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Day one deadlock: Houston Dynamo 1, LA Galaxy 1

Chicharito’s debut does not lead to opening-day win.

MLS: LA Galaxy at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Chicharito made his MLS debut, Cristian Pavon scored another cracker, but the LA Galaxy had to settle for a 1-1 road draw to open the 2020 MLS regular season on Saturday at BBVA Stadium in Houston.

It was a performance that had its moments but LA could not be a dominant force on opening day, with new faces and injuries leading to a so-so game, although picking up even a point on the road is a solid accomplishment in MLS.

LA’s lineup was along the lines of what was expected, given injuries, with Perry Kitchen starting in midfield for Jonathan dos Santos and Nick DePuy lining up at center back alongside Giancarlo Gonzalez. Newcomers Sacha Kljestan, Emiliano Insua, Aleksandar Katai and of course, Chicharito all started the game.

Katai nearly had a dream start for LA in the opening minutes, his header off a cross in the box clanging off the post just two minutes in.

The first goal of the game in direct fashion, with David Bingham distributing out to Pavon, the Argentine going it alone, dribbling upfield, cutting inside and unleashing a rocket to make it 1-0 in the 13th minute.

Houston’s first real chance of the game came in the 36th minute, as a patient buildup led to Bingham taking a risk coming out of net, but Boniek Garcia’s shot tamely went into the side netting and LA escaped with no goal conceded.

LA entered the halftime break with a 1-0 lead, but they were pegged back in the 54th minute, as Zarek Valentin found Mauro Manotas and the Colombian had a rather simple finish to tie it up at 1-1.

While LA looked decent in the first half, their high tempo seemed to decline over the course of the game and Houston’s more deliberate pace allowed them to come on stronger as the game wore on, and the Galaxy faded. It wasn’t a horrible performance, much more middling, but LA’s struggles under Guillermo Barros Schelotto to cohere as a team on the field continued in this game. At the same time, the Dynamo very much looked like a work in progress in this game, too.

With that, the Galaxy will brush themselves off, look to improve and get in some rhythm, as they open their home slate next Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Can this opening draw help them build to a better performance in Week 2? Time will tell.

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