Driver delivers winner as Dynamo knock off Galaxy

AndrewDriver (Getty)

By IVES GALARCEP

The Houston Dynamo have struggled on the road for a long time, and the task of trying to  record their first road win since last July seemed extremely unlikely without Brad Davis and against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday night.

The script didn’t play out the way most would have expected.

The Dynamo turned in an outstanding defensive effort, and rode a game-winning goal from Welsh midfielder Andrew Drive to record a 1-0 victory over the Galaxy at the Home Depot Center.

Driver provided the night’s only goal, blasting a left-footed shot from the top of the penalty area after Giles Barnes sent a pass from the right flank to an open area in front of goal. Driver made no mistake, striking a perfect shot past Carlo Cudicini in the 56th minute.

The Galaxy failed to find the net on a night that saw Landon Donovan record his second missed penalty kick of the season. Tally Hall saved Donovan’s penalty attempt in the 25th minute after Jose Villarreal drew the penalty by being taken down by Hall in the penalty area.

Hall only had to make two saves on the day, with the Houston defense doing an excellent job of containing a Galaxy attack that clearly missed star striker Robbie Keane. Kofi Sarkodie turned in a standout effort at right back for the Dynamo, containing the normally-dangerous Mike Magee.

The victory moved the Dynamo into a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference, joining Sporting Kansas City, New York Red Bulls and Montreal Impact on points.

Here are the match highlights:

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29 Responses to Driver delivers winner as Dynamo knock off Galaxy

  1. AzTeXan says:

    Cakes

    • H-town says:

      Yeah, weak penalty. Driver ripped his shot though. The ball was by the keeper and rippling the net before the keeper even hit the ground.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        I think we’ve got a good bunch of middies, including Barnes. What Houston’s missing is another forward with some pace up there with Bruin, to finish the hard work. Ching had another forgettable night off the bench, Cummings did not travel, Carr is still out; we dressed Johnson, the rookie.

        People are going to say it’s Barnes at the second forward, Twellman was indiscreetly drooling over him in public, but he has missed a few sitters, and I think is better deployed in the midfield, where he can still take those shots like last week’s.

        A good result but we shouldn’t let it get to our heads, we were outplayed for lengthy stretches and LAG right now are giving their kids a run out while Keane heals, and are basically in a holding pattern for their summer signing.

        • Rory says:

          If Cummings gets healthy he will terrorize defenses and you will see others benefit from it.

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            Big “if” and we’re getting closer and closer to the transfer window where we’ll be committed.

  2. Rowsdower says:

    Well, I assumed that the Dynamo would collapse and lose by two. How wrong was I? Barnes and Driver continue to impress. Bonus was beating LA on ESPN.

  3. ed - houston says:

    Pleasant surprise this is, now let’s duplicate it in DC on Wed.

    • Rory says:

      Too many of the big MLS matches this year have ended with a 1-0 scoreline. I guess that’s better than 0-0, but I’d really like to see some fireworks when the big boys play.

  4. conrad says:

    Hey, I hate Mike Magee as much as anybody, but how on earth is that not a penalty on his last shot? Defender misses the ball — though the shot was away, and way off target — but he goes right through Magee. It’s a foul in the box? Am I missing something? Or did the ref simply want to protect Donovan’s psyche from the inevitable second miss?

  5. ChiTown says:

    They say that your touch is the first thing to come back, but being in a good mental spot is the hardest thing to regain. Donovan is not ready to play for the national team. That much should be clear now.

    That PK was… wow.

    • PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

      Let’s give Hall some credit for the save, he guessed right at covered the corner. ‘weak’ shot? not so much, not stellar by any means…but it was well placed and had LD disguised it better it might have been good enough. Hall was very good last night, took the back post away from the Galaxy all night.

      • ChiTown says:

        It was slow by professional standards and barely off center at knee height. You can’t hit them worse unless you rolled it in or missed the net.

  6. ChiTown says:

    “I’m not doing the job, so someone else is going to have to do it,” said Donovan, who had made 28 of 31 regular-season penalty kicks before this year. “Certainly goals change games, and I could have made a difference and changed the game. … Maybe I overthought it a little bit. I’ve taken a lot of penalties in this league, goalies know sort of my rhythm, how I take them, and it’s getting harder and harder, and maybe I got to change something up.”

    ——-

    On ESPN from Donovan. Bruce Arena is taking him off penalty kicks.

