Arena: FC Dallas are very good in every position

LA Galaxy coach wary of FCD's multiple threats in attack

CARSON,
Calif. – When scouting out their Western
Conference Championship opponent, Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena had a
problem paring
down their biggest challenges.

“Their
flank play, the combination of players they use whether it’s been
[Atiba] Harris, [Marvin] Chávez, Brek Shea, the Brazilian [Jackson
Gonçalves] …
they’ve been outstanding in those categories,” Arena said when asked
about FC Dallas. “The experience of [Daniel] Hernandez holding in the midfield …
they have a team, I’ve said this before, they’re very good in every
position on the field.”

When FCD visit the Home Depot Center on Sunday (8 pm CT, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes), the Galaxy will face a
multitude of challenges. From their potent attack – led by MVP
candidate David Ferreira and second all-time MLS goal-scorer Jeff Cunningham – to their
goalkeeper, former Galaxy star Kevin Hartman, FCD have been a
force this season.

FC
Dallas went through the regular season with just four losses and reeled
off an MLS record 19-match unbeaten streak, allowing 28 goals and putting 42 past opposing 'keepers.

“Dallas
has been a terrific team on both sides of the ball this year," Arena said. "Hartman’s
had a fabulous record, goals against. The defense has played well but
what
continues to catch everyone’s eye is their quality going forward. Ferreira you could argue has been the best player in the
league this year. He’s a terrific player. The combination of Ferreira
and whoever they choose as their forward has been
outstanding.”

But FCD provide more than just firepower and talent.

“Dallas
are incredibly athletic all around the field,” Galaxy captain Landon
Donovan said. “They’ve got the best playmaker in the league on their
team.
They’ve got guys wide in the back and wide in the midfield who are just
horses and just run and run and run.”

Added Arena, “They
have good quickness and speed and you could see that [Saturday],
especially in the first half against Salt Lake. They were
outstanding
going forward on the break.”

FC
Dallas surprised Real Salt Lake in the first leg of their Western Conference semifinal
series, beating RSL 2-1 at Pizza Hut Park. The loss was RSL’s first
since July
20, when they also lost to FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park.

At
Rio Tinto Stadium, Dallas struck early and forced Real
Salt Lake to throw numbers forward in a desperate attempt to make up the two-goal series deficit. RSL
broke
through near the end of the match, but it was not enough to overcome the visitors.

Dallas had gone into Rio Tinto Stadium on the penultimate match of the
season and lost 2-0, which snapped their MLS-record 19-game unbeaten streak.
The following
week, FC Dallas went into the Home Depot Center and came away with a 2-1
loss to the Galaxy.

“It’s
going to be a very challenging game like it was two weeks ago,” Donovan
said. “We’ve got to have the same effort, same mentality and if we do
that,
we think we can win.”

While
having played and beaten Dallas near the end of the season was no
benefit to Real Salt Lake, Galaxy players said they will use their
late-season
victory to their own advantage.

“It’s
valuable that they played that game like it meant something to them,”
Donovan said. “We know exactly what it’s about. Mentally there’s a
little bit
of advantage knowing we beat them.”

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