Houston Dynamo

23 May 12:19 am

CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane had strong words for MLS referee Ismail Elfath after the official sent off Galaxy left back Oscar Sorto in stoppage time of the club's 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo. 

The call in question happed in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time when Sorto brought down David Horst after clearing away a Houston Dynamo corner at the edge of the penalty area. Immediately after the challenge, Elfath pulled out a yellow card but later pulled it back, instead offering a straight red card explusion for the 20-year-old who was making his first career MLS start. On the league's official scoresheet after the match, Elfath's noted that Sorto was sent off due to "a fight" rather than a foul. 

After the match, Keane echoed the sentiments of LA boss Bruce Arena who told reporters afterward that the foul should have resulted in a yellow card caution rather than a red

“Very strange. He took a yellow card out and put it in his pocket. To be honest, I hate even saying this but I thought that the referee was poor all night. He made some strange, strange decisions and if he’s got an assessor upstairs, I’m sure he’s thinking that he didn’t have his best game. We all, at times, don’t play well but he had some fairly easy decisions to make, and he wasn’t calling them," Keane said. "It was very strange. For Oscar, it was his [first] start, he had a great game, the referee was standing right beside him and could clearly see that it was a yellow card, it wasn’t from behind, it was from the side. The guy came from in front of him, so it wasn’t like he was trying to [injure] him. It definitely wasn’t a red card so whoever makes the decision to rescind that call, if they don’t rescind it, it’s an absolute embarrassment.

"The kid did not deserve get to sent off tonight regardless if it was his second game or his 500th game, he didn’t deserve to get sent off. He had a great game, and it was ruined by an erratic decision.  It wasn’t even erratic because he took the yellow card out so he had a few seconds to think about the call. He was thinking about the call but changed his mind because someone 50 yards away decided it was a red card. Surely if the referee is standing five yards from the play, he’s in a better place than the fourth official… If he can honestly see it from where he is and the ref can’t see it from five yards than something needs to be done about that. It was a very bad decision.”

22 May 1:27 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will look to snap their five game winless run on Friday when they return to StubHub Center for the first time since May 2nd to face the Houston Dynamo. 

Below are a series of links, matchups and a predicted score ahead of Friday's clash. 

LINKS

*After missing the last seven games, Robbie Keane says that he's fit enough to be back in the gameday squad for Friday's match

*Omar Gonzalez's status is also in question, but the LA defender says that he's ready to go if called upon on Friday

*Could Sebastian Lletget make his first start of his LA Galaxy career?

*In the latest edition of "By the Numbers," we look at the Galaxy's recent struggles

*Lastly, LAGalaxy.com's Larry Morgan provides the Match Preview Presented by 04 Water.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

Giles Barnes vs. Leonardo

With Omar Gonzalez still a question mark, Leonardo will need to lead the Galaxy defense as they look to stop the speedy Englishman. 

Juninho vs. Ricardo Clark

Perhaps the most important match of the game pits the two midfield commanders against one of another. Whichever is able to exert his influence on the game, will likely lead his side to victory.

Brad Davis vs. Dan Gargan

Gargan returns from his yellow card suspension and will immediately be tasked with slowing down Houston's Brad Davis. Look for Gargan to play Davis close to prevent him from sending in any dangerous crosses. 

PREDICTED SCORE

LA Galaxy 2 (Husidic, Zardes), Houston Dynamo 1 (Barnes)

20 May 2:50 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- Omar Gonzalez was unable to start the LA Galaxy's 4-0 defeat to Orlando City SC due to a knee issue, but the center back says that he is fit and ready to go for the club's upcoming match against the Houston Dynamo. 

Initially, the Galaxy stated that Gonzalez was on the bench due to squad rotation, but after the defeat, LA clarified that the 26-year-old was suffering from a knee injury. Although he  missed out on the Orlando match, Gonzalez has been in full training this week ahead of Friday's match against the Dynamo. 

"I'm doing good. It was just a precaution. I was just worried about some things but I'm feeling good and I'm good for Friday," said Omar Gonzalez. "If it was late in the season or a playoff game then no doubt I would have played. It was early in the season, and I figured that I wanted to stay safe." 

19 May 4:46 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy might have a little extra firepower on the field on Friday when they take on the Houston Dynamo. 

