Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Friday, April 15 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports 1)
Match Odds: Houston 13/8 – Draw 13/5 – LA Galaxy 6/4
Houston started the season in great form, scoring eight goals in their opening two games, but they have only picked up one win so far and are looking to snap a three-game winless run here.
Owen Coyle’s side were perhaps unlucky to draw with Seattle last weekend, with Chad Marshall’s 94th minute equaliser preventing the Dynamo from picking up all three points. They need to bounce back straight away against another strong Western opponent but will be confident of doing so.
Houston are unbeaten in six home games now, while the Galaxy haven’t won any of their last seven on the road. Add in the fact that Houston have won each of their last four home games against LA and it’s difficult to overlook the hosts here.
The Galaxy travel to Houston off the back of their 1-1 home draw with Portland on Sunday night. A late Nat Borchers own goal rescued a point for an injury-struck Galaxy team but they will need to put in a better performance if they are to take anything away from Friday’s clash.
LA haven’t scored away from home in two attempts so far this term. A 1-0 loss to Colorado was followed by a 0-0 draw in Vancouver and so the team’s road troubles aren’t showing any signs of improving just yet.
Bruce Arena knows this is a big game. The Galaxy sit three points above Houston in the West coming into the match and so there is plenty at stake at this early stage.
These two met three times during the regular season last year. Houston won the only clash at BBVA Compass Stadium 3-0. The Galaxy won one home game 1-0, with the pair drawing 1-1 at StubHub Center in the first meeting of last season.
Houston will be without Colleen Warner once again, while Abdoulie Mansally is a doubt with an ongoing concussion issue.
LA Galaxy will be without Nigel De Jong after his horror tackle on Darlington Nagbe last weekend. At the time of writing a suspension has yet to be issued, although the MLS Disciplinary Committee are expected to hand out a multiple-game ban to the midfielder before Friday’s game. Robbie Keane and Dan Kennedy remain injured, while Steven Gerrard, Jeff Larentowicz, Leonardo and Robbie Rogers are all doubts.
Houston Dynamo’s last five: D/W/L/L/D
LA Galaxy’s last five: W/L/W/D/D
Key Stat: Houston have won each of their last four home games against LA Galaxy by a combined score of 9-2.
Key Player: Will Bruin – The Dynamo forward started the season in blistering form, picking up three goals and two assists in his opening three matches. He hasn’t contributed to a goal in the last two games but he will be desperate to be back amongst the goals against the Galaxy here and could cause them real problems.
Houston Dynamo 2-0 LA Galaxy – Houston have performed better than their 1-2-2 record suggests so far and will expect to beat a Galaxy side that struggles away from home. Injuries and suspensions to key players won’t help LA’s cause and so a second defeat of the campaign looks to be in line for the Western Conference giants.