Dallas Soccer: Juninho
FC Dallas (12-4-14) vs. LA Galaxy (18-7-5)
Gametime – Sun. November 14, 2010, Home Depot Center Carson, California 6pm ET (ESPN 2)
All-time Series: LA Galaxy lead 25-18-9
2010 MLS Regular Season Meetings:
5/20 FCD 0, LA 1 (Magee 17)
10/24 LA 2, FCD 1 (Beckham 33, Juninho 46), (Harris 24)
LA Galaxy – G: 17 Buddle A: 16 Donovan
FC Dallas – G: 11 Cunningham A: 13 Ferreira
This Sunday’s MLS Western Conference final resembles NFL Western conference finals from the early 1990’s: the league’s two best teams – one from Texas, one from California – meeting to determine who will advance to the league championship. And if the Galaxy are the 49ers, then Landon Donovan is Jerry Rice, David Beckham is Steve Young and Omar Gonzales is Ken Norton, Jr. For FC Dallas, as the Cowboys, attacking midfielder and MVP candidate is none other than Emmit Smith. Whatever the outcome of this clash, most observers and fans would agree that the winner will deserve the title of league’s best team.
The latest Dallas injury report lists stalwart fullback Heath Pearce and target forward Milton Rodriguez as “OUT”, two key pieces the Hoops will surely miss.
The Galaxy look far better on the injury front. Brazilian defender Leonardo is listed as questionable with knee pain. Otherwise, Bruce Arena’s squad is completely healthy.
FC Dallas will line up in their familiar 4-1-4-1 formation with midfielder David Ferreira orchestrating the attack. Head coach Schellas Hyndman will have to start Jeff Cunningham up top and hope for a good late shift from rookie Ruben Luna.
Bruce Arena should employ his familiar 4-4-2, with Beckham and Donovan patrolling the sidelines even as they seek to cut inside and pinch the Dallas midfield. Defensive midfielder Dema Kovalenko will be charged with stopping David Ferreira.
FC Dallas – Kevin Hartman
His opposite number won Goalkeeper of the Year, but Hartman was equally deserving of the award. Hartman was sensational in the second leg of the Salt Lake series, making several big saves to get FCD safely to the next round.
LA Galaxy – Donovan Ricketts
Ricketts has been a big part of the Galaxy’s success over the past two seasons. Like Hartman, he makes spectacular saves and has excellent athleticism. More importantly, Ricketts has struck a rich vein of form lately.
Advantage: FC Dallas
FC Dallas – Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Jackson Goncalves, Jair Benitez, Heath Pearce (Injured), Zach Loyd
With Heath Pearce out, Hyndman will have to decide on a right back replacement, with Jackson and rookie Zach Loyd the obvious candidates. Jackson did well against Real Salt Lake and might be a better choice to try to contain Donovan on the wing. George John and Ugo Ihemelu are very solid in central defense. Ihemelu has come back from a bad concussion injury, leaping bravely in traffic to win headers. Left back Jair Benitez will look to continue a good run of form and keep Beckham honest defensively as he gets up and down the wing.
LA Galaxy – Omar Gonzales, A.J. DeLaGarza, Sean Franklin, Todd Dunivant, Greg Berhalter
Omar Gonzales is one of the league’s best central defender, if not the best. His partnership with DeLaGarza has really blossomed this year. Eddie Lewis played well at left back against the Sounders last week in place of an injured Todd Dunivant. At right fullback the Galaxy rely on the services of 2008 Rookie of the Year Sean Franklin, who is enjoying another fine campaign.
Advantage: LA Galaxy
FC Dallas – David Ferreira, Daniel Hernandez, Dax McCarty, Atiba Harris, Brek Shea, Eric Avila, Marvin Chavez, Eric Alexander
Obviously, David Ferreira is the main man for FC Dallas. Real Salt Lake simply weren’t able to shut him down over 180 minutes and he made them pay by being involved in all three of the Hoops’ goals. Dax McCarty is starting to peak at the right time, having been sidelined with injury for much of the middle part of the year. His goal last week was the perfect display of tenacity and focus. Brek Shea and Atiba Harris will patrol the sidelines and look to get forward to receive Ferreira’s through balls. Daniel Hernandez will be tasked with disrupting the play of the Galaxy attack. Eric Avila, Eric Alexander and Marvin Chavez are all capable substitutes who can make an impact, as Avila showed in the first leg of the RSL series.
LA Galaxy – Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Juninho, Dema Kovalenko, Chris Birchall
Donovan and Beckham essentially have free roles in midfield. Donovan in particular can drift inside or make darting runs on the counter-attack. Beckham will also look to pinch inside on occasion, allowing Sean Franklin to attack down the right sideline. Beckham frequently hits diagonal balls over the defense, something the Dallas defense will have to cleanly deal with. LA will also look to draw fouls around the penalty box and give their free-kick specialist the chance to score. Dema Kovalenko has the hardest job, trying to disrupt and slow down David Ferreira, a matchup that may well determine the winner.
Advantage: LA Galaxy
FC Dallas – Jeff Cunningham, Milton Rodriguez (Injured), Peri Marosevic, Ruben Luna
With Milton Rodriguez out for this match, the burden to score will fall on Jeff Cunningham. The league’s second all-time leading scorer is in good form at the moment and seemingly very focused. He has not spoken to the media since early in the season. Behind Cunningham, there are questions. Ruben Luna is likely to replace Cunningham sometime in the second half and Hyndman will be hoping the youngster can turn in a productive shift.
