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Galaxy, Dynamo draw, create 3-way tie atop West

Oct 18, 2009 - 10:54 PM By JEREMY RAKES STATS MLS Correspondent

HOUSTON (STATS) - Separation was what Los Angeles and Houston were looking for entering Sunday's Western Conference match at Robertson Stadium.

The end result, however, was more of a logjam than at the beginning of the game.

The Los Angeles Galaxy and Houston Dynamo played to a scoreless draw Sunday, creating a three-way tie atop the Western Conference.

Donovan Ricketts made four saves for Los Angeles (11-6-12), and Pat Onstad had three for Houston (12-8-9) to help their teams match Chivas USA with 45 points. Both the Galaxy and Dynamo have one match remaining, while Chivas has two.

Chivas plays at Chicago on Thursday before hosting the Dynamo next Sunday, and the Galaxy complete their schedule at home against San Jose on Saturday.

Los Angeles had a chance to break the scoreless draw in the 52nd minute after Edson Buddle pulled Onstad off his line. The goalkeeper, though, deflected Buddle's blooper from 7 yards, and Houston's Geoff Cameron cleared it off the line with a bicycle kick.

"It was a tough game. Houston is a real difficult team to play, when they are at home, with the tight field, their physicality, their quality on set pieces, it wasn't easy," Los Angeles coach Bruce Arena said. "It was a battle for 90 minutes. I liked the mentality of our group and the concentration we showed tonight. I think we have to be pleased with at least leaving with a point."

Houston's best scoring chance came in the 77th minute after Stuart Holden got a pass inside the goalkeeper's box. Holden's point-blank shot was stopped by Ricketts.

For the fifth straight match and sixth time in seven games, Houston finished with 10 men after Brian Ching was ejected in the 83rd minute for a red card, meaning he will not play against Chivas.

David Beckham was given a yellow card for tripping up Ricardo Clark to start the altercation, but Ching exchanged words with Beckham, earning a caution. Ching then was given the red card for apparently pushing a Galaxy player in the head.

"It had nothing to do with me. He pushed someone in the face, but it wasn't me that he pushed, but you can't do that in the game," said Beckham, who was making his first trip to Houston. "Like I said, it had nothing to do with me, I wasn't involved (in the incident)."

Ching admitted his mistake afterward.

"I touched a guy in the face, and the refs saw it and gave me a red card," he said. "Stupid play on my part, but it was an intense game.

"It was a stupid play on my part and two red cards in the last two (home) games doesn't look good. I let my team down, but better now than come playoff time."

Houston now has a red card in five straight games and six out of seven, but Kinnear was more upset about his striker missing the next match.

"It's not because it is Brian Ching," said Kinnear. "It's because it is a player who plays, who is an important player. And if you look at the guys who have been red-carded, they are all important players.

"They are guys that play significant and important minutes for us. And today, it's not just about the six minutes that he missed. It's 90 next week."