Galaxy, Dynamo Going in Opposite Directions

Sure, the MLS preseason only got underway in the last few weeks, but the opening round of the inaugural Pan-Pacific Championship offered a little glimpse of what we might be able to expect from the Los Angeles Galaxy and Houston Dynamo in 2008.For Los Angeles, a shaky defense didn't show any signs of improvement. In the 3rd minute of play, Troy Roberts was beaten on a harmless through-ball that new Galaxy #1 keeper Steve Cronin couldn't keep out of the back of the net. Like the second half of last season, the rest of the game feature flashbulbs popping every time David Beckham got near the ball and absolutely nothing to celebrate on the offensive end. To be fair, LA was missing two big weapons to injury: Landon Donovan and Carlos Ruiz.

"I think we played an excellent game," said new Galaxy head coach Ruud Gullit. "It took us a bit of time to adjust but after 20 minutes we started to play well. We made some mistakes but it is valuable to spend this kind of time with the players."

Los Angeles Galaxy 0 - Gamba Osaka 1


On the other end of the spectrum, the reigning back-to-back MLS Cup champion Houston Dynamo looked ready to begin their conquest for a third-straight league championship, as Dwayne De Rosario, Stuart Holden and Chris Wondolowski all struck before halftime to stake the Dynamo to a 3-0 victory over Sydney FC. Hawaii's native son Brian Ching celebrated two assists on the night, on the club's first and third goals, pleasing the Honolulu crowd.

"It was fantastic for me to be able to play in front of my home crowd," said Ching. "For us to get the win and produce a good performance was even better. Hopefully I am saving my goals for the final and we can go on and lift the trophy on Saturday."

Houston Dynamo 3 - Sydney FC 0

The results mean Houston has advanced to Saturday's final and will square off against Gamba Osaka for the championship. Los Angeles and Sydney will meet in the third-place game, a re-match of last November's exhibition in Australia, a game Sydney prevailed in by a score of 5-3.

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