Match Preview: FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy

League-leading FCD host defending champion Galaxy Saturday

FC DALLAS vs LA GALAXY
FC DALLAS STADIUM, Frisco, Texas
April 13, 2013 (WEEK 7, MLS Game #57)
6:30 p.m. CT (NBC Sports Network)

A key early-season matchup in the Western Conference is ahead on Saturday evening in Frisco when FC Dallas play host to the defending champion LA Galaxy before an NBC Sports Network audience. FCD leads the West and all of Major League Soccer with 13 points, following their 2-2 draw at Toronto FC last weekend. The Galaxy are still undefeated with two games in hand on FC Dallas, also coming off a 2-2 draw at Toronto in their last league match.

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REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. SAR (bench): Fabio Tovar; JAR (opposite): Chris Strickland; 4th: Armando Villarreal
MLS Career: 149 games; FC/gm: 25.1; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 48; pens: 55

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: none 
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: LA: Marcelo Sarvas
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD:
ALL-TIME (57 meetings): FC Dallas 19 wins (1 shootout), 76 goals ... Galaxy 28 wins (1 shootout), 102 goals ... Ties 10
AT DALLAS (28 meetings): FC Dallas 14 wins (0 shootout), 47 goals ... Galaxy 8 wins (0 shootout), 42 goals ... Ties 6

RETURN MATCHES: 7/7 -- LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas, 7:30 p.m. PT ... 8/11 -- FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

LAST YEAR (MLS)
4/28: LA 1, DAL 1 (Noonan 92+ -- Shea 61)
7/28: DAL 0, LA 1 (Magee 62)
8/26: LA 0, DAL 2 (Juninho 66; Dunivant 84)

  • The Galaxy have a four-game undefeated streak alive vs. FC Dallas, including back-to-back shutout wins in their final two meetings last year. FCD last defeated LA on May 1, 2001.
  • The Galaxy are undefeated at The Home Depot Center over the last four meetings vs. FC Dallas in league play, dating back to the start of the 2010 season, going 3-0-1 in that time. But FC Dallas claimed the Western Conference Championship in Carson in 2010, a 3-0 victory.
  • Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. DAL: P21 W11 L7 D3 ... Schellas Hyndman vs. LA: P11 W3 L5 D3

FC DALLAS
FC Dallas saw their winning streak come to end, pegging back to a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. FCD sit atop the Western Conference with 13 points from 6 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • FC Dallas took a first-half lead when Andrew Jacobson hammered home in the 34th minute after a headed flick from Kenny Cooper off Michel's corner kick found the midfielder unmarked in the box.
  • FCD struck again in the 59th minute. After a turnover in midfield, FCD's Jackson sent a long ball over the top to Blas Pérez, who beat TFC defender Darel Russell and made no mistake in stroking home his second goal of the season.
  • Toronto pulled a goal back in the 85th minute after Matt Hedges’ ill-timed headed attempt to clear bounced past 'keeper Raúl Fernández and enabled late substitute Justin Braun to score on a header from almost under the crossbar.
  • The home side then completed a truly miraculous comeback in the 90th minute when Russell redeemed himself with a single shot. Receiving a crossfield ball from Braun, the TFC fullback blasted the ball from 21 yards out past Fernández for the equalizer.
  • FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made one change to the team that got a late goal for a 1-0 win against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Blas Perez came back into the side in place of Fabian Castillo.
  • FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Raul Fernandez - Zach Loyd, George John (London Woodberry 46), Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez (Bobby Warshaw 86) - Andrew Jacobson, Michel - Kenny Cooper (Fabian Castillo 72), David Ferreira, Jackson - Blas Perez.

READ: Hyndman hopeful for George John's return

TEAM NEWS 

Highlights: Toronto FC 2, FC Dallas 2

  • FC Dallas have allowed six goals in the final 15 minutes of matches this season – by far the most in MLS. A year ago, FCD conceded 14 goals after the 76th minute, more than just three teams (Montréal, Chivas, Toronto).
  • In 2012, FC Dallas also drew or lost 11 games of the 17 when they scored first (6-3-8), the most times any team failed to hold the lead and the potential points dropped the most of any team in the league.
  • “That is something we need to address,” said midfielder Andrew Jacobson. “We put in a fantastic 85 minutes and we need to learn how to deal with it, because there will be more games where we will be up and those will be the kind of games we need to see out.”
  • Said defender Zach Loyd: “Going forward with leads, we need to not take our foot off the pedal and keep possession. All the pressure we tried to absorb in the final 30 minutes was just too much to handle.”
  • FCD were forced into a change in central defense early in the second half when George John had to come off with a suspected concussion, replaced by Homegrown Player London Woodberry.
  • After coming off the bench and scoring a goal in the win at New England, Blas Perez started and played the full 90 minutes vs. Toronto FC, netting for the second time in as many games.
  • “Right now, Blas is our leading scorer from last year, he’s in great form, he’s playing with Panama at the international level,” Hyndman said, “so I don’t think it does a lot for him to be coming off the bench.”
  • Fabian Castillo returned to the substitutes’ bench after starting back-to-back matches, while Kenny Cooper again lined up in a wide midfield role with Perez as the spearhead in attack.
  • “The issue we’re running into is the midfield,” said Hyndman. “The defense is fine, the goalkeeping is fine, but once you go with two forwards, it affects the midfield. Jackson is an attacking player. Fabián [Castillo] is an attacking player. So you’re going to have to take somebody off -– either Michel or Andrew Jacobson, because you’re going to keep David Ferreira on -– so you’ll only have one ball winner in the middle and we know in this league, that’s not enough.”
  • While they were pegged back for a draw, FCD did extend their undefeated streak to four games, and have still taken maximum points at home, heading into back-to-back home games vs. the LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
  • “We came out with four points, [so] it was a great road trip,” Loyd said. “It was frustrating not to get the six points, but we are very happy coming away with the four points. We get two home games where we hope to win both of them and stay at the top of the table.”

