Postgame Notes & Quotes: LA vs Houston

Galaxy are now 7-2-5 on the season with league best 26 points

donovan goal celebration

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LA Galaxy 1, Houston Dynamo 0

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Home Depot Center – Carson, Calif.

Scoring Summary:

LA – Landon Donovan 8 (Penalty Kick) 46+

Misconduct Summary:

LA – Sean Franklin (Yellow Card) 87’

HOU – Je-Vaughn Watson (Yellow Card) 90’

Lineups:

LA Galaxy: Donovan Ricketts; Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant; Chris Birchall (Jovan Kirovski 91+), Juninho, Michael Stephens, Landon Donovan(c); Chad Barrett, (Miguel Lopez 74’) Juan Pablo Angel (Mike Magee 61’).

Subs Not Used: Josh Saunders, Frankie Hejduk, Gregg Berhalter, Paolo Cardozo.

Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Hunter Freeman, Bobby Boswell, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe (Mike Chabala 46’); Lovel Palmer, Colin Clark, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis(c) (Je-Vaughn Watson 61’); Will Bruin, Koke (Cam Weaver 74’).

Subs Not Used: Tyler Deric, Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Jason Garey.

Referee: Chris Penso

Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson and Ian Anderson

4th Official: Kevin Stott

QUOTES:

LA Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena

On the result:

“It was, obviously, a difficult game. I thought Houston played real hard for 90 minutes. I thought our team, for the most part, played very well. It could have been a little cleaner in trying to get another goal in the game. I think overall we had a good night. You can see both teams were a little fatigued from the game over the weekend. But I’m naturally very pleased to get the three points.”

On the backline:

“I thought our backline played very well. Ricketts wasn’t really tested, but obviously with the play with [Todd] Dunivant at the end of the game, he had to come off his line and block a shot. He did well. For the most part, we were really good in the defensive end of the field. In the attack, we just had to be a little bit sharper to try and get another goal. We didn’t get it done there.”

On the players’ performances:

“[Chris] Birchall had a very good night. He’s work rated was excellent. He had a couple of chances as we saw. He played very well. Very good performance on his part. [Miguel] Lopez did well. He’s really going to help us this year. He’s had a few injuries that kept him off the field, but we fully expect him to be playing more minutes for us. I think Chad Barrett had a good night. He was close to getting a goal as well. Overall, it was a good performance and we are pleased in getting the three points.”

On the quick turn to the game against New England:

“I don’t think you need to be a genius to figure this one out. It’s real challenging. On top of it we go across the country, which we experienced a couple of weeks ago. I think this is not a good way to schedule, but it is what it is. It’s going to be a real battle and on top of it we will be on an artificial field. It’s going to be really challenging. I don’t know the answer to it at this point. We’ll try to figure it out in the next couple of days.”

LA Galaxy Midfielder Landon Donovan

On taking penalties:

“It’s not a hundred percent chance to score, but pretty close. There’s a lot more that goes into a penalty than people realize, it’s something I work on, and something I’ve gotten comfortable at over the years. And it was good to score the goal to win the game tonight.”

On the Galaxy’s defensive efforts:

“We didn’t have a long time to prepare. When you play a team like Houston, and probably what we will see with New England is, they are both teams that put an emphasis on set pieces and crosses. You would like to have time to really prepare for and understand what they do. But we knew if we stayed behind the ball and limited their set pieces that it was very unlikely that they would score.”

On limiting Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis:

“That was a point of emphasis, for sure. A big part of their game is getting it wide and putting it in front of the goal, so we wanted to make sure every time he touched the ball that we got around him. There was long stretches in the second half that they had a lot of possession, but they were never really dangerous and we were fine with that.”

On putting up 17 shots:

“I saw that we had 17 shots, but you have to get more on the target. I think we did a good job of getting to the final third and then I think our final pass or our final shot let us down a lot. If we were a little cleaner and made a better pass, or a better choice, I think we would have scored two or three goals tonight.”

