Beckham-less Galaxy host Houston
While David Beckham has been a key factor in the Los Angeles Galaxy's hot start, the team has managed fine in his previous two absences.
Beckham will miss a third game Wednesday night when the league-leading Galaxy host the Houston Dynamo.
Los Angeles (6-2-5) won the Supporters' Shield last year and is off to another good start, leading MLS with 23 points while going 3-0-2 at home. It will be looking to win its third straight overall.
After a 4-1 home victory over Sporting Kansas City on May 14, the Galaxy posted a 1-0 win against Chivas USA as visitors at the Home Depot Center on Saturday. Chad Barrett scored on a header, getting the assist from Beckham.
It was Beckham's sixth assist of the season, tying him with Houston's Brad Davis for the league lead.
"That was an important game today, but at the end of the day, it's just another game and another three points," Beckham said, "but we feel like this is our stadium and it was important that we win this game."
Beckham will miss Wednesday's contest while playing in a testimonial match for former Manchester United teammate Gary Neville. Beckham has missed two games this season - a 2-1 win over Chicago on April 17 and 1-all draw against Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia on May 11.
Several players could step up in Beckham's absence. Landon Donovan was held off the scoresheet in last Saturday's win, but had scored in each of his previous five games. Meanwhile, Barrett had two assists in the victory over Kansas City and now has three goals and three assists this season.
The Galaxy are 4-0-1 in their last five matches against the Dynamo. They swept the season series in 2010, outscoring Houston 6-1.
Los Angeles will look to extend that run against the struggling Dynamo (3-3-5), who are looking to snap a four-game winless streak. After two losses, they've played to ties in their last two matches, including a 2-all draw against New York on Saturday.
The Red Bulls scored in second-half stoppage time after Houston had taken a 2-1 lead in the 82nd minute on Koke's goal - his first MLS score.
"I am happy to get the goal, but when you don't get a win, it's difficult to enjoy," he said. "I thought we were better than them, but unfortunately we let the win get away."
Davis scored Houston's other goal. If he gets into Wednesday's contest he will set a club record with his 137th appearance in MLS regular season play.
While Koke may not have been pleased with Saturday's outcome, coach Dominic Kinnear was more optimistic, pointing to the fact that his team didn't become rattled after giving up a goal 32 seconds into the match.
"I think we're playing well," Kinnear said. "... All in all, I really like what I'm seeing from the team. If we simplify things at times I think we'd be better going forward, but, all in all, the efforts and determination is there, and the ability to play for each other is high right now."
Houston is still searching for its first road win of the year after starting 0-1-4 away from home.