LOS ANGELES — Mr. Stoppage Time came through again and the L.A. Galaxy finally got back on track Friday night with a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo.
“He’s an unbelievable header of the ball,” Keane said about Gordon following the victory. “So every time I’m there, as soon as he’s on the field, I know where he’s going to be.”
“When you play with somebody, you pick up their tendencies and it’s something I know Robbie’s [Keane] is going to look for,” Gordon explained after the match. “If he isn’t going to shoot, he is going to look for me in the back post. So I faked him side to the back post and he played a wonderful ball. I did my best to get it back post and it just kind of looped in.”
Keane’s game-winning assist notched his first assist of the season, giving the former MLS MVP 36 assists in five seasons with the Galaxy.
“I would have scored that if he [Gordon] set me up like that… nah I’m joking,” Keane added.
The Galaxy are now unbeaten in 27 consecutive Major League Soccer (MLS) matches and 28 consecutive matches in all competitions at StubHub Center. In fact, the team has only lost just three of their last 49 home MLS games.
“It’s nice to get three points,” head coach Bruce Arena said about the win. “We have to take advantage of the games at home, like every team in the league. It’s important for us to win these types of games. We fouled up in a bunch of these games this year. Tonight, it’s a real good sign. Still at the end of these games, we have to close it out in a better fashion. Tonight, we end up getting red carded in the 93 after scoring a goal. You scratch your head. We’ve just got to be better in these moments and hopefully, we will be as the season progresses.”
Following a road trip that seemingly offered no positives, the Galaxy came out in the opening minutes looking to be the aggressor.
The Galaxy tested Deric early and often, most notably in the 12th minute when a dangerous ball was punched away and picked up Gyasi Zardes. The forward ultimately missed wide of the post thanks in part to Houston’s Jermaine Taylor closing the gap.
The climax of the first half came in the 43rd minute when Houston’s Raul Rodriguez brought down Jose Villarreal half-of-a-foot outside of the 18-yard box.
Rodriguez was penalized with a yellow card, but the free kick would get deflected for a corner that would be just as futile. The first half finished scoreless.
Despite controlling the tempo and possession in the first half, the Galaxy were unable to take advantage. In fact, some would even argue the Galaxy were lucky not to be down given the shots on goal Will Bruin had.
Fairly early on in the second half, both sides brought on players who each scored goals in the previous matchup between the two sides: Nathan Sturgis and Keane.
It was Keane’s first time back on the field in seven weeks. He had not played a minute of action since the April 4th loss in Vancouver.
As if a flip of a switch, the Galaxy all of a sudden played with better on-field chemistry.
“Well I’m not a player that eases into things, I think you probably know that,” Keane said about his return. “As soon as I’m ready I want to jump right in.”
The Galaxy played the final 30 minutes of Friday night’s game in similar fashion to their style from 2014, a much more satisfying product for the coaching staff and the fans.
“He’s an influence and obviously, he had an assist on the game winning goal,” Arena said. “He’s been out for so long and to ask him to play for 35 minutes is pushing it a little bit. I think under the circumstances he did really well.”
The LA Galaxy are back in action this Wednesday, May 27 at 7:30 p.m. PT when they host Real Salt Lake.
LA Galaxy: Jaime Penedo; Oscar Sorto, Leonardo, Omar Gonzalez ©, Dan Gargan; Baggio Husidic, Juninho, Mika Vayrynen (Robbie Keane 56’), Stefan Ishizaki (Ignacio Maganto 85’); Jose Villarreal (Alan Gordon 68’), Gyasi Zardes.
Substitutions not used: Brian Rowe, Tommy Meyer, Rafael Garcia, Kenney Walker.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13; SHOTS ON GOAL: 2; FOULS: 9; OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 2.
Houston Dynamo: Tyler Deric, Jermaine Taylor, DaMarcus Beasley, Raul Rodriguez, David Horst; Ricardo Clark, Giles Barnes, Brad Davis, Boniek Garcia (Alexander Lopez 66’), Luis Garrido (Nathan Sturgis 54’), Will Bruin (Rob Lovejoy 88’).
Substitutions not used: Joe Willis, Chandler Hoffman, Kofi Sarkodie, Leonel Miranda.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10; SHOTS ON GOAL: 2; FOULS: 13; OFFSIDE: 2; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 1.
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Referee’s Assistants: Ian Anderson and Marco Arruda
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal