FC Dallas had a little payback for the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night, riding a goal from Roberto Mina to extend their lead in the Western Conference in a 1-0 victory at the Cotton Bowl.
Mina's first-half goal was all FC Dallas needed to overturn a 2-0 loss at the hands of the Galaxy earlier in the season and take over the best record in MLS, after the New England Revolution and Chicago Fire both failed to win earlier on Saturday.
Unlike a week ago in Chicago, FC Dallas maintained possession and dictated the pace of the game from the outset. Arturo Alvarez and Ronnie O'Brien were both active early, Alvarez nearly sparking a quick goal in the third minute with a nifty heel flick down the line to an overlapping Chris Gbandi, but he was unable to beat Tyrone Marshall.
Mina and Alvarez showed their individual skill and flair as they both were able to create many chances in the first half. In fact, about the only thing keeping Dallas at bay in the first half was the missed timing of runs as FCD was called offside four times alone in the half.
Mina provided the breakthrough and opened the scoring in the 31st minute of play as his hustle paid off. He caught Marshall with his back to him and stole the ball before running in one-on-one on 'keeper Kevin Hartman, then calmly putting it away in the bottom left corner.
The second half was more even possession-wise as the Galaxy tried to take advantage of a lack of experience in the FCD lineup to pull level.
In the 46th minute Todd Dunivant caught a loose ball off a corner kick to force a tough save by Scott Garlick, which set the tone for a hungrier Galaxy team in the second half.
While stellar in the first half, Alvarez was less influential in the second. On what could have been a game-sealing breakaway, the young forward did one stepover too many while facing Hartman, allowing the defense to catch him and break up the play.
Coming into the match, FC Dallas coach Colin Clarke made one dramatic change to his team, giving Drew Moor a first start of his young MLS career at left back and pushing Bobby Rhine to forward, where he had played his entire career until being moved to fullback this season.
Moor held his own in a tough battle with Cobi Jones on the Galaxy right and showed an ability to read the game well. Rhine showed that offense is his natural game as he fed several dangerous through balls into O'Brien and Alvarez.
While dangerous all night, O'Brien was just off with his final touches. His night was summed up in stoppage time as a long shot smacked the crossbar as he held his head in his hands -- but seconds later it didn't matter as FC Dallas walked off the field winners and best in MLS.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Roberto Mina (FC Dallas)
Los Angeles Galaxy (7-4-2) vs. FC Dallas (8-2-3)
June 18, 2005 -- Cotton Bowl
DAL -- Roberto Mina 2 (unassisted) 32
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Kevin Hartman, Ugo Ihemelu, Pablo Chinchilla (Ednaldo da Conceicao 46), Tyrone Marshall, Todd Dunivant, Herculez Gomez (Mubarike Chisoni 76), Cobi Jones, Michael Umana (Michael Enfield 82), Peter Vagenas, Landon Donovan, Jovan Kirovski.
Substitutes Not Used: Steve Cronin, Troy Roberts.
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Herculez Gomez 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Herculez Gomez 2); FOULS: 6 (6 tied with 1); OFFSIDES: 3 (Landon Donovan 2); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Landon Donovan 3); SAVES: 3 (Kevin Hartman 3)
FC Dallas -- Scott Garlick, Clarence Goodson, Greg Vanney, Chris Gbandi, Drew Moor, Aaron Pitchkolan, Simo Valakari, Ronnie O'Brien, Bobby Rhine (Carey Talley 88), Roberto Mina (Oscar Pareja 81), Arturo Alvarez (David Wagenfuhr 68).
Substitutes Not Used: Jeff Cassar, Steve Jolley, Ty Maurin, Philip Salyer, Abe Thompson, Alex Yi.
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Ronnie O'Brien 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Roberto Mina 2, Ronnie O'Brien 2); FOULS: 17 (Arturo Alvarez 6); OFFSIDES: 8 (3 tied with 2); CORNER KICKS: 3 (3 tied with 1); SAVES: 5 (Scott Garlick 5)
LA -- Herculez Gomez (caution; Reckless Foul) 25
DAL -- Arturo Alvarez (caution; Persistent Infringement) 30
DAL -- Aaron Pitchkolan (caution; Tackle from Behind) 32
LA -- Tyrone Marshall (caution; Reckless Foul) 40
DAL -- Greg Vanney (caution; Pushing, Holding) 60
DAL -- David Wagenfuhr (caution; Reckless Foul) 77
Referee: Gus St. Silva
Referee's Assistants: -Robert Fereday; Steven Taylor
4th Official: Adam Garner
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-89-degrees
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.