Thank goodness for Houston's disjointed passing game. Without it, watchers might not have witnessed any goals yesterday afternoon. Luckily, David Horst's "clearance" hit Alan Gordon in the legs (right place, right time), after another crummy sequence of play from the Dynamo.
That's not to say the Galaxy were scintillating in the Houston heat. Nope. Instead, LA fans suffered through another slog where most of LA's players looked like they were playing through mud, and a lucky bounce spared their blushes. Though the Galaxy finally out shot a team!
LA gets to start the playoffs at home with the win on Sunday, but does anyone feel good about the playoffs out there?
How did the players perform?
Emmanuel Boateng: Was a threat on the left all game long. He has come a long way from looking like a headless chicken that managed to find it's way into an MLS game. He beat Mansally a few times, had three shots on target, and a few decent balls into the box. He also had a shot headed towards goal that forced a Willis save, and had some decent game management into the waning seconds driving the ball into the corner.
AJ DeLaGarza: Great decision-making with his body placement, cutting out several passes (4 interceptions in threatening areas). He's not had the best of seasons, but had a very good game against the Dynamo.
Brian Rowe: Did his job with a couple of saves and a nice punch at the end of the game after coming out on a corner. Had one distribution error in the first half straight to a Dynamo player that could have resulted in danger, but fizzled out. One note: he needs to be better at wasting time. I've lost years off my life watching several 90+ opposing goals this season, so Rowe has got to be better about taking his sweet old time putting the ball into play. Did CCL teach him nothing?
Baggio Husidic: Had the most key passes for LA with three. I can't believe I just wrote that. Solid, veteran outing (minus a bad giveaway in the first 10 minutes directly to a Houston central midfielder). He was everywhere in midfield clogging up Houston's play.
Robbie Rogers: Had a nice foray into the attacking third with Donovan in the 21st minute, and a key pass in the 24th minute, but stayed home after that. Very tidy with the ball with a few inventive passes, in particular with Landon on the right. Applied pressure, and made no major mistakes.
Daniel Steres: A few more defensive actions than DeLaGarza, and no major brain farts. Fading into the background is a good thing in this case.
Alan Gordon: Would have been in the poor category except he scored, and was part of the build-up (1 key pass). It was his best play of the game, and he was in the right place at the right time for a blown clearance. Other than that, he just didn't see enough of the ball, and his hold up play needed improvement.
Ashley Cole: Beat a few times by Houston midfielders, and had a few lackadaisical moments where his lack of pressure resulted in danger. Three lost tackles. I've given up on him feeding into the attack.
Landon Donovan: Glad he got 60 minutes in. That's amazing in itself. This was pretty much a "get fit" stint for him, and he managed it well. He still looks slow relative to what we know he can do, but he was the smartest player in the first half. That said, he must improve for the playoffs, he still looks rusty. 1 key pass and 1 blocked shot.
Sebastian Lletget: Wrong decision after wrong decision in the final 18. He needs to play centrally, he's better playing centrally, but he has GOT to make a better final pass. Four passes in the attacking third *total.* 1 key pass. Two promising plays died due to an erroneous final ball.
Giovani dos Santos: Wouldn't pass to a teammate to save his life. Not sure why. Two promising forays forward with a wide open Boateng and a very open Donovan ended after selfish play. Nicely taken shot that Willis saved, and two key passes. But was missing for a good chunk of the game.
Mike Magee: Instant energy into the attack, and his shot is the one that rebounded to Horst, and then to Gordon. Veteran savviness by shaving minutes off the clock with long corners. Game management matters!
Jeff Larentowicz and Ariel Lassiter: N/A