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Suddenly surging Galaxy defeats the Dynamo, 2-1

Times Staff Writer

Three weeks ago, after a 3-1 home loss to the Houston Dynamo, the Galaxy players trudged off the field in Carson with heads bowed and a 4-13-5 Major League Soccer record. They were headed nowhere.

Today, after a 2-1 win over that same Houston team in Texas on Sunday -- on goals by Carlos Pavon and Gavin Glinton -- the Galaxy is 8-13-6 and three wins from clinching an improbable spot in the MLS playoffs.

The Galaxy has won four in a row and is unbeaten in five. The turnaround has been remarkable, and while the postseason is still very much a pipe dream, it is not beyond reach.

With a record crowd of 30,588 showing up at Robertson Stadium on a hot afternoon, the Dynamo got things rolling with a goal in the 21st minute.

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Defending MLS champion Houston had lost only twice at home this season and was 12-0 when scoring first, so things looked good for the Dynamo. But with mere seconds remaining in the first half, Pavon and Landon Donovan combined to create the tying goal, seemingly out of nothing.

With Houston’s defense perhaps thinking it had survived the half unscathed, the Dynamo was caught off guard when Pavon played the ball back to Donovan, who immediately sent it forward into open space for Pavon to turn and run onto.

The Honduran international, who has struggled all season to adapt to MLS, suddenly found himself in the clear with only goalkeeper Pat Onstad in his way. He unleashed a powerful left-foot shot that flew diagonally across the face of the net and caromed in off the inside of the right post.

Rain made conditions a bit trickier in the second 45 minutes, but after Houston had wasted at least three good scoring chances, Glinton, who had come on as a second-half substitute for Kyle Martino, scored the game-winner in the 77th minute.

Houston applied all sorts of late pressure, but the Galaxy held on.

Jones reported from Los Angeles.

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grahame.jones@latimes.com


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