FC Dallas went into The Home Depot Center on Sunday night and took away the three points after a four-goal second half gave the visitors a 5-2 win against Chivas USA and sole possession of first place in the Western Conference.
Despite the result on the scoreboard, it was a hard-fought win for Dallas, coming on its second game in five days and third in nine. FC Dallas overcame the fatigue and netted a season-high goal tally -- all five goals coming from different players -- en route to picking up their fifth win on the season and second on the road against expansion Chivas USA.
Dallas and Chivas USA traded first half goals, rookie defender Aaron Pitchkolan giving the visitors the early lead and Chivas USA's Hector Cuadros equalizing from the penalty spot midway through the half. Carlos Ruiz and Ronnie O'Brien hit for goals in a four-minute span, before Chivas USA's Isaac Romo drew the home side within one. But goals from Eddie Johnson and Roberto Mina finished off the home side.
The first half of the match provided plenty of action as both sides battled physically to gain control of the match. Yet after only one minute of play, however, it looked like Dallas had sucked the life out of Chivas USA.
Chivas USA stole one back, though, in the 19th minute after Dallas defender Bobby Rhine brought down Francisco Mendoza inside the penalty area. Referee Alex Prus pointed to the penalty spot and Cuadros took the ensuing shot, sending a low ball just inside the left post past goalkeeper Scott Garlick, who dove the other way.
The goal breathed life into Chivas USA's otherwise stagnant attack and the home side did well to keep Dallas defense on its heels for the remaining half-hour of the first 45 minutes of play.
In the 30th minute matters nearly took a turn for the worse for Dallas were it not for leniency on the part of referee Prus. Dallas defender Chris Gbandi kicked Chivas USA's Mendoza from behind well after the forward passed the ball away. Mendoza crumpled to the ground after the hard challenge and Gbandi was shown yellow for his rough play.
Two minutes before the halftime break, Dallas nearly took back the lead. Johnson hit a one-time pass to a streaking Nunez who ripped a 20-yard shot past Zuniga and just wide of goal.
Just three minutes after the second half started, Ruiz put the visitors ahead. "El Pescadito" took a pass from O'Brien at the top of the box, spun to the right around defender Douglas Sequeira, and fired a shot past Zuniga for the goal.
Two minutes later, Dallas struck again. This time, O'Brien collected a pass from 35 yards out, eluded a Chivas USA defender, and blasted a 23-yard shot past Zuniga, giving the Irishman his fourth goal of the campaign.
The consecutive goals didn't faze Chivas USA, and they pulled within a goal just two minutes after O'Brien's strike. Cuadros, who converted the earlier penalty kick, was the setup man this time. The midfielder sent a well-placed cross into the heart of the penalty area to Romo, the tall forward coolly smashing a header past Garlick.
In the 69th minute, Johnson finally broke through, giving Dallas the 4-2 lead and effectively sealing the result. Pitchkolan passed to Johnson who was posted 10 yards from goal. The young striker hit a low, hard shot across his body that deflected off a sprawling Zuniga but nevertheless found the back of the net.
FC Dallas capped off the result in stoppage time as Mina found the back of the net for his first MLS goal. Zuniga came off his line to knock the ball away from Ruiz as he dribbled into the area, but Mina came in to collect just beyond the restraining arc and curl the ball over everyone into the empty net.
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 tis clubs.
FC Dallas (4-1-3) vs. CD Chivas USA (1-6-1)
May 22, 2005 -- The Home Depot Center
DAL -- Aaron Pitchkolan 1 (Ramon Nunez 2, Ronnie O'Brien 4) 1
CHV -- Hector Cuadros 3 (penalty kick) 19
DAL -- Carlos Ruiz 5 (Ronnie O'Brien 5) 48
DAL -- Ronnie O'Brien 4 (Carlos Ruiz 3) 51
CHV -- Isaac Romo 2 (Hector Cuadros 1) 53
DAL -- Eddie Johnson 5 (Aaron Pitchkolan 1) 69
DAL -- Roberto Mina 1 (unassisted) 91+
FC Dallas -- Scott Garlick, Bobby Rhine, Clarence Goodson, Greg Vanney, Chris Gbandi, Aaron Pitchkolan, Ronnie O'Brien (Arturo Alvarez 86), Ramon Nunez (Drew Moor 68), Simo Valakari, Eddie Johnson (Roberto Mina 75), Carlos Ruiz.
Substitutes Not Used: Jeff Cassar, Oscar Pareja.
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Carlos Ruiz 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 11 (Carlos Ruiz 4); FOULS: 21 (Roberto Mina 4); OFFSIDES: 4 (Eddie Johnson 2); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Greg Vanney 4); SAVES: 3 (Scott Garlick 3)
CD Chivas USA -- Martin Zuniga, Ezra Hendrickson, Francisco Gomez (Orlando Perez 58), Ryan Suarez, Armando Begines, Hector Cuadros, Ramon Ramirez, Douglas Sequeira, Isaac Romo, Thiago Martins, Francisco Mendoza.
Substitutes Not Used: Victor Arbelaez, Milton Blanco, Brad Guzan, Christian Jimenez, Aaron Lopez, Antonio Martinez, Matt Taylor, Arturo Torres.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Isaac Romo 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Hector Cuadros 2, Isaac Romo 2); FOULS: 17 (Ezra Hendrickson 4); OFFSIDES: 2 (Francisco Mendoza 1, Isaac Romo 1); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Francisco Gomez 3); SAVES: 6 (Martin Zuniga 6)
DAL -- Clarence Goodson (caution; Pushing, Holding) 15
DAL -- Chris Gbandi (caution; Reckless Foul) 31
Referee: Alex Prus
Referee's Assistants: -Robert Fereday; David Bragg
4th Official: Ramon Hernandez
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.