CARSON, Calif. – There’s an old soccer adage, which the LA Galaxy’s Robbie Keane is fond of reciting.
“There’s always another game,” he often says.
That’s arguably never been more accurate than Saturday at Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium, where the Galaxy (2-2-3, nine points) take on the Dynamo (4-5-2, 14 points) at 5:30 p.m. (Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes) in the final of four consecutive road games.
The Galaxy are trying to recover from one of their most disappointing results in recent memory, a controversial 1-1 tie at Portland in which both teams scored in stoppage time, and coaches and players understandably are anxious to get back on the field in hopes of easing the sting from such a stunning draw.
The Galaxy’s Robbie Keane, however, said Saturday’s game is critical from another standpoint, and not just for a chance at easing the team’s collective psyche.
“It’s important to start getting wins in the table,” said Keane, who has five goals this season. “Because the more you kind of slip back in the pecking order, I think we’re eighth [actually seventh in the West] or something and have three games in hand or something like that, it’s important to get points on the board fairly early, you know?
“We need to start doing that fairly quickly.”
The first step toward that goal will be taken Saturday in Houston, where they will take on a Dynamo team that is coming off a 5-2 drubbing at the hands of Real Salt Lake. Houston played much of the match down a man after Servando Carrasco was ejected in the 27th minute for a harsh tackle on RSL’s Javier Morales, but they did get two goals from rookie Mark Sherrod and haven’t lost to the Galaxy since 2011.
The Galaxy, however, have beaten Houston when it counts, with back-to-back victories in the MLS Cup Final in 2011 and 2012.
Saturday’s match will also be the first of several in which players from both teams will be missing for extended time because of international duty. The Galaxy will be without forward Landon Donovan and defender Omar Gonzalez, both of whom are with the U.S. team in Palo Alto in preparation for next month’s World Cup, and the Dynamo also will make do without forward Brad Davis (also in the U.S. training camp) and Boniek Garcia, who was called up to Honduras’ training camp but will be available this weekend.
Keane said this is the time for players to step up.
“It’s very important for players who have been on the fringes to take advantage of other people going away,” he said. “When you get an opportunity, it’s important to take it. If you don’t take it, you can easily be kind of pushed back.
“It’s important to take advantage of it.”