the club's big offseason signings all doing their part in the victory.
Richard Mulrooney -- a winter acquisition from San Jose -- gave FC Dallas a dream start when he smashed home a half-volley from outside the area after just two minutes, a Ronnie O'Brien cross from the left helped on by a flick header from another new boy, striker Carlos Ruiz.
Then just two minutes after the break, star U.S. international striker Eddie Johnson kept up his blinding form with his first league goal, diving in to head home a Carey Talley cross, neatly putting the ball off the inside of the post.
Fire defender Leonard Griffin was sent off in the 51st minute for a second bookable offense, but Kelly Gray pulled a goal back for the visitors with 17 minutes left. He headed the rebound of a saved Jesse Marsch shot into an unguarded goal, yet it wasn't enough.
"It was the first game of the year. And to be honest, we're glad it's over," Clarke said." We had so much emotion going on this week with everything that happened. We then came out and got a dream start. After that, we went a little bit flat. But, we got a win and it's the first home opener win for us in five years."
FCD head coach Colin Clarke put out an adventurous side with O'Brien and Johnson wide of Ruiz in a three-pronged strike force. David Wagenfuhr was given his MLS debut at left back.
Here's Clarke's team (4-3-3): Scott Garlick - Philip Salyer, Clarence Goodson, Greg Vanney, David Wagenfuhr - Richard Mulrooney, Simo Valakari, Carey Talley - Eddie Johnson, Carlos Ruiz (Oscar Pareja 83), Ronnie O'Brien
After the break, Clarke moved O'Brien from the left side to the right, and Johnson to the left. "What we wanted to do in the second half was just try to get more movement," Clarke said. "Ronnie and Eddie [Johnson], we didn't want them to play wide as wingers. We wanted to get them switching and making runs across the field and picking the ball up, and we didn't do that in the first half."
One of the bigger questions about the team was settled before kickoff, when Scott Garlick was tabbed as the starting goalkeeper.
David Wagenfuhr made his MLS debut at left back, playing the entire match. Wagenfuhr was with the Dallas Burn for the entirety of the '04 season, but did not play in a competitive match.
Dallas became the first team since 1998 to score with two minutes of the start of each half. It had occurred three times previously in league history, but not since a 5-3 Los Angeles Galaxy victory at Miami Fusion when Steve Jolley (2) and Cobi Jones (47) scored.
"It's going to take a little time to get together," midfielder Carey Talley said to the Star-Telegram. "I think we had glimpses of what this team can produce."
"We know we didn't play well," Clarke said to the Star-Telegram. "It wasn't one of our better ones, but everybody gave everything they had. They left it all out there on the field. They were exhausted when they were finished."
Ruiz held a small press conference earlier this week, saying he still respects the Los Angeles Galaxy and the fans of the club. "I love the people of this city and the fans of this club. That's why, if I come to Home Depot Center with Dallas and I score a goal against my former club, I won't celebrate. I'll simply walk back to the center circle."
Still, Ruiz said he is happy with the move to FC Dallas. "I'll never know the reasons behind my exit, but at this time it doesn't matter," Ruiz said. "I don't think I would be interested in knowing. In Dallas, I've found an atmosphere I never thought I'd find and that's why I don't want to touch on the subject any more."