Match Preview: LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas

FCD looks to break winless streak against struggling LA

LA GALAXY vs FC DALLAS
STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
May 21, 2014 (WEEK 12, MLS Game #104)
9:30 p.m. CT (TWCSN-LA/TWCD; TWCSN-TX)

A pair of Western Conference clubs who have cooled off in recent weeks and are in need of a win meet when the LA Galaxy face FC Dallas at StubHub Center on Wednesday evening. The Galaxy have gone four games in a row without a win, ending their road swing with a 1-0 loss at the Houston Dynamo last weekend. FC Dallas are now on a five-game winless streak, snapping a long losing run with a 1-1 home draw with Chivas USA on Saturday in Frisco.

REFEREE: Allen Chapman. AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Fabio Tovar; 4th: Daniel Radford
MLS Career: 37 games; FC/gm: 22.0; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 9; pens: 10

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DAL: Fabian Castillo, Michel
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: LA: Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez (USA)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (60 meetings): Galaxy 29 wins (1 shootout), 107 goals… FC Dallas 20 wins (1 shootout), 80 goals… Ties 11
AT LA (30 meetings): Galaxy 21 wins (1 shootout), 62 goals … FC Dallas 5 wins (1 shootout), 29 goals … Ties 4
RETURN MATCHES: 9/20: LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas, 7:30 p.m. PT; 10/12: FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy, 6 p.m. CT

LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/13: DAL 1, LA 0 (John 87)
7/7: LA 2, DAL 0 (Sarvas 65; Jimenez 80)
8/11: DAL 3, LA 3 (Donovan 46+; 73; 82 – Hedges 15; Perez 48, 86)
• The teams evenly split their three games a season ago, each winning once with one draw. The FCD victory in the first meeting snapped a four-game losing streak against the Galaxy, their first win in the series since May 1, 2011.
• The Galaxy are undefeated in Carson over the last five 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: Oscar Pareja vs. LA: P6 W2 L3 T1 … Bruce Arena vs. DAL: P23 W12 L8 T4

LA GALAXY

The LA Galaxy saw their winless run stretched to four games, falling by the game’s only goal to the Houston Dynamo on Saturday evening  at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Galaxy sit in a ninth place in the Western Conference with 9 points from 8 games.

LAST MATCH

• The game's lone goal came through some good fortune in the 61st minute. LA goalkeeper Jaime Penedo misplayed a throw-in from the right touchline and rookie Mark Sherrod was quick to take possession in the left side of the box, before finding Giles Barnes who hit a skillful shot with the inside of his right foot inside the far post.

• Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall was called upon to make five saves and was beaten in the first half by a shot from A.J. DeLaGarza, but it was cleared off the goal line by Houston defender David Horst.

• Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made two changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. Tommy Meyer came into the back four for Leonardo, and Samuel started in place of - Landon Donovan.

• LA GALAXY (4-3-1-2): Jaime Penedo - Dan Gargan, Tommy Meyer, Kofi Opare, A.J. DeLaGarza - Stefan Ishizaki, Juninho, Baggio Husidic (Robbie Rogers 70) - Robbie Keane - Rob Friend (Gyasi Zardes 58), Samuel (Raul Mendiola 66).

TEAM NEWS

• The Galaxy suffered their second loss to go with two draws over the last four matches, all away from StubHub Center. They have been shut out at the attacking end in two of the last three games.

• “We just didn’t finish; it’s hard to believe they even got a goal,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “They weren’t going to get a goal and we gave them a chance and to their credit they finished it. We’re very disappointed to walk out of here without at least a point on a night where maybe we’re not great, but the other team is not dangerous and we have got to find a way to get a goal.”

• In the first game without Landon Donovan, away with the U.S. national team in preparation for the FIFA World Cup, Robbie Keane dropped back into an attacking midfield role with Rob Friend and Samuel lined out as the strike pair.

• “We have to do better,” Keane said. “Most of our goals [conceded] -- nearly all of them -- have been from mistakes, so we give people opportunities like that in a game, they're going to take it. ... It's no one's fault. Whatever happened happened, and we have to stop doing it fairly quickly, because it's happened too many times.”

