The Houston Dynamo came off a weekend win over the top team in the West, the Seattle Sounders and hoped to double their success with the LA Galaxy visiting the newly rebranded PNC Stadium. Unfortunately, the Galaxy were well motivated compared to the Dynamo who were recently eliminated from playoff contention resulting in a 3-0 win for the visiting Galaxy.
The opening minutes saw both sides active pushing forward. Efraín Álvarez and Julián Araujo were quick to make some attempts by the LA Galaxy with Álvarez striking the post. Houston had Sam Junqua and Fafà Picault trying their luck within the first ten minutes.
SO CLOSE!!— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) October 21, 2021
Efra nearly puts us up early on. pic.twitter.com/9o4CjCztKK
The LA Galaxy were aggressive early on and saw the Galaxy earn a couple of yellow cards, one from simulation by Javier Hernández and then a heavy tackle by Julián Araujo. They had a good chance on a set piece to go up before the 20th minute on a set piece following a foul by Darwin Cerén. Efraín Álvarez sent in a great ball to Javier Hernández who tried to one time the effort, but it was saved by Dynamo goalkeeper Michael Nelson.
Kid from Katy racking up alllll the stops pic.twitter.com/WHp5Zly6X6— Houston Dynamo FC (@HoustonDynamo) October 21, 2021
The Dynamo had a great chance to go up in the 22nd minute when Darwin Quintero played a ball in to forward Maxi Urruti. Urruti read the pass and tried to play it around LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond, but his effort went just wide.
The Galaxy continued to press for a goal in the first half with the Dynamo sitting deeper to defend, but the Houston defense was largely up to the task. Possession was in control by the Galaxy with the Dynamo defending, which led to more chances for the away side getting more chances.
Sacha Kljestan made it 1-0 for the visitors from the penalty spot in the 39th minute. Maynor Figueroa brought down Kévin Cabral and the center referee immediately pointed to the spot. Kljestan stepped up and delivered a shot that sent Michael Nelson the wrong way.
The Galaxy would double their lead before halftime with Javier Hernández playing a beautiful through pass to Álvarez. Álvarez tried to play the ball across goal to set up a tap in, but Zarek Valentin got a touch on the pass and it deflected into the net to make it 2-0 just before the half.
LA was quick to start the second half with another goal to make it 3-0. Javier Hernández (Chicharito) played a brilliant through ball to Efraín Álvarez. Álvarez got his defender to slip and measured a shot passed Nelson to put the visitors up with another goal. The Dynamo thought they had pulled one back a minute later with Quintero picking out Maxi Urruti and even though Urruti chipped Jonathan Bond, he was ultimately ruled offside.
As the half went on and both managers made changes, the Dynamo began to push for a goal with increased possession and more opportunities to pull one back. The Galaxy pulled their strikers which allowed Houston to take more risks higher up the field, but they still struggled to find that final pass or touch to really steal a goal back.
The Dynamo came close to getting a goal back before the 75th minute with substitute Tyler Pasher switching the field to find another substitute in Memo Rodríguez. Memo tried to pull a ball across goal, but his effort was saved by Jonathan Bond and Darwin Quintero wasn’t able to get on the end of his save which kept the score 3-0.
After 90 minutes it was a well fought effort by the Dynamo, but the Galaxy had more motivation on their side. The Galaxy took advantage of their lead in the first half and did well to possess and make the Dynamo chase the game while weathering the late push by Houston.
Next up for the Dynamo is a Texas Derby with Houston going on the road to face Austin FC on a Sunday afternoon at 4:00 PM CT.
39’ LAG: Sacha Kljestan (penalty kick)
45’+1’ LAG: Zarek Valentin (own goal)
47’ LAG: Kévin Cabral (assisted by Javier Hernández)
9’ LAG: Javier Hernández (yellow card)
11’ LAG: Julián Araujo (yellow card)
37’ HOU: Maynor Figueroa (yellow card)
84’ LAG: Nicholas DePuy (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (3-4-1-2): Michael Nelson; Maynor Figueroa (HT Tyler Pasher), Zarek Valentin (HT Adam Lundkvist), Tim Parker; Sam Junqua, Adalberto Carrasquilla (62’ Joe Corona), Darwin Cerén (80’ Ian Hoffman), Griffin Dorsey; Darwin Quintero; Maxi Urruti (62’ Memo Rodríguez), Fafà Picault
LA Galaxy (4-4-2): Jonathan Bond; Niko Hämäläinen, Derrick Williams (68’ Séga Coulibaly), Nick DePuy, Julián Araujo (HT Oniel Fisher); Sebastian Lletget, Sacha Kljestan, Jonathan dos Santos (71’ Adam Saldaña), Efraín Álvarez; Kévin Cabral (60’ Samuel Grandsir), Javier Hernández (60’ Dejan Joveljić)