Edson Buddle (calf) and Robbie Keane (groin strain) have missed considerable time in 2015 due to injury but both were in full training on Monday. Given the Galaxy's offensive struggles in their 4-0 defeat to Orlando City SC, the chance to welcome back a pair of experienced attackers could be a major boost for LA on Friday, but their return to the field, is anything but a certainty. 

"We'll see," Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Tuesday. "We'll get through the week and we'll see with those guys and see how they're doing."

Buddle appears to be the closest to making a return after getting a solid 30 minute run out for LA Galaxy II during their defeat to Sacramento Republic. After training on Tuesday, the 33-year-old says that he's fit and ready to go 90 minutes if called upon. 

"I'll start. Absolutely. Put me in there coach!" Buddle joked. "I can definitely start and do it. I've been through harder things in my life." 

 

23 March 5:21 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- A.J. DeLaGarza made a major step forward in his recovery from a left foot injury on Sunday by going 90 minutes for LA Galaxy II in their scoreless draw with Real Monarchs SLC, and now that performance could see him return to the lineup for this weekend's match against D.C. United. 

With Bruce Arena and the rest of the Galaxy staff watching from the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium stands, DeLaGarza put in a confident performance as he helped Los Dos keep the Real Salt Lake USL affiliate off the scoreboard. The action was just DeLaGarza's third in-game stint in 2015 as he played briefly during the club's home opener against Chicago Fire and then again in an small scrimmage between the first team and Los Dos a week later. 

"He played well," Arena  said. "He's coming back and needed to get a game in. I think overall, it was a positive showing." 

LA GALAXY YOUNGSTERS HEAD OUT ON INTERNATIONAL DUTY

The LA Galaxy will have three of their bright young stars join U.S. youth national teams during the upcoming international window. 

LA will have two representatives on the U.S. Under-23 squad as defender Oscar Sorto and Galaxy II striker Ariel Lassiter were named to the head coach Andres Hertzog's European camp that will feature matches against Bosnia & Herzegovina's U-23 squad on March 27 and Denmark's U-23's on March 31. Lassiter will be making his first appearance for the U.S. youth squad while Sorto, who trained with the senior national team in January, is expecting to take a leadership role with the squad. 

"I'm going to ge tthere with confidence. I know what the coach wants from each player. I'm feeling very confident that I know how Hertzog wants to prepare and play," said Sorto. "This camp is going to be tough because I know that there will be a lot of players from around the world fighting for positions, but I think it's going to be a fun experience."

While the U-23's are training on the old continent, Galaxy Homegrown Player Bradford Jamieson IV and the U.S. Under-20's will train for a week in England. During their training camp in London, Jamieson IV and the rest of Tab Ramos' squad will face Tottenham Hotspur’s U-21 team on March 27 in London, and then England’s Under-21 Men’s National Team on March 29

"It feels good to join the squad. It's going to be great facilities and good competition over there with our two games," said Jamieson. "I love playing in England because soccer is a lifestyle there, and everyone loves the game so it makes it a good place to play."

ALAN GORDON ON TAILGATES AND BEING A FACE TO THE GALAXY SUPPORTERS

No LA Galaxy player this side of David Beckham has ever gone from hated foe to reviered hero faster than Alan Gordon. 

After making a habit of scoring against the Galaxy during his time with Chivas USA and Toronto FC, Gordon morphed into a true villian during his time with the hated San Jose Earthquakes. However, after returning to the club via a trade with San Jose last year, Gordon has endeared himself to LA supporters with five goals in 2014, and another in the early stages of the 2015 season.

Gordon has not only won the hearts of minds of Galaxy fans on the field, however, as he's also displayed a willingness to make his presence felt with supporters by buying pizzas and kegs at Galaxy matches. The 33-year-old was at it again on Sunday when he brought a keg of beer to tailgaters at Galaxy II's season opener. 

For Gordon, who went from enemy to hero faster than any player in Galaxy history, such fan support initatives are incredibly important for him and the team. 

"I was asked to draw some attention to Galaxy II and help bring people to support our young guys. We take a lot of the headlines [with the first team] so we know that we need to have people come out and follow some of our youngest players"

 

21 March 11:18 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed the media after the club's 1-1 draw to the Houston Dynamo.

Arena's comments are below.