LA GALAXY
The LA Galaxy return to league action following a weekend off, extending their season-opening undefeated streak last time out with a 2-2 draw against Toronto FC at BMO Field on March 30. The Galaxy are in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with 8 points from 4 matches.

LISTEN: Galaxy All-Access Podcast with Jack McBean

LAST MATCH

Highlights: Toronto FC 1, LA Galaxy 1

  • The Galaxy opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Marcelo Sarvas received the ball in the right corner of the penalty area and sent a low, skimming ball toward the back post where Mike Magee slipped behind the defense to deflect it home from close range.
  • TFC pulled even in the 29th minute as Robert Earnshaw scored yet another goal, latching onto a poor back pass from Galaxy defender Leonardo before lashing home a strike from outside the area.
  • The home side pulled ahead in the 78th minute. Luis Silva skirted Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez on the left flank and beat him to the end line before skipping a cross into the box that Jonathan Osorio touched home for his first MLS goal.
  • But the Galaxy found an equalizer in stoppage time. TFC fullback Darel Russell headed an LA cross back in front of the Toronto goal and Jose Villarreal flung himself sideways to hook a full scissors kick into the goal.
  • Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made two changes to the team that defeated the Colorado Rapids 1-0 at The Home Depot Center. Omar Gonzalez and Michael Stephens returned to the team, in place of Colin Clark and Jose Villarreal.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Carlo Cudicini - A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo (Colin Clark 85), Todd Dunivant - Sean Franklin, Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Michael Stephens (Jose Villarreal 70) - Mike Magee, Jack McBean (Landon Donovan 61).

TEAM NEWS

WATCH: Landon Donovan from Monterrey

WATCH: Gonzalez after CCL elimination

  • The Galaxy were able to keep their undefeated start to the season alive with the late draw at Toronto FC, the only team remaining in MLS still without a loss.
  • Jose Villarreal scored his first goal of the season and the second of his career, coming off the substitutes’ bench after back-to-back starts, the first two of his MLS career.
  • “He’s good in the penalty area as demonstrated by his goal. He’s a good young player; we need a little more consistency out of him,” said Arena. “I thought Jack McBean played very well today. So that’s encouraging seeing our young players playing well.”
  • Landon Donovan made his 2013 debut after missing the start of the season for personal reasons, coming on for the final half-hour.
  • “Fitness-wise I felt great. Obviously I have a ways to go soccer-wise. But you’ve got to get minutes to get better and so it was good to get some time today and obviously in the end it worked out. It was a good result,” said Donovan. Said Villarreal: “It’s good to have him mentally and to have him physically on the field too. It’s great, he’s probably one of the greatest players in US history so having him on the field with us is awesome. I’m just happy he’s back.
  • Mike Magee scored his fifth goal of the season, his second in as many matches, and still leads the MLS Golden Boot standings following the Galaxy’s week off from league competition
  • After suffering an injury while on international duty, Robbie Keane was held out of the side for the trip to Toronto.
  • “You have to be careful with anything that is kind of strained, the doctors said a couple of weeks and it’s been 10 days so I’ve been back,” said Keane. “I was expecting a bit worse to be honest with you. Full credit to the physios here and the doctors in Ireland, they did everything to get me back as quick as possible and that’s the case.”
  • On Wednesday, the Galaxy saw their CONCACAF Champions League campaign come to an end with a 1-0 loss to CF Monterrey in Mexico, losing the semifinal series 3-1 on aggregate.
  • “There are a lot of positives [we can take],” Arena said. “Our team played pretty well in this competition and this series and we learned that maybe 10 minutes [in the first leg] might have sealed our fate.” Said Robbie Keane: “We had a go, but maybe half chances. We didn’t have too much, but sometimes you have to give the opposition credit. They were a good team, they probably deserved to go through.”
  • Here’s the Galaxy team: Carlo Cudicini; A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo (Jack McBean 80’), Todd Dunivant (Mike Magee 59’); Sean Franklin, Juninho, Marcelo Sarvas, Michael Stephens (Jose Villarreal 69’); Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane.
  • In the first leg at The Home Depot Center, Omar Gonzalez scored but Monterrey still came away with a 2-1 victory.
  • Here’s the Galaxy team: Carlo Cudicini; A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant; Sean Franklin, Juninho (Michael Stephens 61’), Marcelo Sarvas, Mike Magee; Jose Villarreal (Landon Donovan 63’), Robbie Keane.