FC Dallas had two things on their collective minds before Saturday night's match with the Los Angeles Galaxy at Pizza Hut Park. One was putting together a solid, consistent effort for a full 90 minutes, and the second was ending a two-game losing streak.
While the first part might have been in question, the Hoops still got goals from Juan Toja in the 25th minute, Abe Thompson (from the penalty spot) in the 53rd, and Drew Moor on a header in the 73rd to come away with a 3-1 win. Rookie striker Robbie Findley scored the Galaxy's lone goal in the 41st minute.
With captain Carlos Ruiz playing for Guatemala at the CONCACAF Gold Cup and leading scorer Kenny Cooper not in top form, FCD head coach Steve Morrow went with a different lineup. Up top, he went with a three-forward set of Arturo Alvarez, Oduro and Thompson, the second time this season the Hoops have played with three forwards.
The midfield also took on a different look with Ricchetti, Marcelo Saragosa and Toja. Normal starters Dax McCarty and Ramon Nunez took a seat as Morrow elected to go with three midfielders instead of his normal four.
Saragosa got his first start since April 12, when he injured his right MCL and had to leave the field in a 2-1 win against L.A. at the Home Depot Center. The former Galaxy midfielder missed four weeks before returning to action.
Oduro logged the opening shot of the match with his effort from the right of the goal in the sixth minute, but Galaxy goalkeeper Joe Cannon was there for the easy save. Oduro had another look in the 28th as he worked his way free in the middle of the field but saw his effort sail high over the L.A. goal.
Toja opened the scoring with his third of the year came after Thompson sent a great ball in toward the Galaxy net after streaking up the right side. Toja, who was streaking toward the near post, saw the ball carom off L.A. midfielder Peter Vagenas and punched the ball into the far side of the net as he was going over the endline to make it 1-0 in favor of the home side.
L.A. netted the equalizer in the 41st. Veteran midfielder Cobi Jones, who was wearing the captain's armband for the Galaxy, got a shot to the left of the FCD goal. It slipped under Sala, but Hoops left back Chris Gbandi scrambled back to clear it off the line. But the rebound fell to the feet of Findley, who knocked it home for his second goal in as many games against FCD.
FCD raced right back up the field and nearly re-took the lead when Gbandi created a great chance for himself, only to see Cannon well-positioned for a diving save at the near post.
Just after the break, Oduro again caused danger, splitting two Galaxy defenders in the 46th minute to get a nice look at goal only for his effort to sail high over the net.
The Galaxy also nearly scored just after the break with Kyle Martino finding Nate Jaqua inside the FCD penalty area in the 51st minute. He was able to get his head on the ball but Hoops goalkeeper Dario Sala was there to knock it over the crossbar, keeping Jaqua without a goal since joining the Galaxy.
Thompson's penalty kick in the 54th minute was his second goal of the season. It was set up after L.A. defender Ty Harden tackled Oduro inside the area and referee Jair Marrufo pointed to the spot. Thompson stepped up and put it past Cannon for his second goal of the season.
Jaqua got another chance at netting his first goal with Los Angeles in the 61st but shot it high. A Quaranta effort two minutes later was right at Sala and the Hoops 'keeper was there for the easy stop.
In the 70th, L.A. had another pair of chances at leveling the match. The first came on a free kick by Kyle Veris but that effort was deflected. Then, literally a matter of seconds later, Nathan Sturgis got a look of his own at the FCD goal, but his blast went wide right.
The Galaxy continued to create opportunities. In the 71st, Jaqua got yet another look at the FCD goal but his blast floated to the left of the net. Findley's shot in the 74th was deflected by a defender.
Despite all the pressure, the Hoops scored the vital third goal. McCarty, who had entered in the 64th minute, sent in a beautiful, bending free kick which took a deflection off Martino and Moor hammered a diving header into the Galaxy net.
FCD suffered a blow in the 89th when Cooper, who entered the match as a second-half substitute was tackled hard by L.A. defender Tyrone Marshall. The Galaxy center back was subsequently shown the red card by Marrufo, to the delight of the partisan crowd in attendance. Cooper left the field for the final few minutes of the match; according to FC Dallas, he suffered a broken right tibia.
With Saturday's victory, FCD has now won six consecutive home matches against the Galaxy. The Hoops have also failed to keep a clean sheet in 19 consecutive matches.
The Hoops will next face Real Salt Lake on Thursday on MLS Primetime Thursday on ESPN2. L.A. will also next face RSL, next Sunday at The Home Depot Center.
Steve Hunt is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.