BY ADAM SERRANO
Friday's scrimmage between the Houston Dynamo and the Los Angeles Galaxy may have been a rematch of the 2011 MLS Cup, but last November's match was far from the minds of all involved.
The Dynamo defeated the Galaxy 1-0 after Nathan Sturgis scored the lone goal of the match on a header from a looping cross from Josue Soto in the 68th minute.
Houston nearly took the lead in the third minute when rookie midfielder Brian Ownby forced a save from close distance from Galaxy goalkeeper. Following the initial chance, the Galaxy took control of the match and began to pressure the Dynamo defense. The best chance coming in the 37th minute when a David Beckham free kick forced a palm save from Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall
Supplemental draft pick Rafael Garcia nearly equalized in the 80th minute, but Hall was able to parry the shot from distance and preserve the shutout for Houston.
While Friday's scrimmage may have been a rematch of last year's MLS Cup Final, the match bore no comparison for both teams.
“This was? It was very similar I thought,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena joked. “I don’t think that anyone thought about the MLS Cup…I didn’t even think about it, I didn’t even know who we were playing until yesterday. I know we have these games scheduled, I just never think about who the next team is that we’re playing.”
Observations, notes, lineups and highlights from the scrimmage are after the jump:
Galaxy rookie defender Tommy Meyer started his third consecutive game in central defense alongside AJ DeLaGarza. Meyer appeared composed in 45 minutes of action, limiting former Indiana University teammate and current Dynamo forward Will Bruin chances at goal.
“He's been consistent, and that's what you like to see,” said DeLaGarza. “He's a young player, he's composed on the ball. You like that as a young player. He's doing well right now. Can't complain.”
Mac Kandji made his first appearance with Houston since being traded to the Dynamo on Wednesday from the Colorado Rapids. In his 35 minutes of action in the second half, Kandji was solid, making several positive runs at the Galaxy defense.
Brazilian defender Leonardo arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday and immediately underwent his physical with the Galaxy. Although Leonardo is not expected to be in game shape till April, Arena was encouraged by what he saw.
“He looks much further along than the last time that we saw him,” Head coach Bruce Arena told reporters. “He’s been on the gym on the rehab. He just got here yesterday and we’re not that far along yet and evaluating where he is and setting a schedule week to week.”
In attendance for the scrimmage was former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, the projected first overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Luck has a longstanding relationship with the Dynamo as his father, Oliver served as President and General Manager of the club for five years from 2005-2010. The quarterback is currently training at Athlete's Performance at the Home Depot Center to prepare for the NFL combine.
LOS ANGELES: Josh Saunders (Bill Gaudette 46′); Bryan Jordan (Dustin McCarty 46′), A.J. DeLaGarza (Andrew Boyens 46′), Tommy Meyer (Bryan Gaul 46′), Todd Dunivant (J.T. Murray 46′); Hector Jimenez (Stephen Posa 46′), David Beckham (Rafael Garcia 46′), Marcelo Sarvas (Michael Stephens 46′), Paolo Cardozo (Ryan Thomas 46′); Pat Noonan (Jack McBean 46′), Edson Buddle (Adam Cristman 46′).
HOUSTON: Tally Hall, Andre Hainault (Kofi Sarkodie 46), Jermaine Taylor (Bobby Boswell 46), Geoff Cameron (Nathan Sturgis 46), Corey Ashe (Oscar Recio 46), Brian Ownby (Warren Creavalle 46), Adam Moffat (Josue Soto 46), Je-Vaughn Watson (Philip Aseweh 46), Colin Clark (Eder Arreola 46), Darryl Roberts (Macoumba Kandji 46, Daniel Roberts 81), Will Bruin (Colin Rolfe 46, Cam Weaver 73).