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Alan Gordon delivers another late goal as Galaxy edge Dynamo

Alan Gordon Goal Celebration 05232015 (USA TODAY Sports)

Photo by Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports


Carson, Calif. – The LA Galaxy received the offensive heroics they hoped for with the return of Robbie Keane to the lineup, but it was his veteran strike partner, Alan Gordon, who took the honors, finishing a crisp Keane cross with a remarkable looping chip header to beat Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric high to the far post deep in extra time to defeat a resilient Dynamo side 1-0 before 20, 195 on a cool and overcast night at the Stub Hub Center.

Keane, who has missed the last five Galaxy games with a groin injury, came on in 69th minute to trip to provide finishing for an LA side that had outshot the Dynamo 14-3 on the evening but hadn’t managed to find the net. Gordon came on minutes later, and the pair immediately enlivened the proceedings, as Gordon managed the Galaxy’s best chance to the point in the match with his first touch of the ball minutes later, finding space just inside the penalty spot before firing off a low hard shot that was deflected away by Jermaine Taylor.

But the tandem was not done, and took advantage of the four minutes extra time to finally break the compact Houston defense. The goal in the 94th minute gave the the Galaxy their first win in their last six matches.

Gordon did not hesitate to praise his captain for providing the service that gave Gordon the game winner.

“You guys have seen this before, right? We’ve been missing Robbie for a number of weeks, and we’ve done our best without him, but it’s sure nice to have him back.

“When you play with somebody, you pick up their tendencies” Gordon continued. “I know Robbie’s gonna look for me. If he’s not gonna shoot it, he’s gonna look for me on the back post. I faked inside, drove back post, and he played a wonderful ball, and I just did my best to get it across to the back post, and it looped in.”

After missing seven weeks, Keane gave thirty tenacious minutes to a side desperate for offense. The Galaxy had only scored two goals in the month of May before tonight, and Keane’s presence lifted not only his teammates, but the home crowd as well, who gave the reigning MLS MVP a standing ovation when he entered the field of play.

“It was nice to get back, and get back into the swing of things” said Keane after the match.  “I’m not a player that eases into things. As soon as I’m ready I want to jump right in and try and help the team as much as I can. Obviously I did that tonight. I’m delighted with the lads’ performance.”

Houston’s game plan was simple and obvious from the start – stay compact, keep numbers behind the ball, and eliminate the Galaxy’s final shot. It was effective too; while the Galaxy fired off thirteen shots on the evening, goalkeeper Tyler only handled three of them, the rest being turned away by deflections or with the Galaxy simply missing as the shooting angles were closed off.

The Dynamo were not wholly without attacking verve on the evening. Their best chance of the night came early in the ninth minute, when Will Bruin raced the ball at the LA back line, turned Galaxy center back Leonardo, and found himself alone in on goal.  It was left to goalkeeper Jaime Penedo to sprint off his line and parry away Bruin’s low hard shot with a sprawling save to maintain the clean sheet.

“It’s nice to get three points, certainly” said LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena after the match. “We’ve got to take advantage of games at home, like every team in the league. It’s important for us to win this type of game. We’ve fouled up in a bunch these games this year. Tonight, it’s a real good sign.”

The game was marred by a surprising red card at the end of the match to the Galaxy’s Oscar Sorto, making his first start for the senior team. With only seconds remaining in the match, and Houston desperately trying to rescue a point in front of the Galaxy net, Sorto took down David Horst from behind as the two men tracked down a ball moving away from goal. Referee Ismail Elfath initially took his yellow card from his pocket, but after inspecting Horst, returned to Sorto and showed him red. Sorto left the pitch, and for his part, Horst returned to play and completed the match.

Both teams took issue with Elfath’s performance. Houston believed Sorto’s foul took place inside the box, and they deserved a penalty kick. “It was a penalty” said Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle after the match. “There’s no ‘could be’ about it.”

Replays appeared to show that while the foul itself occurred on or just inside the penalty box line, the ball itself was about two yards outside the area when the foul occurred.

The Galaxy, on the other hand, were shocked to see the yellow card card stowed away and the red card shown to the youngster instead.

“It’s not from behind, it’s from the side, and plus the guy came in front of him from behind, so it’s not like he was out to do him.” said Keane, defending his twenty year old teammate, “it’s an embarrassment. There’s no way that kid deserves to get sent off.”

