltscher (67’ Julian Araujo); Joe Corona (23’ Favio Álvarez), Jonathan dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget; Cristian Pavón, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Uriel Antuna