Though tonight marked the return of Robbie Keane to the Galaxy lineup, it was Alan Gordon who saved LA's bacon once again, as the super sub scored in stoppage time to give the Galaxy a dramatic 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo Friday night at the StubHub Center.
LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) May 23, 2015
Not surprisingly, the Galaxy adjusted their starting 11, with Oscar Sorto making his 1st MLS start at left back alongside Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo and Dan Gargan. Baggio Husidic, Juninho, Mika Vayrynen and Stefan Ishizaki manned the midfield, while Jose Villarreal and Gyasi Zardes started up top.
The Houston Dynamo went with a 4-4-1-1 formation, with Giles Barnes tucked beneath Will Bruin and two blocks of four intent on making life difficult for the Galaxy attack. And during the first 45 minutes, they mostly succeeded as the game devolved into a listless affair devoid of clear-cut chances.
The action picked up in the second half with the Galaxy in the mood to claim all three points. Having missed the past seven games with a groin injury, a loud roar erupted from the crowd as Robbie Keane began to strip off his warmups, and in the 56th minute, the Irishman entered the match to a thunderous ovation. A few minutes later, Raul Rodriguez attempted to chest a Keane cross to goalkeeper Tyler Deric, but Zardes wisely anticipated the ball and poked a close-range shot off Deric for a corner kick.
Soon afterwards Alan Gordon replaced Jose Villarreal and scored almost immediately. Stefan Ishizaki raced onto a Dan Gargan through ball and cut an inch perfect pass back to Gordon alone in the center of the box. Gordon placed a low left footed drive destined for the net, but the shot ricocheted in traffic before the ball was eventually cleared.
The Galaxy continued to dominate possession but struggled to seriously threaten the Houston goal, and just when it seemed the game was destined for a draw, Alan Gordon rescued LA. In the 92nd minute, a Robbie Keane cross found Gordon far post, and the 6'3" forward delicately looped the ball over Deric's head and into the net.
Late on Oscar Sorto received a straight red for a heavy challenge on center back David Horst, putting a somber note on what was a bright outing for the 20-year old.
The Galaxy next play Wednesday night at home vs. Real Salt Lake.