I’ve been saying it somewhat sarcastically all season, but at this point I’m not wrong in saying Alan Gordon is the MVP of the universe. Last night’s stoppage time miracle was his team-leading fourth of the season and his second game winner of the year. From the moment he was subbed on in the 68th minute, it just felt like something was going to happen, and unfortunately for my fragile heart we had to wait until stoppage time—but it was worth the wait.
When you weren’t entranced by Gordon’s magnificent hair flying around the field and winning games, you may have noticed a certain Irishman was back, and after 7 games out, Robbie Keane reminded us all of why he was the best player in the league last season—curling the ball perfectly onto Alan Gordon’s glorious forehead. Keane says, “He’s unbelievable at heading the ball. Every time I’m there, as soon as he’s on the field, I always know where he’s going to be. A few times last year, it was the same thing. If you find his head, you know nine times out of ten it’s going to be in the back of the net.”
However, it definitely wasn’t all pretty. Houston’s goalkeeper Tyler Deric only recorded one save on the night, and both teams struggled to create any real chances for most of the game. Alan Gordon had his shot blocked by a defender before putting the rebound wide just seconds after coming on as a sub, but the majority of the game was LA dominating the midfield possession battle, and Houston trying (but with little success) to be dangerous on the counter attack.
Head Coach Bruce Arena was glad to sneak out of there with a win but was reserved in his reaction; “It’s important for us to win these types of games. We fouled up in a bunch of these games this year. Tonight, it’s a real good sign. Still at the end of these games, we have to close it out in a better fashion. Tonight, we end up getting red carded in the 93 after scoring a goal. You scratch your head.” But I’m scratching my head as to why Oscar Sorto was even sent off in the first place. The referee pulled out a yellow card initially, but after a few minutes that yellow card magically transformed and changed colors to red. Houston manager Owen Coyle wanted even more though; “Well it was a penalty, there is no ‘it could have been,’ the foul takes place inside the box and we been awarded a free kick 4 yards outside the box. I will let you think about that one yourselves without me getting into any trouble.”
If you try and forget about the last minute of the game, Oscar Sorto was really impressive in his first career MLS start. “To be honest, I was very emotional before the game. I’ve been waiting two years to start for Bruce, and I was just happy to start in that game.” After playing for the youth national team, and even getting called into the senior team once, Sorto proved his worth playing out of position on the left side of the defense. But his ejection will mean another suspension, and thus the never-ending cycle of starting lineups rages on. Bruce Arena has yet to play the same starting 11 consecutively this season, but he reminded us, “I’m not sure you are aware but we’ve been missing an awful lot of players.” Fair enough Bruce.
The home-undefeated streak grows to 27 games, third best in league history, and it’s LA’s first win in 5 so there’s improvement (although anything would have been better than the last game against Orlando City) and this result is something to build on. Like Gordo says, “There is always the next game. We have got to still have the same mentality.” Well, I like the mentality where we pass to Alan Gordon’s head and let him score in stoppage time with those epic celebrations…that mentality seems to be working.
Next up is Real Salt Lake (again???) at home on Wednesday the 27th.