Match Preview presented by 04 Water: LA Galaxy take on new-look Houston Dynamo

CARSON, Calif. – The MLS regular season is barely two games old, but LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez feels he already has a pretty good grasp on what the team is capable of.

The Galaxy turned what appeared to be a certain loss into a stunning draw with a last-minute goal in last Sunday’s 2-2 tie in Portland, and Gonzalez said the result indicated the kind of mettle the defending MLS Cup champions possess.

It also showed what they should expect this year.

“We learned at moments this year it’s not going to be pretty,” Gonzalez said as the Galaxy (1-0-1) prepared for Saturday’s game against the Houston Dynamo at StubHub Center (7:30 p.m., Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Time Warner Cable Deportes). “We have to battle from the first minute to the last to get a result.

“We found a lot of grit in ourselves, a lot of character. To be down that late and come right back to score a goal … we said before the game it’s going to be a battle and we did that. I think we learned we have those capabilities.

“It is nice to see that everyone got together and found a way to get a result. We have to build on that, knowing that if we’re not at our best on a certain day we have to find whatever it takes to get the win or the draw.”

Gonzalez is hopeful the Galaxy, unbeaten in their last 21 matches in all competitions at StubHub Center, can show that same kind of moxie against the Dynamo, who are now coached by Owen Coyle. The Galaxy’s Robbie Keane is a former rival of the Scotsman and said he expects a difficult contest given Coyle’s trademarks as a player.

“They’ll be very enthusiastic with a lot of energy,” Keane said. “Owen was like that as a player and certainly as a manager. It will be a tough game. They will be well-organized.

“I’m delighted he’s in this league because I’ve always respected him.”

The Dynamo (1-1) and Galaxy are old friends, so to speak, having met in the MLS Cup final in 2011 and 2012, with the Galaxy winning both times at home. The Dynamo have also won the last four league meetings between the teams, including a 1-0 victory last year in Houston.

Gonzalez said he doesn’t expect much of a difference in the Dynamo despite the sideline presence of Coyle, who took over for Dominic Kinnear (now with San Jose).

“None for me,” he said when asked about any challenges in facing a new coach. “They pretty much have a lot of the same players, so I’ll leave worrying about the coach to Bruce (Arena). I’m not worried about the coach. I’m worried about the people on the field.

“I’m pretty familiar with those players, so we know it’s going to be a tough matchup. We have a lot of history with this team. They want to come here and get a win, and it’s up to us to play our game and hopefully get the shutout.”

Arena said he likes what he has seen so far from the Galaxy.

“I like the start,” he said. “Hopefully we can keep getting better.”

STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
March 21, 2015 (WEEK 3, MLS Game #24)
7:30 p.m. PT (MLS LIVE)

  • The Galaxy return home with their second result in as many matches to start the season, snatching a late 2-2 draw at the Portland Timbers on Sunday afternoon. The Galaxy are undefeated in their last 21 matches in all competitions at StubHub Center, since losing the season opener a year ago.
  • The Dynamo hit the road for the first time in 2015 following a win and a loss at BBVA Compass Stadium to open the season, falling 1-0 to Orlando City SC on Friday evening on an own goal.
  • The Dynamo have won the last four league meetings between the teams, including a 1-0 victory last year at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo also took a 1-0 victory in the last meeting between the clubs at StubHub Center, in 2013. The Galaxy’s last league victory against the Dynamo came May 25, 2011, a 1-0 win in Carson.
  • The teams met in two MLS Cups in two years, the Galaxy winning both, in 2011 and 2012, all in Carson.