Next stop for FCD: The HDC

FC Dallas head to The Home Depot Center this weekend where they face the Los Angeles Galaxy in a battle between the top two teams in the Western Conference. After impressive wins last weekend, each team is riding a positive wave which should lead to a tremendous match.

Last weekend, FC Dallas dominated the entire match in defeating Real Salt Lake 3-0 at the Cotton Bowl. The Galaxy defeated in-stadium rival Chivas USA 3-1 in their first meeting - coincidentally the same score FCD posted against Chivas USA.

As the old saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." That's a sentiment certainly held by FC Dallas head coach Colin Clarke heading into this weekend's clash against another team that has impressed in the early going.

"We are not going to do anything different," he said. "We just have to be aware of Landon [Donovan], [Jovan] Kirovski and Cobi Jones."

The Galaxy will have the luxury that goes with playing in the HDC -- likely another sellout crowd of 27,000. The atmosphere of the HDC is certainly something the Galaxy use to their advantage. "It's a tough situation going into their house," the FCD boss said.

Jones is seemingly rejuvenated this season with two goals already -- after going almost two years without hitting the back of the net. The Galaxy's all-time leader in games played (226) and goals (61) and the all-time U.S. national team cap leader (164), Jones won the Sierra Mist Goal of the Week award for his bomb against Chivas USA last weekend, ripping home a rebound of a corner kick from just inside the penalty area.

"The team we are playing against is pretty good and we have our work cut out for us." said Greg Vanney, the general of the FC Dallas defense. "We need to get a good result and that will be the challenge in front of us."

But FC Dallas midfielder Richard Mulrooney is on a goal-scoring spree of his own, scoring a third of his career total in just the opening four matches this season, one a long-range blast from midfield and the latest a curling free kick that he bent around the wall past Real Salt Lake 'keeper D.J. Countess.

"I would love for Richard to go forward and get him in the box." said Clarke. "Richard is a very important part of what we are doing here."

Another subplot to the match is the return of Carlos Ruiz to the club where he spent his first three seasons in MLS, the club he led to their only MLS Cup victory after a number of disappointments. He made his first return to L.A. when FC Dallas played Chivas a couple of weeks ago, but this time it will be different as he faces the club that traded him for an allocation the Galaxy used to pick up U.S. national teamer Donovan from Bayer Leverkusen.

"We believe in our team and the powers that we have going forward -- the attacking players we have -- and ultimately I think if we approach every match to make other teams defend us," Vanney said. "We feel that confidently about our players and our team right now if we can get them on their heels and get them worried about our players that are attacking then that will work in our favor."

Ron Goode is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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