CARSON, Calif. – The Houston Dynamo came tantalizingly close to their first road win in 2017, only to be denied by a controversial finish.
When the LA Galaxy’s Roman Alessandrini slid to tap in the equalizing goal in injury time, every Dynamo defender turned toward the assistant referee with their arms raised, waiting for the offside call that never came.
“I thought it was offside because he was on my shoulder,” said Houston defender A.J. DeLaGarza, making his first return to LA since his offseason trade from the club. “Not that I was on the line anyway, but he was pretty far in front of me. On the flip side, I don’t know why the refs would talk if [referee Hilario Grajeda] was just going to rule it a goal. Didn’t make any sense.”
Alessandrini began the play well behind the Dynamo back line, then pivoted back to try and get onside in time to meet Bradford Jamieson's pass. DeLaGarza wasn’t the last man back, but he had a good view as that play unfolded in front of him.
For head coach Wilmer Cabrera, the unlucky break isn’t enough of an excuse. It’s a game his team could have won, and that’s what hurts most of all.
“We’re upset because we lost two points today,” said Cabrera. “It’s on us. We cannot give the responsibility to the linesman to allow that, or to the referee to put six minutes into a game that cannot go six minutes in extra time.
“We have to be able to play 96, 97, 110 [minutes]. It’s on us. We need to know it’s going to be more difficult for us everywhere we go. We cannot make one mistake. We made two mistakes and we got punished for that.”
If there is a positive to take away from Saturday’s match, it’s that Houston’s offense thrived for extended stretches. They were able to get in transition and run at the Galaxy, and they outshot their hosts 13-7, including seven shots off from inside the penalty area, compared to just three for LA.
“We’ve given up too many chances on the road,” said DeLaGarza. “We limited that tonight, but teams are taking advantage. On the flip side, tonight we’re not. We had other chances to score goals and skied them, Clement [Diop] made a save or two.
“They had three chances and they scored two. We have to crack down on that on the road. We played one of our better games tonight, I think, against a hampered team, but we can take that and progress.”