Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Los Angeles Soccer [Print without images]

Sunday, May 1, 2011
GALAXY: No Ferreira? No fire

By Scott French

The Galaxy faces FC Dallas for the first time since their MLS Cup dream was demolished last November, and they're not talking revenge.


Last year has nothing to do with this year, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena will testify, and the 3-0 defeat in the Western Conference title game will play no part in what occurs Sunday in Frisco, Texas.

Of greater import is who's missing from this rematch and the impact that will have on the game and, more so, on the path FC Dallas takes the next few months. Reigning Major League Soccer MVP David Ferreira, through whom the Hoops' attack flows, suffered a fractured ankle in a victory last weekend at Vancouver and could miss as much as three months.

Ferreira, a playmaker from Colombia, is architect of nearly everything Dallas does going forward -- he has three goals and an assist in five games this year, 21 and 24 in two seasons-plus -- and his absence will require the club to change things substantially.

It's doubtful they'll be better -- teams don't improve by losing their best players -- but there's mystery about how they'll approach the match that could cause the Galaxy some trouble.

“We'll see. It's hard to know” how Dallas will play without Ferreira, L.A. captain Landon Donovan said. “Obviously, formation-wise, we don't know what they'll do. Stylistically, who knows how they play? When you have a player that's that dynamic, that can pull off special plays, it influences the way you play, and now without him, we'll be curious to see how they'll play.”

So will the Hoops. Head coach Schellas Hyndman said all the right things, about how this is an opportunity for players to step forward and make a real mark, about how this doesn't change the aim, which is to win soccer games.

“Athletics is always involved with some good moments and some bad moments,” he told told media last week. “All players will get injured at some point in time. They can’t choose the time and they can’t choose the injury. For [Ferreira], it was very disappointing, but at the same time, we know he will be back.”

Where FC Dallas (2-3-1, 7 points) will be in the fiercely competitive Western Conference once Ferreira does return is anyone's guess. The Hoops missed the playoffs in 2009 because they'd fallen too far behind early in the season. There are four very fine clubs in the West, Dallas aside, and only four guaranteed postseason berths.

FIRST PLACE: The Galaxy (4-1-3, 15 points) is atop the Western Conference and can extend its lead over Real Salt Lake (4-1-0, 12 points), which lost Saturday night at Portland, to six points. But it won't mean anything. The math is simple: L.A., after Sunday's game, will have played nine games. RSL has played five. That's 12 free points.

WORTH NOTING: David Beckham got a bit of screentime during broadcast's of Friday's royal wedding from Westminster Abbey -- he displayed the Order of the British Empire medal he received in 2003 for services to football. He flew to Dallas on Saturday and is expected to be available, possibly to start, for the Galaxy.

INJURY LIST: According to the Galaxy, the most secretive team in the league when it comes to injury matters, defenders Leonardo (torn ACL/LCL) and Gregg Berhalter (sprained knee) and forward Adam Cristman (knee surgery) are out, and forward Miguel Lopez (bruised knee) is questionable.

THE OPPONENT

FC DALLAS
Head coach

Three key players

Current form/prospects

Local connections

Missing

THE GAME

At Pizza Hut Park (Frisco, Texas), 4 p.m. PT
TV:
Fox Sports West and Galavision
Radio: K-Talk (KTLK/1150) and ESPN Deportes (KWKW/1330, Spanish)
Referee: Alex Prus