One strike from Ronnie O'Brien's right foot ended a long scoring drought for FC Dallas but it took Carlos Ruiz converting from the penalty spot in the 85th minute to give the visitors the 3-1 victory against Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center on Saturday night.
The spot kick from Ruiz came after he was brought down in the area by Chivas USA defender Ryan Suarez. Suarez however got the worst on the play. As he fell over Ruiz, the Chivas USA defender crashed into goalkeeper Brad Guzan's left knee and remained motionless on the field for more than five minutes before being carried off on a stretcher.
There was no love lost between the two clubs in their first-ever meeting, with several yellow cards handed out and more than two dozen fouls called in the match. Ruiz, making his first appearance at The Home Depot Center after being traded by the Los Angeles Galaxy before the start of the season, was jeered each time he touched the ball and booed as he was substituted in the 90th minute.
The much-hyped striking duo of Ruiz and Eddie Johnson had trouble getting on the same page in the early going. Four minutes after the opening whistle, Ruiz seemed to create a golden scoring opportunity after a clever flick-on deep into the left side of the Chivas USA area. Had Johnson run into the open space, he would have had only Guzan to beat but instead the U.S. international cut inside away from the play.
The duo's individual efforts gave flashes of offensive spark and creativity, but neither was able to crack the Chivas USA defense on their own in the first half.
Chivas USA nearly went ahead in the 12th minute but a diving Scott Garlick save on a 20-yard Thiago Martins shot preserved the early shutout.
In the 18th minute, Ruiz showed his knack for creativity, skillfully backheeling an aerial pass through his legs to O'Brien whose shot towards the right post was stopped by a diving Guzan.
Guzan would have no such luck in the 40th minute when O'Brien put FC Dallas ahead with a goal for the highlight reels. The Irishman controlled the ball from 35 yards out and when it looked like he would send a cross into the box for Ruiz or Johnson, he instead ripped a shot that curled into the upper-left top corner past an unsuspecting Guzan. The goal was O'Brien's first on the year.
FC Dallas' backline looked shaky at times in the first half. Martins proved to be a handful for the defense, several times charging at Clarence Goodson and Greg Vanney, forcing Garlick to make a close-range save on one occasion.
Martins finally broke through the defense in the 44th minute, heading in a Ramon Ramirez cross five yards from goal to even the score heading into halftime.
FC Dallas captain Simo Valakari started in midfield after sitting out last week's 0-0 tie with the Colorado Rapids because of a sore right shoulder. The Finnish international wasn't able to create many opportunities for his attackers, caused mainly because of the relatively few touches he had.
FC Dallas wasn't able to create any quality scoring chances coming out of the halftime break. It wasn't until a 20-yard shot from Ruiz hit the outside of the right net that FC Dallas challenged Guzan.
Then inside of the final 10 minutes, Ruiz went running into the box to get onto the end of a pass, battling Suarez every step of the way. Just inside the area he went down and Suarez went over him, referee Ricardo Valenzuela making no hesitation in pointing to the spot while the Chivas USA defender lay motionless on the ground and the Guatemalan international bouncing up to claim the ball to take the penalty.
Ruiz hesitated before sending Guzan the wrong way, sliding the ball into the right-hand post.
Johnson made it 3-1 five minutes deep in stoppage time, flicking the ball over an oncoming Guzan from the edge of the penalty area after O'Brien crossed the ball from the right flank with FC Dallas on a nearly uncontested counter.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Ronnie O'Brien (FC Dallas)
Danny Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
FC Dallas (2-0-1) vs. CD Chivas USA (0-2-1)
April 16, 2005 -- The Home Depot Center
DAL -- Ronnie O'Brien 1 (unassisted) 40
CHV -- Thiago Martins 2 (Ramon Ramirez 1) 44
DAL -- Carlos Ruiz 1 (penalty kick) 85
DAL -- Eddie Johnson 2 (Ronnie O'Brien 2) 94+
FC Dallas -- Scott Garlick, Clarence Goodson, Greg Vanney, David Wagenfuhr, Richard Mulrooney, Carey Talley, Ronnie O'Brien, Simo Valakari, Eddie Johnson, Bobby Rhine, Carlos Ruiz (Oscar Pareja 89).
Substitutes Not Used: Jeff Cassar, Drew Moor, Ramon Nunez, Abe Thompson.
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Eddie Johnson 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Eddie Johnson 3); FOULS: 11 (Simo Valakari 4); OFFSIDES: 1 (Carlos Ruiz 1); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Richard Mulrooney 6); SAVES: 1 (Scott Garlick 1)
CD Chivas USA -- Brad Guzan, Ezra Hendrickson, Douglas Sequeira, Ryan Suarez (Isaac Romo 84), Orlando Perez, Jesus Ochoa (Francisco Mendoza 55), Hector Cuadros, Ramon Ramirez, Arturo Torres, Thiago Martins, Matt Taylor (Antonio Martinez 71).
Substitutes Not Used: Victor Arbelaez, Javier Barragan, Milton Blanco, Alfonso Loera, Aaron Lopez, Mike Munoz.
TOTAL SHOTS: 5 (Hector Cuadros 2, Thiago Martins 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Thiago Martins 2); FOULS: 15 (Thiago Martins 6); OFFSIDES: 2 (Douglas Sequeira 2); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Ramon Ramirez 7); SAVES: 3 (Brad Guzan 3)
CHV -- Jesus Ochoa (caution; Tackle from Behind) 5
DAL -- Ronnie O'Brien (caution; Pushing, Holding) 66
CHV -- Ryan Suarez (caution; Pushing, Holding) 78
CHV -- Ezra Hendrickson (caution; Reckless Foul) 90
Referee: Ricardo Valenzuela
Referee's Assistants: -Steven Davidson; Fabio Tovar
4th Official: Baldomero Toledo
Time of Game: 1:53
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.