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Galaxy blows big chance in 1-0 loss to Houston

Landon Donovan fails to capitalize on a first-half penalty kick and the Dynamo wins it with a second-half goal by Andrew Driver.

May 05, 2013|By Jim Peltz, Los Angeles Times

The give-away for fans at the Galaxy game Sunday night was a Landon Donovan bobblehead doll.

But for Donovan, what mattered was the penalty kick that got away.

Donovan failed to convert his second consecutive penalty kick and the Houston Dynamo defeated the Galaxy, 1-0, in front of 20,071 at a chilly Home Depot Center.

BOX SCORE: Houston 1, Galaxy 0

The victory gave Houston some solace after the Galaxy defeated the Dynamo in the MLS Cup to win the league championship the last two years, with the Galaxy winning both titles at home.

Midfielder Andrew Driver scored in the 56th minute Sunday when he kicked a line drive past goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini.

In the first half, Donovan had an opportunity to give the Galaxy the lead with a penalty kick after teammate Jose Villarreal was upended by goalkeeper Tally Hall.

But after taking a stutter-step as he approached the ball in the 24th minute, Donovan kicked the ball directly at Hall, who knocked it aside and left Donovan yelling in frustration.

It was the first time in Donovan's illustrious, nine-year Galaxy career that he has failed to capitalize on two consecutive penalty kicks.

The previous one occurred April 13 against FC Dallas, and the Galaxy lost that game, 1-0.

"Never good to miss a penalty kick," Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said.

After that, Houston "outworked us," he said. "That was the biggest thing I take away from the game."

The failed penalty kick also seemed to slow the Galaxy's momentum after it had attacked early.

Galaxy midfielder Mike Magree took a left-footed shot on goal in the eighth minute from about 25 yards, but the ball sailed a few feet left of the goal.

Villarreal kicked a shot from a similar distance in the 17th minute but the ball flew over the crossbar.

The Galaxy continued to be without two of its regular starters, forward Robbie Keane and defender Todd Dunivant, who sat out their second consecutive games.

Keane has a sore left ankle and Dunivant has a left leg strain.

"Obviously, we miss Robbie there but that's life, injuries are part of the game," Arena said.

Before the game, the Galaxy said one of its most promising players, 18-year-old Jack McBean of Newport Beach, is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks after breaking his left collarbone a week ago.

McBean, who suffered the injury in a collision with Nat Borchers of Real Salt Lake, had surgery on the clavicle Tuesday.

McBean had appeared in 10 of the Galaxy's first 11 games in all competitions this year and scored two goals.

The Galaxy (4-2-2) travels to Canada to play the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday.

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