The two-time defending champion Galaxy, though, are expected to have star Landon Donovan back as they attempt to continue their home dominance over the Dynamo on Sunday night.
Los Angeles (4-1-2) was without Donovan, Robbie Keane, defender Todd Dunivant and goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini for last week’s trip to Real Salt Lake. The Galaxy, though, recorded their second straight 2-0 win as Brian Rowe made five saves and Charlie Rugg scored a goal in his first MLS game.
Donovan and Cudicini will likely return from their leg strains Sunday, but the statuses of Keane (sprained ankle) and Dunivant (leg strain) remain unclear. Keane scored the final goal in a 3-1 championship victory over Houston at the Home Depot Center on Dec. 1.
“If (Keane and Dunivant are) not ready, other guys will step in and go,” Donovan told the league’s official website. “There’s no need to put someone at risk to keep injuring themselves or get hurt worse. We want to make sure guys are ready when they’re called on.”
Donovan tallied the tiebreaking score in that win and had the lone goal in the 2011 MLS Cup final, also at Home Depot Center, with Keane providing the assist.
“It’s something that we don’t think about. Last season and the season before, it doesn’t matter. This is a new season, it’s a new team, our main objective is to go in there and get three points,” defender Corey Ashe told the Dynamo’s official website.
Donovan has played in four of Los Angeles’ six consecutive home wins against Houston, including three in the playoffs, and scored in each game. The Galaxy have won their past five games over the Dynamo when the midfielder has been in the lineup.
Los Angeles is also 3-0-1 at home this season while Houston (4-2-2) is 0-2-1 on the road. Including the postseason, Houston is 2-13-7 away from home since March 22, 2012.
The Dynamo have stayed near the top of the Eastern Conference by extending their MLS-record home unbeaten streak to 36 games. But after four straight wins at home, they played to a 1-all draw with Colorado in Houston last Sunday.
Captain and playmaking midfielder Brad Davis was given a red card late in that game and will have to sit out this one. Davis is second on the team with two goals and two assists this season and had a career-high eight goals and 12 assists in 2012.
“I just lost my head a little bit,” Davis said.
Midfielder Adam Moffat’s status is unknown due to a hamstring injury that he suffered in a 1-all draw in Toronto on April 20. He had to sit out last week’s game.
Houston has won the past two regular-season matchups between the teams, and Davis assisted on the tiebreaking goal in a 2-1 victory May 26.
The Dynamo recorded their most recent road win over Los Angeles on Sept. 16, 2007.
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