    • Josh D says:

      Sounds like Donovan is already making excuses. Keeper’s couldn’t find your PK “rhythm” before. He needs to face his mental frailness. Get back on the pony Donovan, step up to the spot and deliver.

      • ChiTown says:

        That was my first thought. That PK was something a junior varsity high school player would hit.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          That did not look sharp, the hesitation while opening his body up actually prompts Hall to start moving the very direction he then hits it. A schoolboy level tell. A reminder like some of those youtube misses of how easy it is for the not-quite-smooth to blow cutesy PKs.

          That one play was definitely underwhelming, but the more concerning thing to me was he was pretty anonymous against a Houston central defense that was exposed for speed a few times, including by Villareal.

          • ChiTown says:

            Right you are.

            Galaxy only forced Hall into two saves I believe?

            • The Imperative Voice says:

              Lest we forget, in many instances Hall would have been shown his walking papers for the foul preceding the PK, even if it wasn’t a purposeful takedown.

              He didn’t even get a card.

              LA didn’t have a ton of shots on cage byt they had a few headers over the top and LA whistled a few balls by the posts. Magee had a left footer just over the upper 90, I recall.

  7. MMV says:

    Not a huge deal but Driver is actually English. Though some think he is Scottish due to him completing his schooling in Scotland.

    • ChiTown says:

      He plays for the Scottish national team as of a year ago or something like that. But, he was born in Manchester.

      Odd FIFA laws.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Wikipedia suggests that he made a standard one time switch but then ran into a Home Nations rules glitch related to the length of his Scottish schooling, that was changed but then he was not called up after. To be real about it, his playing time decreased at Hearts the last few years as he battled injuries, which is how he became surplus. Which is also probably why his commitment to Scotland was not met with an actual callup the other direction. Scotland needs enough help where maybe if this goes well he gets some interest.

        One thing to remember is Scotland, England, etc., it’s all UK, it’s a grandfathered quirk that lets them each have a “national” team even though for legal purposes it’s one country (although there has been a devolution and independence movement of late). Remember in the Olympics it was Team GB, which ended up basically being English (with the odd Bellamy thrown in) because the constituent FAs (NI, Scotland, Wales) were reticent to risk their “national” status for a one-off Olympic team.

        • ChiTown says:

          Wikipedia–where I get half my footballing knowledge about random players.

          Yeah, that’s why I was saying odd FIFA laws because the entire thing was a hodgepodge of crazy.

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            The reality is he was a SPL sub coming in, which would not necessarily scream Scottish NT or even MLS help. Kinnear likes to take chances on hurt players with nice pedigrees and some have gone well (Barnes also) while some have gone poorly (Colin Clark, Cummings so far). Even Carr is a mixed bag because he’s not played then played then not played for long stretches.

            • ChiTown says:

              Calen Carr haha. As a Fire fan I know how you feel.

              He just cannot stay healthy.

              • The Imperative Voice says:

                My thing is that a forward who scores once every 300+ minutes is not going to get the job done. It’s 3-4 aimless games for each goal. Wondo is like a goal every 100 or so. Henry is in the high 100s. We can’t compete with that with Bruin at 240-ish for his career, 300+ this year.

                We do have a strong team concept and distributed scoring among several players but my concern is we play LA with everyone healthy plus a DP in the final, you have to be capable of scoring with an attack with Keane and Donovan and Player X. Been a few years running LA will outscore us in the playoffs, we have made the midfield adjustment to that but not really matched or gotten even in the neighborhood of their strikers.

              • ChiTown says:

                Don’t forget that they “Grandfathered” Donovan into the team as a DP, but non-DP slot player so they could also have 3 other DPs on top of that.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Driver moved from England to Scotland as a kid and was a Scottish U16 then an England U21. So he’s kind of both.

      Like Barnes, he is an English youth team reclamation project. Both apparently had some injuries that hindered their home careers and led them to MLS for a fresh start.

      I like him because sometimes our attack can be lackidaisical and dead ball focused and he is a get down the field run of play winger.

  8. a says:

    One thing is for sure Donovan aint back yet. Dont think he’ll get the call up to the NT. for the qualifiers.

    • ronnie t says:

      i agree, and its not because he doesn’t have the goods anymore! Donovan simply needs to get in playing rythym again and he’s nowhere near that! Think about it, he’s only started 3 games since he’s been back and missed a game entirely bc of injury! Letting him play for his club through the summer is good for him and will give him ample time to get in form!