(On what he liked and didn’t like…)

ARENA: “I didn’t like a whole lot on the night. We weren’t very good to be honest with you. We lost too many battles on the night; I think they played harder over 90 minutes than we did. I think that made a difference in the game. We had a chance to win possibly going away if we were a little sharper. We had a mental breakdown on a corner kick. Robbie Rogers loses his man, and it’s a goal. In a game like this where your opponent is sitting back and defending with numbers looking to get at you on the break, or perhaps on a restart, we’ve got to be better than that. To concede a goal shortly after we scored, that’s not good on our part. Just on the night, I don’t think we were sharp, and I give Houston credit. They played real hard.”

(On Mika Vayrynen…)

ARENA: “Well tonight he had 20 minutes; it’s still not enough time. He is a good player, he gets the ball moving quickly, knows how to get his teammates involved in the game. For the most part, he was pretty solid.”

(On Edson Buddle…)

ARENA: “It’s always hard bringing a player in, I believe he came in around the 85 minute. He battled in there. We didn’t get any service to him, but he’ll get more playing time as we move forward.”

(On Leonardo’s play…)

ARENA: “I think he had a solid night. I think [Giles] Barnes is a hard guy to play against, and he was matched up with him a lot during the night and for the most part, did well. He has had a good start to the season for us.”

(On the midfield creating chances…)

ARENA: “I think they did okay. Obviously our passing on the night wasn’t good. I think it’s a tribute to all the lines. I think our back line didn’t pass the ball very well. I think that impacted the ability for the midfielders to have a better impact on the game.”

(On the Dynamo…)

ARENA: “They play well. It’s not surprising that that’s how they play coming on the road, trying to get a point and all of that. Give them credit, they did a good job. We’re still not sharp enough at this point, still not fit enough, no question about that. I think their goalkeeper did a good job, their backline was pretty solid, didn’t let anything get behind them. Overall, on the night I think they defended pretty well.”

(On Jaime Penedo’s performance…)

ARENA: “He did a good job. He wasn’t tested a whole lot. I’d like to see his kicking game a little better, but he wasn’t called on to make a whole lot of saves tonight. It was a quite game in terms of shot blocking. I think he did fine.” 

21 March 3:53 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy will put their 20 game home unbeaten streak on the line on Saturday when they take on the Houston Dynamo in a rematch of the 2011 and 2012 MLS Cup finals.

Not only are the Galaxy unbeaten in 20 games, but LA have lost only three of their last 43 matches in all MLS competitions at StubHub Center. 

Below is a collection of links to read, questions to answer, and a predicted lineup ahead of Saturday's match. 

LINKS:

*A migraine prevented Jaime Penedo from starting in goal against the Portland Timbers last week, which allowed Brian Rowe to earn his second consecutive start. Could Penedo make his first start in goal on Saturday
 
 
*A.J. DeLaGarza says that he's ready to return to the lineup after overcoming a foot injury, but will he start against Houston?
 

*Lastly, in the latest edition of "By the Numbers," we look at the Galaxy's recent struggles against the Dynamo

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER:

WILL BRIAN ROWE OR JAIME PENEDO START IN GOAL?

Jaime Penedo appears set to return to the lineup on Saturday, but how will the Panamanian perform after spending the last two matches on the bench?

COULD MIKA VAYRYNEN START ALONGSIDE JUNINHO?

Kenney Walker and Baggio Husidic earned starts alongside Juninho in the club's first two matches, but Vayrynen's strong cameo against the Timbers could allow him to start against the Dynamo

CAN JOSE VILLARREAL KEEP UP HIS RUN OF GOOD FORM?

Jose Villarreal has been one of the stars of the LA Galaxy's season to date with two confident performances along the left side of midfield, but can he keep up his stellar form on Saturday?

PREDICTED LINEUP:

Penedo; Gargan, Gonzalez, Leonardo, Rogers; Ishizaki, Juninho, Husidic, Villarreal; Keane, Zardes 

20 March 1:54 pm

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane will have an opportunity to take an old rival from England on Saturday when he faces the Owen Coyle coached Houston Dynamo.

Appointed the Dynamo manager in the offseason, the Scottish-born coach spent the majority of his coaching career in England where he took on the Galaxy’s Irish captain a number of times.  

