The Morning After recap: Galaxy 1, Houston 0

Steven Gerrard, who scored the winning goal in Friday's 1-0 victory against Houston, makes a run against Ricardo Clark. (Will Lester/SCNG-Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

Steven Gerrard, who scored the winning goal in Friday’s 1-0 victory against Houston, makes a run against Ricardo Clark. (Will Lester/SCNG-Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

The Galaxy improved to 32 points in the Western Conference with Friday’s 1-0 victory over Houston. It wasn’t pretty, but as the saying goes, a win is a win. The Galaxy is now in third place heading into Saturday’s games. Here is a recap of how it went down.

Gerrard’s goal lifts Galaxy to victory

William Lester’s game day photo album

No Keane, no goals? – It almost looked that way. Robbie Keane, who had scored a pair of goals since his return from international duty, didn’t have that magic touch against Houston. He missed from the penalty spot in the first half and had a couple of other good opportunities to score, but couldn’t. However, some good did come out of one of his late chances as Steven Gerrard, following on the play, knocked in the winning goal in the 66th minute.

Arena: “Well Robbie didn’t get a goal, but he was in position to get a couple. But that’s all a part of it, you can’t depend on one player to score. I think Robbie was a threat all night despite the fact that he didn’t get a goal.”

Defense comes through again – The Galaxy started the same starting 11 as last week’s 1-0 victory over Seattle, so that meant the likes of Dave Romney, Daniel Steres, Jelle Van Damme, A.J. De La Garza, Jeff Larentowicz and Baggio Husidic doing the dirty work in front of goalkeeper Brian Rowe to preserve the shutout.

The key question going forward will be will Arena disrupt the chemistry of this defense when Ashley Cole and Nigel de Jong are available to return.

Arena: “De Jong has been a very good player for us this year. I expect him to be on the field.”

Beauty is in the eye of the victor – For consecutive games, the Galaxy has recorded 1-0 victories. They might not have been the best played game, but the Galaxy has done enough to record three points. That’s always the most important thing.

Gerrard: “It’s starting to gel. I think that’s because we’ve got everyone fit and healthy. The team is really strong at the moment. But I’ve been saying for a long, long time that success is built on a defensive platform and we’re defending really well. If we keep that solid defensive base, we’ve got players on the team that can cause the opposition problems, who can assist goals and score goals. And that’s how you get success at the end of the season.”

Up next: Wednesday vs. Seattle in U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal, 7 :30 p.m.

Next league game: Saturday, at Portland, 12:30 p.m.

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