Ruud Gullit's Los Angeles Galaxy was thoroughly outplayed by Gamba Osaka in Honolulu last night, losing by a 1-0 scoreline that flattered the MLS club. But things couldn't have gone more differently for Dominic Kinnear's Houston Dynamo, which strolled to a 3-0 win against Sydney FC.
David Beckham went 90 minutes but forwards Landon Donovan and Carlos Ruiz did not play, which was just about the best news of an otherwise disappointing outing. Without Donovan and Ruiz, L.A. looked flat in attack. More worrisome, perhaps, is the ease with which Osaka exploited holes in the Galaxy back line. Rookie defenders Julian Valentin and Sean Franklin helped shore up problems in the second half, but as ESPN's Jeff Carlisle says, "It's clear that developing the team's depth ... will pose an immense challenge [to Gullit]".
However, Dominic Kinnear has no such concerns. The Dynamo breezed to a win (though it must be said, past poorer opposition), thanks to goals from Dwayne De Rosario, Stewart Holden, Chris Wondolowski, and some solid defending. Carlisle says Wondolowski's goal would be particularly pleasing to Kinnear since so much was made about the offseason departure of forwards Nate Jaqua and Joseph Ngwenya. Houston still needs to shore up the front line, but if nothing else, Wondolowski proved the second forward slot is his to lose.