Perhaps the lone redeeming factor for a goalkeeper that concedes a penalty is the fact he gets an immediate shot at redemption. On Sunday night, Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall seized his.
After Hall clearly brought down Jose Villarreal just inside the 18, leading referee Allen Chapman to point to the stop, the Dynamo man rose from goat to hero in a matter of seconds, guessing the right way to stop Donovan's soft penalty and keep the game scoreless.
“I felt a huge responsibility there that if that turned into a goal there would’ve been one person to look at there and that would’ve been me,” Hall told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “It’s kind of a special moment for a goalkeeper but I was the one that caused the penalty. It was a clumsy way of going about the through-ball and him breaking on my part.
“Soccer’s weird and it’s a fun game because something bad happens and then something good happens.”
There was a bit of a déjà vu feel to the situation as well. Hall faced down Donovan from 12 yards just six months ago in the MLS Cup final on that very same field and on that day Donovan got the better of him to score the game-winner.
Having seen Donovan in last year’s MLS Cup final, and one time before, Hall had a good idea of where Donovan was going to go and admittedly guessed right.
“This is the third penalty he’s taken on me and he’s gone left twice and I’ve gone right twice and I thought I’d mix it up a little bit,” Hall said.
Not only was going left the correct choice, it ended up providing a boost to his teammates.
“I think it was going back and forth early but they were getting some good runs,” head coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com. “I thought after Tally saved that, and I’m glad he did, we were more organized.”
The organization came through late as LA pushed for an equalizer late but nothing came to pass helping Hall’s save and Driver’s goal stand up at the home of a Galaxy team where they’ve traditionally struggled.
“It was a big save and it picked our spirits up big time,” Will Bruin told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s nice to show we can come in here and get results and we’re going to build our confidence.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.