Match Preview: Galaxy at Houston

Catch tonight’s match on tape delay at 10pm

Buddle vs Houston

Photo Credit: 
Robert Mora

Last meeting:
November 13, 2009 – The 2009 Western
Conference Final fittingly came down to the two teams tied atop the conference
in points over the course of the season, LA and Houston. A goal by Andrew
Hainault, which could have proven the game-winner, was controversially called
off by referee Terry Vaughn in the 80th minute. In extra time, the Galaxy
converted through Greg Berhalter (103rd minute) and a Landon Donovan PK (109th
minute) to win 2-0. Multiple light outages plagued the game throughout the night
causing significant stoppages to the game.

What's at stake?
Top spot in the Western Conference for
starters. Last year, both teams were tied atop the conference on points but the
Galaxy had home field advantage due to a tiebreaker. With such a small margin
separating both teams last year, the importance of a head-to-head matchup cannot
be underestimated. After its defeat of Salt Lake, if Houston wins it will send a
definitive message to the rest of the league that the Dynamo will be in
contention throughout the year despite the offseason player departures.

Heroes & Villains:
Luis Landin and Dominic Oduro
against Omar Gonzalez and Donovan Ricketts – With Cam Weaver suffering a setback
in training this week and Brian Ching out for at least the next month, the
Houston Dynamo forward production will have to come from the two remaining
forwards on the roster, Landin and Oduro. Both have already contributed in 2010
with Landin drawing the second penalty against Real Salt Lake and Oduro
registering a nice assist on the lone Dynamo goal against Dallas. However,
forwards get paid to score goals. Gonzalez and Ricketts helped turn the league’s
most vulnerable defenses in 2008 into one of the stingiest in 2009. In the
team’s first two games, the Galaxy have given up zero goals and Ricketts hasn’t
had much to do.

Sean Franklin against Brad Davis – The Dynamo offense seems to be at its most
lethal down the left side through Davis and defender Mike Chabala. With his two
penalty kick conversions, the midfielder has an impressive seven goals and
thirteen assists in his last 28 regular season games. Franklin came back from
injury last season and was one of the few Galaxy players to play every minute of
the postseason, helping the Galaxy to the championship game.

Stat that makes you go "Hmm ..."
The Dynamo failed to
score a single goal against the LA Galaxy last year in three games; a 0-0 tie at
Robertson, a 1-0 regular season road loss, and a 2-0 loss in the Western
Conference finals.

He said it:
Pat Onstad: “We’re excited to go out against
a fellow undefeated and for us it’s a good test early in the year. We have a
pretty good rivalry with them dating back to the San Jose days. There are a few
teams in the league we try to measure ourselves up to and LA is one of them,
especially right
now.”