Preview: Top-of-the-table showdown as LA host Dallas
The LA Galaxy and FC Dallas meet in a crucial contest at the top of the Western Conference on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. The clubs are separated by just three points and FC Dallas has two games in hand. The Galaxy are coming off a two-game Pacific road trip, concluded with a crash in a 3-0 loss at Portland at midweek. FC Dallas are back in league action following a home against Chivas USA last weekend and advancement in the CONCACAF Champions League at midweek.
REFEREE: Michael Kennedy. SAR (bench): Adam Wienckowski; JAR (opposite): Jason Cullum; 4th: Mark Declouet
MLS Career: 135 games; FC/gm: 28.9; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 24; pens: 47
LA GALAXY – OUT: DF Sean Alvarado (R knee surgery); DF Leonardo (R knee surgery); GK Donovan Ricketts (L ulna fracture); QUESTIONABLE: FW Chad Barrett (R knee sprain); MF David Beckham (back spasms); MF Jovan Kirovski (L ankle sprain); PROBABLE: DF Omar Gonzalez (nose fracture)
FC DALLAS – OUT: DF Edson Edward (R knee ACL tear); MF David Ferreira (R ankle); FW Maykel Galindo (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Andrew Jacobson (L knee); PROBABLE: MF Brek Shea (illness)
DAL: Fabian Castillo (Colombia U-20)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD:
DAL: Daniel Hernandez, Andrew Jacobson
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS:
LA: Landon Donovan
DAL: Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Zach Loyd, Brek Shea
ALL-TIME (53 meetings): Galaxy 25 wins (1 shootout), 95 goals … FC Dallas 19 wins (1 shootout), 74 goals … Ties 9
AT LA (27 meetings): Galaxy 18 wins (1 shootout), 54 goals … FC Dallas 5 wins (1 shootout), 27 goals … Ties 3
- Brek Shea scored a dramatic winner two minutes from full time on May 1 in the first meeting between the clubs on a wild night at Pizza Hut Park.
- The Galaxy won both league meetings between the clubs last year, winning 1-0 in Frisco and 2-1 in Carson, but FC Dallas defeated the Galaxy 3-0 in the Western Conference Championship at The Home Depot Center.
- The Galaxy’s win at The Home Depot Center in the regular season finale was their first home win against FC Dallas since 2007.
- The two teams exploded for goals at the home of the other in consecutive seasons. In 2009, FC Dallas won 6-3 at The Home Depot Center – the most goals allowed in a single game in Galaxy history. But in 2008, the Galaxy won 5-1 at Pizza Hut Park (and that followed a 6-3 Galaxy win in SuperLiga in 2007).
- Coaches' records: Bruce Arena v DAL: P17 W8 L7 D2 … Schellas Hyndman vs. LA: P7 W3 L2 D2
LAST MEETING (MLS)
5/1: DAL 2, LA 1 (Castillo 47, Shea 88 – Donovan 52)
- FCD took the lead two minutes after the second-half restart. Andrew Jacobson flicked a Jackson throw-in to Fabian Castillo on the second attempt and the Colombian forward scooped his effort over LA 'keeper Donovan Ricketts and inside the far post for his first MLS goal.
- Landon Donovan replied five minutes later to draw the Galaxy level. Juninho played a cutting ball toward the back post, and both Donovan and Zach Loyd crashed toward the goalframe, but Donovan looked to get in the final touch as he slid behind Loyd before banging into the woodwork.
- The match was delayed for a hour with just a few minutes of regulation time remaining after lightning rolled in.
- But FCD struck quickly after the game restarted. Brek Shea sent a curling cross from the left that floated over Ricketts and into the far side of the net for the 88th-minute winner.
FC DALLAS (4-1-3-1-1): Kevin Hartman - Jackson Goncalves, George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez (Zach Loyd 36) - Daniel Hernandez - Marvin Chavez, Andrew Jacobson, Brek Shea - Eric Avila (Ricardo Villar 69) - Fabian Castillo (Eric Alexander 90).
LA GALAXY (4-1-3-2): Donovan Ricketts - Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant - Juninho, Mike Magee (Paolo Cardozo 72), David Beckham (Chris Birchall 83), Landon Donovan - Chad Barrett, Juan Pablo Angel (Jovan Kirovski 83)
The LA Galaxy saw their undefeated streak come to a crashing halt, losing 3-0 to the Portland Timbers on Wednesday evening at Jeld-Wen Field. The Galaxy have 45 points from 24 games on the season, leading the Western Conference.
- The Timbers took the lead after 26 minutes. Defender Mike Chabala and midfielder Darlington Nagbe traded passes on the left flank, Chabala receiving the return in the area and blasting a right-footed shot past LA ‘keeper Josh Saunders.
- Then in the 33rd minute, a Chabala throw-in to forward Kenny Cooper was tapped on to midfielder Diego Chara. He then centered it to Perlaza, who was able to send a sliding shot past Saunders and double the Portland lead.