• Tommy Meyer made his first start of the season in central defense with Omar Gonzalez also away with the U.S. national team. Meyer had made one previous league appearance, a 5-minute role off the substitutes’ bench on April 6.

• “It took a little bit of time to get used to each other; I have played with him in reserve games and practices so I'm pretty familiar with him,” said fellow center back Kofi Opare. “Like you said as the game went on we started to feel each other a little bit more and get comfortable with the way he plays and for him to get comfortable with the way I plays.”

• Raul Mendiola made his MLS debut, coming into the attack in place of Samuel for the final 24 minutes.

• “He did fine. He’s still a young kid but he played with a lot of confidence and courage so hopefully he can build on that,” said Arena.

FC DALLAS

FC Dallas stopped their losing slide but still had their winless run stretched to five games, coming back for a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA on Saturday evening at Toyota Stadium. FC Dallas sit in third place in the Western Conference with 17 points from 12 games.

LAST MATCH

• Chivas USA took the lead in the 60th minute. Martin Rivero switched the ball to Mauro Rosales on the right flank, and he sent a sharp cross to midfielder Marco Delgado, who finished it past FCD goalkeeper Raul Fernandez for his first career goal, a day after his 19th birthday.

• But FC Dallas pulled even in the 83rd minute. Fabian Castillo slipped between defenders to get into the goal area and got onto the end of a cross from Jair Benitez, redirecting it past Dan Kennedy for the equalizer.

• FCD head coach Oscar Pareja made four changes to the team that fell 2-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Stephen Keel came into the back four for Walker Zimmerman, and Adam Moffat, Je-Vaughn Watson and Jair Benitez all started in midfield in place of Hendry Thomas, Tesho Akindele and Danny Garcia.

• FC DALLAS (4-2-3-1): Raul Fernandez - Zach Loyd, Stephen Keel, Matt Hedges, Michel (David Texeira 69) - Adam Moffat (Andres Escobar 64), Victor Ulloa - Je-Vaughn Watson, Fabian Castillo, Jair Benitez - Blas Perez (Tesho Akindele 85).

TEAM NEWS

• FC Dallas stopped their losing slide after four games, but still weren’t able to claim a first victory since April 19, when they defeated Toronto FC.

• “Obviously on a night where we were expecting to get three points, tonight was a disappointment for the team. We were hoping to get out of the struggle we’ve had during the last week and a half,” said FCD head coach Oscar Pareja. “The game became complicated after Chivas scored in the second half.  During the first half we managed the game. We had some options, even if it was without the penetration that I would have liked to see from this team.”

• Fabian Castillo scored his third goal of the season, his first since March 22, in playing an underneath striker role. Castillo almost had to come off injured late in the match – but stayed on to score the match-winner.

• “It shows a lot of character,” said FC Dallas midfielder Victor Ulloa. “Obviously, he’s had that injury this whole week. Just for him to push and get back on the field, it was amazing. It shows how much we want it and how much we believe.”

• Said Pareja: “Fabian is a young man still who is getting mature and gaining experience. Today when he was off the field, he was brave enough to be back because he knew that his team needed him and I thought that the game gave him the chance. That just shows the commitment that he has and I will always support the guys in these kind of actions.”

• After coming off the substitutes’ bench for the previous two matches, Jair Benitez returned to the starting lineup – but in a wide left midfield role. His first nine starts this season had all come at fullback.

• “We need some feet in the middle and we found those feet with Jair. He’s not going to be very consistent, for sure, because it’s not his natural position, but we wanted to have someone who could penetrate some balls in,” said Pareja. “We wanted to stretch this team. We knew that they were going to sit back and having Fabian up top with Blas [Perez] and give him some pressure and some solutions for us.”

• Adam Moffat started his second game out of the last three, after six games without featuring in the first XI.

• Je-Vaughn Watson also returned to the team a two-match ban, moving into a wide midfield role after featuring primarily as a deep-lying central midfielder in starting the first nine games of the season.

• “The game plan was a little bit different. Fabian [Castillo] was playing as more of a striker. We came out like that based on the video that we watched this week,” said midfielder Victor Ulloa. “We tried something different but I think overall the team was the same. We had the same discipline. We had the same concepts.”