Stoppage time was not kind to the Houston Dynamo against the LA Galaxy, as they saw a positive result turn sour with two late critical plays -- the second of which will cause a few looks at the tape.
Down 1-0 after a stoppage-time header by never-say-die poster boy Alan Gordon, Houston subsequently looked to miss out on what replays showed was a missed penalty call. Chasing a loose ball Galaxy defender Oscar Sorto was shown a red card for a sliding tackle from behind on Dynamo defender David Horst.
The foul looked to have been initiated in the penalty box, but was marked well outside, something the Dynamo were upset with after the fact.
“It was a penalty. There’s no 'could be' about it,” head coach Owen Coyle responded after the game. “The free kick, the foul, takes place inside the box and we’ve been awarded a free kick four yards outside the box. … So at the end of the day we don’t want anything that is not ours, we only want everything that we think is fair and that penalty was missed.”
The ensuing free kick was headed with pace wide of goal and the Dynamo ultimately fell to the Galaxy 1-0.
It was a gut punch for Houston after keeping the Galaxy at bay for 91 minutes, but while the controversial call hurt, the Dynamo did themselves no favors on Gordon’s winner. Jermaine Taylor was caught out of position, allowing the towering Gordon a free header to halt Houston's two-game winning streak.
“I think we got caught a little spread out,” goalkeeper Tyler Deric said about the goal. “It was late in the game and we could’ve been more organized and that falls on my shoulders. I’ll take responsibility for that.
“I don’t remember them having too many clear-cut chances on goal. I really didn’t have too many saves to make. That’s why it’s unfortunate to lose the way we did especially with a header in the last couple minutes of the game."
Deric only had one save in the game; the other LA shot on target was Gordon’s goal, as the Dynamo defense held the Galaxy at bay by not breaking shape and closing down chances.
Playing composed and structured didn’t make for an open game for the first 70 minutes. Still, Dynamo striker Will Bruin had two prime chances in the first 10 minutes but failed to convert a header first and was stuffed on a one-on-one chance by LA goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
Between the missed chances and the frantic finish, it will be a long flight back to Texas.
“We came here in good form. I think we certainly deserved something tonight, we never got it, but that’s what this game does,” Coyle said. “It can be a cruel, cruel game. We have to pick ourselves up and we go again.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.