FC Dallas host struggling Columbus

all in the last five games, tying a club record with goals in five consecutive games.

  • FC Dallas boss Colin Clarke made no changes to the team that defeated the New England Revolution 4-0 the Saturday before, keeping with the 4-4-2 scheme he put out for the second week in a row.
  • Here's Clarke's team (4-4-2): Dario Sala - Bobby Rhine, Drew Moor, Greg Vanney, Chris Gbandi - Ronnie O'Brien (Alex Yi 92+), Richard Mulrooney, Simo Valakari, Ramon Nunez (Roberto Mina 70) - Carlos Ruiz (Mark Wilson 93+), Kenny Cooper. [Substitutes Not Used: Arturo Alvarez, Ray Burse, Aaron Pitchkolan, David Wagenfuhr]
  • "Two great goals -- the header [by Cooper] and the turn by Carlos," Clarke said. "He's on a roll at the moment."

    TEAM NEWS

  • After falling behind to the early goal, FC Dallas did what they do best, attacked from the flanks and got the ball to the dangerous tandem of Cooper and Carlos Ruiz. "I think when we started to move the ball wide and finding that space we were able to dominate the game," Ronnie O'Brien said.
  • O'Brien's cross set up a header from Kenny Cooper - for the moment tying him for the team lead with five goals. "Another good ball by Ronnie O'Brien, I've been fortunate to be on the end of some great quality services," Cooper said. "We have good players and I've been fortunate to be on the end of that quality a couple of times this year."
  • Then Ruiz re-took the lead in scoring, turning past the Red Bulls defender to his for his sixth goal, second in MLS on the campaign. "You have the likes of Carlos matched up one-on-one in those spots with space around him is very hard to contain," Hoops coach Colin Clarke said. "In the second half we got it into his feet in dangerous spots and we were able to run off him."
  • Ruiz's goal ensured he would match the club record, jointly held by he, Damian (1997) and Jason Kreis (2002). "Carlos is incredible," Cooper said. "I can't give him enough praise. He is one of the superstars in this league but he's one of the boys in the locker room. Everyone loves him and he's a great leader and he showed that tonight."
  • While the Hoops are still riding a club-record 11-game unbeaten streak at Pizza Hut Park, the win in New York was very important, as it was the first on their travels this season.
  • "We have high expectations, we want to come away from home and get points, get wins," forward Kenny Cooper said. "I think we have the quality to do it. I believe we have a great team and great players, great attacking players and I think we showed that tonight."

    COLUMBUS CREW

    The Columbus Crew lost for the first time in four matches, matching the worst loss in club history in a 5-1 defeat by D.C. United on Wednesday night at RFK Stadium. The Crew are still tied for third place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points from nine matches, level with the New England Revolution, two points behind Kansas City and now 10 in arrears of United.

    LAST MATCH

  • United and the Crew were meeting for the second time in 11 days, after playing to a 1-1 draw May 20 in Columbus, and Jaime Moreno didn't take long in reaching his historic milestone.
  • Dan Popik - with two career MLS appearances, both as a substitute for the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2003-04 - was given the start in goal for Columbus, and after just seven minutes he pulled down Alecko Eskandarian just inside the area as the United striker raced in alone and tried to round the 'keeper. Moreno put the resulting the penalty kick to Popik's left, sending him the other way, for the 100th goal of his MLS career, just the second player in league history to reach the century mark. Moreno is now just three goals behind all-time Jason Kreis of Real Salt Lake.
  • The Crew equalized in the 21st minute, after a nice passing sequence. A tic-tac-toe movement between Brandon Moss, Jose Retiz and Sebastian Rozental led to a sublime chip from the Chilean to the back post, where Joseph Ngwenya slipped in to coolly volley home.
  • But after the break, United came out storming, and put the game away with a four-goal blitz. First, in the 49th minute, a glancing header from Eskandarian on a corner kick was turned into his own goal by defender Ezra Hendrickson. Then nine minutes later, Popik got down to hold an angled shot from Moreno, but couldn't hold the rebound, and Josh Gros steamed in to knock it into the empty net.
  • Eskandarian finally got his goal in the 71st minute to finish off a stunning counterattack. Bobby Boswell picked up a rebound in his own area, and launched forward for Gomez, near the halfway stripe. With loads of time and space, Gomez sent an immaculate through ball for Eskandarian, who raced between defenders and shot low past Popik from just inside the box.
  • Lucio Filomeno finished off the scoring seven minutes later, a clearance from a corner kick bouncing off Ngwenya in the goalmouth right to Filomeno, and he made no mistake potting it from close range for his first MLS goal.
  • Crew head coach Sigi Schmid made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 with United 11 days earlier in Columbus. Popik came into goal for the injured Jon Busch, and Chris Leitch came in at left back for Rusty Pierce.
  • Here's Schmid's team (4-2-3-1): Dan Popik - Ezra Hendrickson (Marcos Gonzalez 61), Chad Marshall, Ritchie Kotschau, Chris Leitch - Brandon Moss, Jose Retiz (Ned Grabavoy 46) - Sebastian Rozental (Jacob Thomas 61), Eddie Gaven, Joseph Ngwenya - Jason Garey. [Substitutes Not Used: Leonard Bisaku, Kei Kamara, Noah Palmer, Tim Ward]
  • "We were ball-watching, we didn't close things down quickly enough, we didn't keep the ball when we had the ball. There's eight million things you can look at today," Schmid said. "The most important thing is we have to look at our character. We have to see how we come back against Dallas on Saturday. That's going to be the measure of what are we going to be as a team, and some guys in the last 15 minutes, 20 minutes of that game showed me positives or negatives about their character."

    TEAM NEWS

  • It was a difficult reinitiation for Popik into the MLS world. He made his two appearances for the Galaxy in 2003 and 2004 for Schmid, his only competitive start in his two years with the club coming in a 1-0 loss to the Minnesota Thunder in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup in 2004. He faced 22 shots from United, 11 of which were on target.
  • "Goalkeeping was a situation that we knew was going to be a problem going into this game. Not many teams have had four goalkeepers all out injured. I don't think that's ever happened in this league," Schmid said. "From that standpoint, we knew that was going to be an adventure."
  • In addition to the lengthy injury list - which included no fewer than eight players out of action - there were further gameday difficulties in Schmid's squad.
  • "We went into the game with two guys who were sick. One who we knew was a little bit sick (Hendrickson), and then [Jose] Retiz started throwing up 15 minutes into the first half," he said. "Obviously, that makes it a little more difficult when you got guys that are really struggling. We didn't expect Retiz to struggle, but you got to mark up on players."
  • There were problems at both ends of the field for Schmid. "Today, offensively, was only the second time we sort of played the same group together offensively. We tried to switch sides a little bit. When you look at Alecko [Eskandarian] and Jaime and Gomez, how many games has that trio already played together just this season, not counting last season and the year before? And you look at our trio of [Joseph] Ngwenya and [Jason] Garey and [Eddie] Gaven -- how many games have they played together?" he said.


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