LA Galaxy – Edson Buddle, Mike Magee
Edson Buddle used a great run of form at the beginning of the 2010 season as a springboard to earn a spot of the U.S. World Cup team. Buddle finished the year with 17 goals and already has 2 post-season goals. Mike Magee is the other forward, a workman-like MLS player who can be relied on to give consistent effort
Advantage: LA Galaxy
LA Galaxy 2 – FC Dallas 1
The Galaxy are heavily favored in this match and with good reason. LA has a fully healthy squad, players who are in good form and a head coach with bags of experience. On the other side, Dallas is in unchartered waters. They have never advanced to a league championship final, and haven't reached a conference final since 1999, when they lost to the Galaxy. Schellas Hyndman, MLS Coach of the Year, has built a good team and his players appear to buy into his coaching philosophy. He has the league’s best playmaker at his disposal, and a prolific goal-scorer stalking the net.
This game should come down to answering a simple question – can the Galaxy disrupt Ferreira, thereby squelching the Dallas attack? LA might discover that it will take a team effort to do so, as Ferreira loves to move around the field and look for the ball. Ultimately, even if Ferreira finds the time and space to create attacking opportunities, the Galaxy will have enough discipline on defense, and enough firepower on offense to beat Dallas by a goal.
Both Galaxy goals were scored by untracked midfielders shooting from deep, highlighting the absence of the FCD captain in midfield. After starting Ugo Ihemelu and Daniel Hernandez last week, Coach Schellas Hyndman chose to rest both players for the final. Jackson filled in for the suspended Heath Pearce. Atiba Harris scored the loan Dallas goal.
With the loss Dallas tied the single season record of 4 losses held by the 2005 San Jose Earthquakes. The LA Galaxy win the Western Conference and the Supporters Shield. Dallas will now face Real Salt Lake in the playoffs.
FC Dallas 1, L.A. Galaxy 2
Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.
DAL – Atiba Harris 4 (Eric Alexander 3) 22
L.A. – David Beckham 2 (Landon Donovan 16) 33
L.A. – Juninho (unassisted) 46
FC Dallas – Dario Sala, Jackson (Ugo Ihemelu 75), Zach Loyd, George John, Jair Benitez, Atiba Harris, Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander (Eric Avila 60), Marvin Chavez, Jeff Cunningham (Brek Shea 67), David Ferreira
Substitutes Not Used: Kevin Hartman, Bruno Guarda, Daniel Hernandez, Milton Rodriguez
TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Dax McCarty 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Dax McCarty 2); FOULS: 14 (Jackson 4); OFFSIDES: 3 (Jeff Cunningham 2); CORNER KICKS: 4 (David Ferreira 4); SAVES: 3 (Dario Sala 3)
Los Angeles Galaxy – Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, David Beckham (Chris Klein 89), Juninho, Dema Kovalenko, Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle (Eddie Lewis 90), Mike Magee (Jovan Kirovski 84)
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Saunders, Alex Cazumba, Leonardo, Tristan Bowen
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Edson Buddle 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (5 tied with 1); FOULS: 12 (Dema Kovalenko 4); OFFSIDES: 1 (Edson Buddle 1); CORNER KICKS: 5 (David Beckham 5); SAVES: 3 (Donovan Ricketts 3)
DAL – Atiba Harris (caution; Reckless Foul) 45
L.A. – Landon Donovan (caution; Reckless Tackle) 58
Referee: Mark Geiger
Referee’s Assistants: Craig Lowry, Greg Barkey
4th Official: Baldomero Toledo
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 66 degrees
FC Dallas wraps up the 2010 regular season with a 12-4-14 mark and 50 points. The Dallas side’s four losses on the year ties the MLS mark for fewest losses in a single season.
The loss at L.A. coupled with last weekend’s loss at Real Salt Lake marks the first time all season FC Dallas has lost in back-to-back matches.
FC Dallas is the No. 3 seed in the West and will face defending MLS Champion Real Salt Lake in the first round of the 2010 MLS Playoffs, presented by Cash America. The two teams are set to meet Saturday, Oct. 30 at Pizza Hut Park with a 4 p.m. kickoff. Game two of the series will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake on Nov. 6 at 9 p.m. CT.
FC Dallas Head Coach Schellas Hyndman:
On where the team is right now in relation to where he would like them to be…
We left quite a few of our regulars off today to try to recover and really, some of our players have been doing a pretty good job. We wanted to give them a chance to play. If you look at the first half, we’ve got a ways to go. We settled down a little bit in the second half even though we gave away a quick goal. To put a number on it, I think we’re about 80 percent where we feel like where we need to be. We were hitting about 90-95 percent before we picked up all the injuries. So, we stepped back a little bit, but I think it’s going to be different once the playoffs start.
On what he’s most pleased with to this point with his team…
David Ferreira has been outstanding for us. When you look at the players like Brek Shea who’s a young 20-year-old and Jackson… They really came along… I think our defense has done extremely well, and Kevin Hartman has been tremendous. There’s no doubt about it, we miss not only his good play, but his leadership qualities and his organization. We set a goal for ourselves to get into the MLS playoffs. We reached that goal and if you look at the points that are out there today, we would have won the Supporters’ Shield last year with the points we have. It’s a compliment to all those other teams who are doing so well.
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