“I know Owen Coyle very well. [He’s] a very, very good manager, enthusiastic. He'll have his players ready for the game,” Keane said. “We’re playing at home though; the most important thing is to continue the way we’ve played at home. Attack people and score goals.”

 Keane admits that Coyle coached teams will not be easy, however.

“They’re very enthusiastic, lot of energy. Look at Owen himself, he was like that as a player and certainly as a manager,” Keane said. “It will be a tough game, well-organized. I’m delighted he’s in this league because I’ve always respected him.”

BRUCE ARENA EXPLAINS CHARLIE RUGG LOAN TO INDY ELEVEN

The LA Galaxy sent third year forward Charlie Rugg on loan to NASL club Indy Eleven on Wednesday, and a day later, Bruce Arena elaborated on the move that he hopes gives the forward added experience.

“It was a variety of reasons,” Arena explained. “There’s not much of a story right now to tell, but the NASL is theoretically a stronger league and a little better competition for Charlie. We hope it will help him grow.”

LA GALAXY II AND U.S. U-17 GOALKEEPER ERIC LOPEZ TRAINS WITH LA GALAXY FIRST TEAM

The LA Galaxy Academy product Eric Lopez trained with the first team on Thursday after returning from a stint with the U.S. Under-17 national team.

The 16-year-old Lopez who has been a part of the U.S. Residency Program for a year, but with the team on a two-week spring break, the youngster had a chance to train with LA’s first team.

“It was a different experience. Training with the first team is much harder and much faster than the youth level,” Lopez told LA Galaxy Insider. “I feel like I can get used to it quickly though, but it’s a much different experience.”

Lopez wasn’t the only youth goalkeeper to be training in the Galaxy system on Thursday as Mexico U-17 ‘keeper Abraham Romero trained with Los Dos after leading El Tri to a berth to the U-17 World Cup.

19 March 1:35 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Amigraine prevented Jaime Penedo from starting the LA Galaxy’s clash with the Portland Timbers last week, but the Panamanian goalkeeper admits that he is fit and ready to start if called upon to face the Houston Dynamo on Saturday.

Migraines have been a sporadic ailment for Penedo over the past 10 years, but last Sunday’s game was the first time that the Panamanian had missed out on a match due to the issue. However, it’s not the migraine itself that rendered Penedo unable to play, but the pain medication that the 33-year-old takes that caused him to miss out on the game in Portland.

“I take a medicine to relieve the migraines but the medicine knocks me out. On Sunday, the problem was that I didn’t know if I should or shouldn’t take it [or not],” Penedo said. “I didn’t take it in the beginning and I was hoping an Aleeve would help me with the pain but it didn’t. My head was in pain so I had to take the medication, and 45 minutes later, my migraine was gone, but I felt woozy and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to play. I feel good now though.”

Although Penedo felt some migraine symptoms earlier in the week, the Panamanian says that he has practiced for three days without any lingering effects which could mean that he returns to the starting XI this weekend.

“I feel ready. I trained very well over the last few days, but now I’m ready. I was very disappointed that I couldn’t start; especially considering that Bruce Arena gave me the opportunity but it was taken away due to the migraine. I’m ready and I need to play so I await the coach’s decision.”

18 March 3:45 pm

CARSON, Calif. – A.J. DeLaGarza could be back in the starting XI soon as the veteran LA Galaxy defender has made a full recovery from a nagging left foot injury.

DeLaGarza’s injury kept the center back out of commission for much of the preseason, but he was able to make a brief cameo during the team’s season opener against the Chicago Fire. A week later, DeLaGarza was an unused substitute in LA’s 2-2 draw against the Portland Timbers, but according to Bruce Arena, DeLaGarza is “very close” to returning to the lineup.

“I missed the entire preseason, but I got 60 minutes in a [closed-door scrimmage] against Galaxy II last week," DeLaGarza said. "There’s no better way to get fit then actually playing. Hopefully soon, I can get back out there, and hopefully suffer no setbacks.”

Provided there aren’t any steps backward, DeLaGarza believes that he could be ready to start as soon as this Saturday’s game against the Houston Dynamo.

“I want to get a game in as soon as possible, I want to be out there because this is my livelihood,” DeLaGarza said. “The fun part of this job is playing in competitive matches, and if Bruce calls me up this weekend then I’ll be ready to play.”