LA Galaxy Put Up Defensive Clinic in 1-0 Victory over Houston Dynamo

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IMay 26, 2011

CARSON, CA - MAY 25:  Landon Donovan #10 of the Los Angeles Galaxy celebrates with teammates after scoring on a penalty kick in the first half against the Houston Dynamo at The Home Depot Center on May 25, 2011 in Carson, California.  The Galaxy won 1-0. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Ladies and gentlemen on Bleacher Report, the following is a special news bulletin from Los Angeles Galaxy featured columnist Jo-Ryan Salazar.

We have witnessed another defensive clinic. That's right, another defensive clinic put on by Bruce Arena's Galaxy. The end result: a 1-0 victory over Dominic Kinnear's Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night at the Home Depot Center.

Landon Donovan scored his eighth goal of the season off a penalty in the first minute of first half stoppage time.

If it weren't for the handball by Lovel Palmer, who threw his hands up to the sky in blasphemous frustration after being called for the foul by match referee Chris Penso, the end result could have been a scoreless draw.

And to be honest with you, it should have been. Very little offense was generated, aside from the subpar finishing from both teams. This match was all about defending, defending, defending.

David Beckham had his testimonial obligations this week for Manchester United, and was unable to inject some more production for the Galaxy. No question, the magic man from London was missed, and will be needed when the Galaxy take on the New England Revolution this weekend.

Of course, he is expected to play a bigger role in June, but that's a different story (one which will be expanded on in the weeks ahead [see also: CONCACAF Gold Cup]).

Let's get back to the game. One must feel for the likes of Chad Barrett and Juan Pablo Angel. Numerous times the back line of Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza and Todd Dunivant tried to string up sequences, culminating with that final pass to Barrett or to Angel.

Neither managed to get space and make the most of the opportunities they did have.

This was a night for the defense. Numerous times the back line and midfield swarmed around Brad Davis. They were rewarded for their efforts with Je-Vaughn Watson coming in off the bench.

Well, in all honesty, the Galaxy did have a legit opportunity to consolidate. Late in the second half, Mike Magee launched a 25-yard volley that missed wide right. That would have sealed what was essentially a defensive clinic for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

There is no secret in the phrase "defense wins championships." At the same time, it's too early to suggest that this was a championship-winning performance. But it is a step in the right direction.

With the victory, Los Angeles move to 7-2-5 (26 points), still good for first overall in Major League Soccer, although the nearest club, FC Dallas (6-3-3, 21 points), has two games in hand over the Galaxy.

Saturday against the New England Revolution will mark the last game Donovan and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts are with the Galaxy before they go on national team duty in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Hopefully, it will not be a one-goal first half, bunker-ball second half all over again. After all, some payback for what happened last year at Gillette Stadium is in order.

Now returning to your regularly scheduled kickoff plug, already in progress.

Kickoff between the Galaxy and New England Revolution is scheduled for May 28 at 5:00 PM PT/8:00 PM ET and will be televised by Fox Sports West and Galavision.


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