After knocking on the door for most of the match, the LA Galaxy finally found a breakthrough off the boot of Steven Gerrard to defeat the Houston Dynamo 1-0 at StubHub Center on Friday.
The win kept the Galaxy in the top three of the Western Conference as the race for the six postseason positions continues to heat up.
The Galaxy had a chance to move into the lead seven minutes into the match when David Horst committed a handball in the box while defending a Robbie Keane shot.
However, Keane produced an unlikely miss from the spot as he sent his attempt wide to the right of the net.
Gyasi Zardes received a golden opportunity to score in the 30th minute, but he headed a Giovani dos Santos cross over the bar from close range.
A minute later, Zardes barely missed the boot of Keane at the right post in an attacking move built by dos Santos’ lofted ball from the right wing.
The Dynamo’s best chance of the match came on the counter in the 61st minute as Giles Barnes raced past a falling Daniel Steres, but the Jamaican’s shot was sent right into the body of Brian Rowe.
The Galaxy finally broke through in the 66th minute, when Gerrard followed up a Joe Willis save on Keane with a shot into the bottom right corner of the net. Gerrard steamrolled into the box as Willis was slow getting back to the net. The English midfielder capitalized on the opening and sent the home side into the lead. The goal was the third of the season and first since May 8 for Gerrard.
Keane appeared to redeem himself from earlier miss in the 76th minute, but as his shot rolled past Willis, the offside flag flew.
The Galaxy moved above 30 points with the victory. Bruce Arena’s men are currently five points behind first-place FC Dallas in the Western Conference. The loss dropped the Dynamo’s record to 4-9-6.
Man of the Match
Dos Santos was a constant threat in the Galaxy attack for most of the match. He opened up space for plenty of his teammates as they searched for the game’s first goal.
Moment of the Match
Gerrard’s game-winner allowed the Galaxy to breathe a sigh of relief on what was starting to become a frustrating night in the final third.
Match to Forget
Willis was caught out of position on the goal as he failed to recover in time to even challenge Gerrard as the midfielder rocketed into the box.