Sunday, November 14, 2010
MLS PLAYOFFS: Dallas dashes Galaxy dream
A look at Sunday's Western Conference final:
IN BRIEF: Kevin Hartman makes four massive first-half saves and FC Dallas pulls away in the second half to an emphatic 3-0 triumph in an at-times ugly encounter at Home Depot Center. … The Hoops advance to their first MLS Cup final and end the Galaxy's season. … David Ferreira scored a fine goal in the 26th minute, George John finished Brek Shea's low cross in the 54th, and Marvin Chavez slipped through L.A.'s defense to knock home a nifty through ball from Ferreira in the 73rd for FC Dallas. … The Hoops withstood an early L.A. onslaught, used superior speed to cut chasms through L.A.'s midfield and outplayed the Galaxy at its game: keeping things tight in midfield and at the back, winning the second balls and countering with flair and purpose.
BEST PLAYER: A lot of choices, all from Dallas, naturally. Ferreira didn't see as much of the ball as he might have liked, but when he did, he was deadly, scoring a superb first goal and setting up Chavez's death blow. Shea was dominant on the left flank, and his ball behind three Galaxy defenders for John to finish at the back post was magnificent. John and Ugo Ihemelu, who nicely fed Shea ahead of the second goal, were outstanding at the back, keeping Galaxy striker Edson Buddle under wraps all game ... literally. But L.A. would have been en route to Toronto had Hartman -- our pick -- not made diving stops on Mike Magee in the eighth minute, Juninho in the 21st and Landon Donovan in the 31st and a leaping denial of David Beckham's bouncing free kick in the 23rd.
BEST GOAL: Ferreira's opener, against the run of play, was really fine. Three quick passes -- a clearance from the back, then Atiba Harris to Marvin Chavez, and a feed to the top of the box -- find Ferreira, who with a quick move to the right leaves Omar Gonzalez flat-footed, then fires low inside the left post as L.A. goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts watches helplessly.
BIGGEST STOP: Hartman had five worthy saves: the four above and another leaping stop of a Beckham free kick in second-half stoppage. The best? I hear support for his dive to push Donovan's low blast past the right post in the 31st. But I'm going with his leaning-the-wrong-way stab in a one-on-one situation 10 minutes earlier against Juninho, who had taken advantage of a Chavez error to race past two Dallas defenders into the Hoops box and should have given L.A. the lead.
WORTH NOTING: This was the Galaxy's fifth three-goal playoff loss. They fell, 3-0, to Dallas in 1997, 4-1 to the MetroStars in 2001, 4-1 to Kansas City in 2002 and 5-2 to San Jose in 2003. … L.A. hadn't lost a home playoff game in the run of play since falling to Chicago in the 1998 Western Conference final. They were 6-0-0 in home playoff games at Home Depot Center -- 6-0-1 at HDC including last year's 2-2 draw in Chivas USA's home leg in the first round. … Eddie Lewis finished his career, starting at left back and exiting in the 83rd minute. Chris Klein, who also is retiring, was not on L.A.'s 18-man game roster.
at Home Depot Center
L.A. Galaxy 0, FC Dallas 3 (Ferreira 26, John 54, Chavez 73)
Nov. 21: FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids at Toronto, 5:30 p.m. PT, ESPN and TeleFutura (KFTR/Channel 46)