- The Timbers concluded the scoring in the 68th minute when a corner by Sal Zizzo found a leaping Eric Brunner at the top of the six-yard box and he powered home a free header.
- Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made two changes to the team that defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC 4-0 at Empire Field. Chris Birchall and David Beckham came into the side, replacing Gregg Berhalter and Mike Magee.
- LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Josh Saunders - Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant – Chris Birchall, Juninho (Dan Keat 81), David Beckham, Michael Stephens (Adam Cristman 46) - Juan Pablo Angel (Miguel Lopez 46), Landon Donovan.
- The Galaxy had last lost on May 1, a 2-1 loss at FC Dallas. The 14-game undefeated streak was one game shy of the club record in MLS play, set twice previously (1997-98 and 2009-10).
- "It's hard to go through a long stretch of the season unbeaten, especially in our league, where there's a salary cap and teams are playing with the same rules,” said Landon Donovan. “It was a good run. There were probably a couple times where it could've been broken up but (in Portland) we didn't deserve to win and we paid for it."
- The three goals allowed by the Galaxy were the most since a 4-1 loss at Real Salt Lake on March 26. In the 20 league games in between, LA had allowed just 11 goals.
- "We were dominated in the first half and it was the story of the game. I don't think we made adjustments for the size of the field and the surface and we were really outplayed in every position on the field,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “We were dominated, we were beat. I don't think there's anything sophisticated about the analysis of this game. We were beat all over the field."
- The Galaxy also lost by shutout for the first time this season. On each of the other four occasions when they failed to score in a league match, they came out of the game with a point through a scoreless draw.
- “I think we've played worse, but other times we've just come out of it with a great play or a great goal,” said David Beckham. “But I think the first half is what killed us – we were outworked, outplayed, out-hustled, and for a team as good as us, that should never happen."
FC Dallas returned home from a lengthy road trip and resumed their winning ways, taking a 1-0 decision against Chivas USA on Sunday evening at Pizza Hut Park. FCD has 42 points from 22 games on the season, in second place in the Western Conference.
- The game's only goal came after 26 minutes. Ruben Luna chased down a loose ball at the end line and laid it back for Marvin Chavez. His shot took a deflection off Chivas defender Heath Pearce and left Dan Kennedy flat-footed before sailing into the goal.
- FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made three changes to the team that played to a 2-2 draw at the New York Red Bulls. Bobby Warshaw, Bruno Guarda and Ruben Luna came into the team for Daniel Hernandez, Eric Alexander and Eric Avila.
- FC DALLAS (4-1-4-1): Kevin Hartman - Zach Loyd, George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez - Bobby Warshaw (Jackson 56) - Marvin Chavez (Eric Alexander 63), Ricardo Villar, Bruno Guarda, Brek Shea - Ruben Luna (Maykel Galindo 70).
- The win against Chivas USA came in sapping heat of better than 100 degrees on the field, and after FC Dallas had played three games in three different countries over the span of a week.
- “I think you can always make excuses for yourself and be ready for a loss. But I pressed to the players before the game how much their character was going to determine the outcome of the game, and to fight hard and good things will happen,” said FCD head coach Schellas Hyndman.
- FC Dallas recorded a third consecutive shutout at Pizza Hut Park, and they have posted a clean sheet in eight of their last nine home games.
- “It was definitely one of the hotter games in my career,” said center back George John. “I love it. I know that the other team dreads it even more, so I personally relish it. Our record shows that we do well and have been successful.”
- FC Dallas has an MLS-leading 12 shutouts on the season, and their 0.91 goals against average is fifth-best in the league.
- “You say home field advantage but we are feeling this heat just as much,” said center back Ugo Ihemelu. “You just have to be mentally tough and keep grinding out and you can’t let your body dictate how you play.”
- After the demands of the trip, regulars Daniel Hernandez and Jackson were held out of the first XI. Home Grown Player Ruben Luna made just his second start of the league season, his first since April 1, and recorded an assist on the goal.
- “I thought Ruben Luna had a really good game, holding the ball, laying balls off, [and] creating some opportunities for himself,” said Hyndman. “The reason of going with Ruben was I know that he was fresh and I knew that the heat would not be as much of an issue for him as it would be for Jackson or Chávez being the lone striker.”
- Chavez has three goals in his last two league games after netting both goals in FCD’s 2-2 draw at New York.
- On Wednesday, FC Dallas defeated Alianza FC of El Salvador 1-0 in the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League preliminary round series, advancing 2-0 on aggregate. Ugo Ihemelu scored the game’s lone goal on 36 minutes.
- Here’s the FCD team: Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd, Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Jair Benitez, Brek Shea (Eric Alexander 58), Daniel Hernandez, Bruno Guarda, Ricardo Villar, Jackson (Ruben Luna 42), Marvin Chavez (Andrew Wiedeman 71).