On the quick turnaround to New England:

“We knew this was going to be a challenging week. Playing against Chivas is always an emotional game and a physically demanding game, and then Houston every time you play them, you feel it the next day. It’s a team that really battles and gets after you physically. We knew that was going to be challenging and then we have to turnaround and be on a flight, a long flight, tomorrow. So, the key now is to take care of your body physically, hydrate and eat properly. The good thing about this team is, we could make 10 changes for Saturday and still feel fine about our chances. That’s the strength of this team. I’m sure there will be some changes, and we’ll see how many there are, but we are going to be confident that we can go in there and win.”

LA Galaxy Defender Todd Dunivant

On keeping Houston to one shot on goal:

“I think it was good. They have a physical team. We knew that we wanted to prevent their service, first and foremost. We did that and the big guys didn’t get service and they didn’t get a lot of opportunities because of it. It was the first object and in the first half, especially, we did a good job of keeping the ball and putting them on their heels, where [Brad] Davis and [Colin] Clark had to do a lot more defending than they did attacking. I think that was to our advantage.”

On playing in his 200th game:

“It crept up on me. I didn’t know about it until this week. It’s cool. I guess I’m doing something right if I’ve played 200 games.”

LA Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall

On the shot that led to the penalty kick:

“It was a mishit really. I just tried to hit and get in on target with my left foot and luckily for us it hit his arm. From where I was, I didn’t think it looked good, I couldn’t really tell luckily the referee gave [the penalty]. Sometimes they work out for you.”

On the team’s defensive efforts:

“Bruce’s game plan was to try and stop (Brad) Davis getting on the ball. He is probably their key player, likes to get crosses from where ever he is and set up the plays. He just told to me and Sean to try and double up on him, try not to give him space on the ball and stay near the side. I think we did that a good majority of the game. Obviously, players like that get on the ball sometimes and cause you a little bit of problems, but overall we’re pleased.”

LA Galaxy Defender Sean Franklin

On closing down Brad Davis:

“He’s a good player going forward. He is one of those guys that crosses balls early, flicks balls and run off teammates. Having [Birchall] in there, in front of me, and Stephens running around a bit, it helped me a lot with Davis. It was an overall collective overall defensive effort to slow down their wide players.”

On Davis being subbed out in the second half:

“Maybe it was a tactical sub. I don’t think it was because we were making him not do what he was doing or something like that. We just worry about the game and the next sub that was coming in.”

Houston Dynamo Head Coach Dominic Kinnear

On tonight’s game:

“We were short getting there and we were being a little bit rushed with our passing. As far as it goes you have to be patient especially when you get forward. Then we get to a point that too many guys were moving to the ball and sometimes away from the ball. We were still finding areas to get forward I think we just got to a point where we would be a little cheap with the ball and gave it away. The game opened up in the second half. We go searching for it and they get a couple of breaks. We had a couple of chances there at the end but I mean if it’s a penalty kick that separates us, like I said I can’t say anything about the penalty because I haven’t seen it, that is the way it is.”

On the team’s performance:

“Every game we always step on the field knowing we could do some things, creating chances and play well so if we didn’t I would be disappointed. We did do some good things but we started the game pretty good and then we hit a lull in the second half where we were sloppy with our passing. I told the guys if you give the ball away it gives them a chance to get their forwards in good positions. At least I thought we recovered well. We stopped going forward we didn’t do enough in and around the box.”

On the team’s defending:

“I think we did okay. They have a good team they are obviously missing some one important to them so is everybody these days. I think we have been defending real well as a group. We were recovering well. I think our passing under pressure, relieving pressure is a thing we probably could have done a better job on in the first half especially.”   

Houston Dynamo Midfielder Geoff Cameron

On tonight’s game:

“I don’t think we played particularly well. I don’t think it was a PK. We stuck in there and we did some good things tonight but overall I think we didn’t have our best game but we held it to a 1-0 game when it should have been a 0-0 game.”

On the team’s performance:

“We worked hard. It has been a long week. It was a quick turn around from this past weekend. It is just one of those that you have to take on the chin a little bit and we have a game Saturday so we are looking forward to that.”

