The Los Angeles Galaxy saw their road misery continue as the FC Dallas rode the game's only goal to victory in the battle for the top spot in the Western Conference on Saturday night at the Cotton Bowl.
Roberto Mina scored the lone goal of the match as FC Dallas opened up a four-point lead atop the West and gained revenge for an earlier loss this season to the Galaxy, in front of the largest crowd of the season to see FCD at home.
It was a second consecutive loss to open a four-game road swing for the Galaxy, who are still winless away from The Home Depot Center, their only "road" win also coming in Carson, Calif., against Chivas USA.
From the outset, FC Dallas controlled the match, and nearly had a clear opportunity pay off after 22 minutes when Ronnie O'Brien chipped the ball over the Galaxy back line, but they stepped forward to perfection to win an offside decision.
The Galaxy threatened in the 28th minute when they put together a fine passing movement, Cobi Jones eventually finding Landon Donovan, who carried into the area before trying to float a ball into the area, but FCD goalkeeper Scott Garlick read the play and positioned himself perfectly and snatched the ball out of the air.
Making just his third start of the campaign, Mina changed the game in the 32nd minute when he stole the ball from Galaxy defender Tyrone Marshall on the left flank. He raced in one-on-one on Kevin Hartman and shot to the 'keeper's left, whose dive came short as the ball flashed past him into the back of the net. It was the second goal for the Ecuadorian winger in MLS.
The Galaxy nearly pulled level on a couple of occasions before the half was out. Jovan Kirovski dribbled into the area and found Peter Vagenas running on, but once again Garlick was positioned nicely and dove to his left to make the save.
Then in the 42nd minute a cross from the right side of the penalty area and found Herculez Gomez, but the Dallas 'keeper continued his excellent performance of the half and smothered the opportunity.
Coming out of the halftime break the Galaxy did their best to take the game to the home side. Then won a corner in the opening minute of the half and Donovan dropped a nice service into the heart of the area, but Garlick again had it covered.
But Hartman was equal to the task at the other end, keeping his team close. In the 51st minute, after Arturo Alvarez was sent clean through, Hartman came out cat-like and forced the U.S. youth international to take a couple touches too many, the threat eventually evaporating with an offside decision.
In the 57th minute Hartman's experienced proved key as O'Brien came in one-on-one, but the Galaxy 'keeper shut him down to keep the Green-and-Gold in the game.
The Galaxy continued to press, winning a couple of free kicks in dangerous situations around the FCD area. But both clattered in the wall, the opportunities wasted.
In the final minutes FC Dallas had the better of the chances. Hartman again came up big in the 80th minute when he punched away a Greg Vanney shot, then he was beaten by O'Brien in second-half stoppage game - only for the shot to come back off the crossbar.
But the Galaxy couldn't overcome the Mina goal and continued their poor run of form on the road. They now head to Real Salt Lake -- where they lost 2-1 earlier this season -- while FC Dallas have a rare two consecutive games at home, staying at the Cotton Bowl to face Chivas USA on Wednesday.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Roberto Mina (FC Dallas)
Ron Goode is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
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.