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Landon Donovan Penalty Carries Galaxy Over Houston 1-0

It was a slow night in Carson, but Landon Donovan's 45+ minute penalty was enough to send 14, 458 fans home haps, as the Los Angeles Galaxy (7-2-5, 26pts.) held on to defeat the Houston Dynamo (3-4-5, 14pts.) 1-0. The team came out in their blue kits, so those in attendance got to see a rare color on color match at Home Depot Center. The match may have been aesthetically pleasing, but the play was lackluster.

There weren't that many highlights, but in the end it's only the three points that matters. Certainly the Galaxy missed David Beckham's presence in the middle, yet Donovan created some nice chances. The biggest problem for the Galaxy tonight was finishing, taking 17 shots but only 3 shots on goal; and one of those was Donovan's penalty. 

In fact, neither goalkeeper had a save in the first half. Houston didn't try Donovan Ricketts once, and the Galaxy were no better off outside of the penalty kick. The penalty came after a Chad Birchall shot from the right side of the box was redirected by the forearm of Lovel Palmer. There was little doubt about the penalty, and when Donovan went just right as Tally Hall dove to Donovan's left there was little left to do but blow confetti. 

The only other highlights were two low crosses that got knocked clear by Houston defenders. In the 40', Birchall sent a low cross destined for Landon Donovan that was knocked clear by Koke right in front of goal. In the 83' an almost identical situation arose as Miguel Lopez rolled one toward Mike Magee, but that too was cleared harmlessly away. Much credit has to be given to the Houston back four.

When US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions league matches to squeeze in, MLS has to schedule these midweek games. Unfortunately for the Galaxy, that means getting on a plane tomorrow headed for New England for a match on artificial turf. David Beckham will be joining the team in Foxboro.