Houston Midfielder Brad Davis

On tonight’s game:

“We really wanted to come here and get a good result. I haven’t seen the call on the penalty yet but from where we were standing it really didn’t look like it and Lovel [Palmer] said that it didn’t hit him in the hand it hit in the chest. It was a bit unfortunate. If the ref is not positive on that one to call but I think we turned the ball over a little bit too easy. We are not happy but we can’t dwell on it we got to turn round we got a game on Saturday against Dallas.”

On the team’s performance:

“I don’t think it was great. I think we are a little disappointed. I think we could play better that is for sure. Like I said we gave the ball over a little too easy. We didn’t give up a ton of chances it was a back and forth game. In the final third we let ourselves down again giving the ball up too easy.”

NOTES:

  • With the win, the Galaxy are now 7-2-5 on the season, leaving them with a league-best 26 points. LA remain in first place in the Western Conference, five points ahead of second place FC Dallas, who defeated Seattle 1-0 earlier tonight.
  • The Galaxy are now unbeaten in their last five regular season games against the Dynamo, going 4-0-1 in those matches and outscoring them 8-1.
  • LA have won each of the last three regular season games between the two sides at The Home Depot Center, as well as winning the 2009 Western Conference Championship here over the Dynamo.
  • Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made two changes to the team that beat Chivas USA 1-0 at The Home Depot Center on Saturday night. Chris Birchall and Michael Stephens returned to the lineup in place of David Beckham and Mike Magee. Magee started the game on the bench while Beckham was given the night off in order to play in Gary Neville’s testimonial at Old Trafford yesterday, a game that he played 90 minutes in.
  • In addition to Beckham, the Galaxy were also without Sean Alvarado, Adam Cristman and Leonardo who are all recovering from knee surgery.
  • Landon Donovan gave the Galaxy a 1-0 lead in the first minute of first half stoppage time, scoring from the penalty spot.
  • That was Donovan’s league-best eighth goal of the season, which is one more than he scored in 2010.
  • Three of Donovan’s goals have come from the penalty spot, tying him with D.C. United forward Charlie Davies for the most successful penalty kicks in MLS this season.
  • All three of Donovan’s penalties this season have come at the north end of The Home Depot Center, in the first half of games.
  • That goal was his first against Houston since April 2008 and the fourth of his career.
  • The Galaxy now have 19 goals on the season, with 10 coming from set pieces.
  • The Galaxy had a season-high 17 shots in the game, though just three were on goal.
  • Donovan Ricketts only had to make one save to earn his fifth clean sheet of the season. Ricketts is now tied with Nick Rimando and Kevin Hartman for the most shutouts in MLS this season.
  • Ricketts has kept a clean sheet in five of the 10 games that he has played this year and now has a 0.60 goals against average.
  • In his career against Houston, Ricketts is 4-0-1 with a 0.20 goals against average.
  • Defender Todd Dunivant made the 200th appearance of his MLS career in the game. He is the 64th player to appear in 200 regular season MLS games.
  • He once again started and played the full 90 minutes at left back. He is the only Galaxy player to start every game this season and is the only one to play the full 90 minutes in each as well.
  • Chad Barrett and Sean Franklin each started the game as well and join Dunivant as the only three Galaxy players to have each appeared in all 14 of LA’s games this season.
  • This was the Galaxy’s sixth shutout of the season. They are now 5-0-1 when keeping a clean sheet and 6-1-3 when not allowing a first half goal.
  • With the win, the Galaxy remain unbeaten against Eastern Conference teams. They are now 4-0-5 against the East and have faced every team except for the Columbus Crew at least once.
  • The Galaxy are now 5-0-2 when leading at the half.
  • After losing their first game in May, LA are now unbeaten in their last five, going 3-0-2.
  • Landon Donovan and Donovan Ricketts each played their final home game with the Galaxy before joining their respective national teams for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup.
  • Referee Chris Penso officiated a Galaxy game for the first time in his career. He called a total of 20 fouls in the game and booked one player from each side late in the second half.
  • The attendance for tonight’s game was 14,458
  • The Galaxy will fly to Boston on Thursday ahead of their next game, at the New England Revolution, on Saturday at Gillette Stadium. That game, which kicks off at 5 p.m. (PT), can be seen live on FOX Sports West starting with the Galaxy Live pregame show at 4:30 p.m.