FRISCO, Texas – MLS points leaders FC Dallas made an early-season statement to the rest of the league by defeating the previously unbeaten LA Galaxy 1-0 at FC Dallas Stadium on Saturday night.
As has become the norm for FC Dallas matches, the excitement came late as defender George John scored off a rebound when Eric Hassli’s header hit the crossbar in the 87th minute. It was the 10th goal in the last 15 minutes of an FCD match this season (four scored by Dallas, six by their opponents).
With both teams cancelling each other out in the first half (neither team had a shot on target), the match took a decisive turn in the 60th minute when LA defender Leonardo was shown red for taking down Dallas forward Blas Pérez in the box. On the ensuing PK, Galaxy goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini guessed correctly and saved Kenny Cooper’s attempt from the spot.
Minutes later, the 10-men Galaxy earned a penalty of their own when John tripped up LA forward Jose Villarreal in the opposite box. LA captain Landon Donovan stepped up to take the PK only to be thwarted by goalkeeper Raúl Fernández, who dove to his left to make the stop.
Fernández's save set up John's late heroics, although his game-winning header was marred by a projectile thrown by FC Dallas supporters which struck the defender in the head and left him on the ground during the minutes immediately following his strike.
The clean sheet was the fourth of the season for FC Dallas, who continued a trend of defensive dominance, especially in the first half of matches. Dallas have now shut out their opponents in the first half of all seven matches this season.
While the home team fielded the same lineup that drew 2-2 in Toronto last weekend, the Galaxy welcomed Donovan into the starting lineup for the first time during the MLS regular season, while rookie left back Greg Cochrane, a second-round selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, made his first career start.
Both teams will a enjoy a week of home cooking as FC Dallas play the Vancouver Whitecaps next Saturday, April 20, at FC Dallas Stadium while the Galaxy take on Sporting KC at the Home Depot Center later that evening.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Andrew Jacobson (DAL)||Jacobson's defensive work rate was a big reason why LA's midfield and Landon Donovan failed to get a grip on the match.|
|2||Matt Hedges (DAL)||George John will get all the glory for scoring the game-winner, but Hedges had plenty of timely tackles and key defensive plays.|
|3||Omar Gonzalez (LA)||He lost John on the game-winner, but he was dominant for most of the match against a talented Dallas team with many attacking weapons.|