The Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy huffed and puffed under the hot Texas sun on Sunday, and it took an unsightly goal from Alan Gordon to decide matters.
On a day when the temperature climbed high enough above the 90-degree mark to necessitate in-game water breaks at BBVA Compass Stadium, rhythm and attacking quality was in short supply.
But the Galaxy's veteran target man got into the right place at the right time on his birthday to deflect David Horst's attempted clearance into the net, keeping LA on course to host a Knockout Round game in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs via possession of third place in the Western Conference.
Meanwhile, Houston's impressive fall resurgence under interim head coach Wade Barrett seems to have peaked, as the Dynamo could direct just two shots on target en route to their third straight home loss.
Houston Dynamo (7-14-12; 33 points) vs. LA Galaxy (12-6-15; 51 points)
MLS Regular Season
October 16, 2016 – BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
LA Galaxy: Alan Gordon 3 (unassisted) 72
Houston Dynamo: Joe Willis; Jalil Anibaba, David Horst (Will Bruin 78), Keyner Brown, Abdoulie Mansally; Collen Warner (Ricardo Clark 62); Alex; Yair Arboleda (Andrew Wenger 62), Cristián Maidana, Boniek García ©; Mauro Manotas
Substitutes Not Used: Calle Brown, Rob Lovejoy, Kevin Garcia, Jose Escalante
TOTAL SHOTS: 9 (Cristián Maidana and Mauro Manotas tied with 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Jalil Anibaba and Mauro Manotas tied with 2); FOULS: 4 (Jalil Anibaba, Alex, Boniek García, and Andrew Wenger tied with 1); OFFSIDES: 4 (Mauro Manotas and Andrew Wenger tied with 2); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Cristián Maidana 5); SAVES: 4 (Joe Willis 4)
LA Galaxy: Brian Rowe; Robbie Rogers, A.J. DeLaGarza, Daniel Steres, Ashley Cole; Baggio Husidic, Sebastian Lletget (Jeff Larentowicz 78); Landon Donovan (Mike Magee 63), Giovani dos Santos, Emmanuel Boateng; Alan Gordon © (Ariel Lassiter 90)
Substitutes Not Used: Dave Romney, Dan Kennedy, Rafael Garcia, Raul Mendiola
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Emmanuel Boateng, Giovani dos Santos and Alan Gordon tied with 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Emmanuel Boateng 3); FOULS: 7 (Ashley Cole, Daniel Steres, Baggio Husidic, Emmanuel Boateng, Giovani dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget, and Alan Gordon tied with 1); OFFSIDES: 1 (Baggio Husidic 1); CORNER KICKS: 9 (Landon Donovan 6); SAVES: 2 (Brian Rowe 2)
Referee: Kevin Stott
Assistant Referees: Craig Lowry; Apolinar Mariscal
Fourth Official: Rubiel Vazquez