The send off will be especially disappointing for Sorto. With Robbie Rogers nursing an Achilles injury, and A.J. De La Garza up and down with foot injury, the Galaxy are dangerously thin at fullback, and Sorto had a good chance of seeing the starting XI again, as the Galaxy have two more games in the next eight days.

“The ref just told me it was a foul from the back” Sorto continued. “I didn’t want to argue about it, so I just walked away. I didn’t want to add any more minutes to the clock.”

Both sides have now played 13 matches, and both sides find themselves in the middle of the Western Conference pack, straddling either side of the playoff line with 17 and 16 points.

The Galaxy will take on another Western Conference foe, Real Salt Lake, in four days time here at the Stub Hub Center, before traveling across the country to face their 2014 MLS Cup opponent, the New England Revolution, on May 31st.

The Dynamo will stay on the road and travel to New York to face NYCFC on Saturday May 30th.

Here are the match highlights:


  1. The Dynamo looked nothing like the team that played Toronto. They were outhustled to 2nd balls and played in a defensive shell the whole game. That is inviting a team to score. As far as Robbie keane, he flipped for 2 free kicks and complains more than a teenage girl. A guy of his caliber shouldn’t have to use those antics. What a chump. It’s a long season, let’s go Dynamo!

    Any word on how the new dynamo signing looks?

  2. It doesn’t matter where the ball is. The foul is where the contact is. It was a blatant pk. Additionally, it wasn’t a surprising red card. Completely unnecessary tackle coming from behind. The worst part is Elfath was right there. No guts to make the right call.

  3. And for some reason I turned lede into lead there in one instance. Ah well, most don’t know the f’ing difference today anyway.

    • You should really do a better job at self-editing if you’re going to be providing content online.

      Also your sentence should read, “Ah well, most (of you) don’t know the f’ing difference anyway.” The use of “today” is not necessary. The word “today” distracts the reader from your overall point that your sentence is trying to make. If you feel that the readers are somehow more prone to not understanding the difference today more so than any other day you should explain that in a different sentence.

    • I see your point, but man that is pretty nitpicky for an SBI match recap. I thought the piece was fine, and told the story pretty well. A mention of Keane’s return in the headline itself might have augmented things a bit, but it’s not like he’d been out for 18 months with a compound fracture.

      I’m not even sure it actually qualifies as a “run on sentence”. Long, sure…. but the punctuation and syntax are all above board.

  4. Your lede is way to f’ing long and it’s an awful run on sentence that is hard to read. Jesus wept, split it up man. Two thoughts are permissible. You don’t have to jam it all together like that.

    Also, self-edit for brevity:

    The L.A. Galaxy got the heroics they needed on the return of Robbie Keane to the lineup, but it was teammate Alan Gordon whose remarkable looping header consigned the Houston Dynamo to a 1-0 extra-time defeat last night.

    Don’t try and cram everything into your lead. You don’t need to point out who he beat in the lede; your lede is selling your story, so keep it tight and to the most important fact; otherwise, if it’s going to be longer, do it for the sake of creativity, not to jam in as much as possible.

  5. Good call by the official,…that was a straight red. From behind,…no reason for that tackle.

    Any questions about Robbie Keane? Sis you see where he put that ball? After ninety minutes? Great result for the Galaxy. I thought the Dynamo were going to wax them.

    • NO.It was iffy for even a yellow card, If you look at the play in slow-mo, Sorto was even with Horst when he stretched, and made contact on the ball first. Horst then cut across his legs went down rolling and faking an injury. Also what was also missed was the elbow Horst threw into Sorto’s face as the both raced toward the ball. Contact between both players happened at/on the line and refs will usually give a penalty if the players were heading toward the goal or into a position to score or be prevented from doing so, in this case they were both heading AWAY from goal.

      Yes. it was a bad call. but not for the same reasons. Sometimes refs can be taken in with good acting and Horst got his academy nomination on that one.

      • As a long time Galaxy fan, I thought it was a card and 50/50 between red and yellow. One thing for sure, it was a stupid foul. Horst was running away from goal, with his back towards goal, so he was no danger. Sorto shouldn’t have dived in, especially in the penalty area.

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