The Galaxy’s David Beckham finally made his first appearance in Houston after two near-misses, but neither team could give the sellout crowd a goal. The Galaxy’s Donovan Ricketts denied Houston with four superb saves, while Geoff Cameron made the Dynamo’s defensive play of the year with an overhead kick to save a goal. Brian Ching was ejected for the second straight MLS game, giving Houston red cards in five consecutive league games and six out of seven.
The Houston Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy played to an entertaining scoreless tie Sunday afternoon at Robertson Stadium before a near-capacity crowd of 29,470. The crowd was the third largest to see a regular-season soccer game at Robertson Stadium. Both teams are now tied with Chivas USA for first place in the Western Conference with one week remaining, one point ahead of the Seattle Sounders. Chivas USA has two games remaining.
The Dynamo had better chances in the first half, forcing three saves from Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. In the 26th minute, Ricketts made a full-length dive to his right to save a left-footed rocket from Luis Angel Landín. Two minutes later, he made a reflex save with his right foot to stop a Brian Mullan shot from the top of the box.
In the 52nd minute, Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron kept the game scoreless when he used a bicycle kick to clear a shot by the Galaxy's Edson Buddle off the goal line. Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad got a piece of Buddle's initial shot from close range, and it bounced in the six-yard box before Cameron cleared it off the line. The play was honored with a spot on SportsCenter's Top 10 plays of the day on ESPN.
The Dynamo's best chance to get the win came in the 77th minute when Brian Mullan headed the ball into the six-yard box, and Stuart Holden's point-blank shot was blocked by a charging Donovan Ricketts.
In the 84th minute, Los Angeles midfielder David Beckham was cautioned for a foul on RIcardo Clark, and in the ensuing pushing and shoving, Houston forward Brian Ching was ejected. It was the second straight MLS game with an ejection for Ching (Sept. 19), who had not been ejected in his previous 147 MLS games or 15 playoff games.
Brian Ching's red card marked the fifth consecutive MLS game in which a Dynamo player was ejected and the sixth time it happened in the last seven MLS games. Houston players have received 11 red cards in their last 13 games, including the Dynamo Charities Cup on October 11.
Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad made three saves to record the shutout, his and the Dynamo's first in MLS play since August 15. The shutout was Onstad's 10th of the year (tied for second in MLS) and 60th of his MLS career (fifth all-time).
Midfielder Brian Mullan raised his team record to 155 appearances in all competitions. Defender Bobby Boswell made his 135th career MLS start, and Brad Davis set a new career high with his 25th start of the year.
The Dynamo will return to action on Wednesday night when they face Isidro Metapán in CONCACAF Champions League play in El Salvador. Houston needs a win, coupled with a Pachuca win over Árabe Unido, to advance to the quarterfinals for the second consecutive season.
The Dynamo played without midfielders Corey Ashe (ankle) and Danny Cruz (foot) and defender Richard Mulrooney (disabled list).
Los Angeles Galaxy (11-6-2) vs. Houston Dynamo (12-8-9)
October 18, 2009 -- Robertson Stadium, Houston TX
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Gregg Berhalter, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, Chris Birchall, Dema Kovalenko, David Beckham, Eddie Lewis (Jovan Kirovski 85), Edson Buddle (Alan Gordon 67), Mike Magee (Landon Donovan 53).
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Saunders, Bryan Jordan, Chris Klein, Yohance Marshall.
Houston Dynamo -- Pat Onstad, Andrew Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Mike Chabala, Brian Mullan, Ricardo Clark, Stuart Holden, Brad Davis, Brian Ching, Luis Angel Landin (Dominic Oduro 85).
Substitutes Not Used: Tally Hall, Wade Barrett, Ryan Cochrane, Eddie Robinson, Abe Thompson, Craig Waibel.
LA -- David Beckham (caution; Reckless Foul) 84
HOU -- Brian Ching (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 84
HOU -- Brian Ching (ejection; Violent Conduct) 84
HOU -- Dominic Oduro (caution; Simulation) 87
LA -- Alan Gordon (caution; Reckless Tackle) 90
gameSumLabel">Referee: Kevin Stott
gameSumLabel">Referee's Assistants: Rob Fereday; Greg Boles
gameSumLabel">4th official: Chris Penso
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial