Los Angeles Soccer: John Ellinger

Galaxy-FC Dallas: Positional analysis

November, 12, 2010
11/12/10
11:07
PM PT

The Galaxy is seeking their record seventh MLS Cup title-game appearance, and FC Dallas is aiming to reach the final for the first time. Who has the advantage in Sunday night's Western Conference final at Home Depot Center (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, 6 p.m.)?


Let's take it piece by piece.

GOALKEEPER

GALAXY: Donovan Ricketts
FC DALLAS: Kevin Hartman

Edson Buddle
Victor Decolongon/Getty ImagesEdson Buddle of the Los Angeles Galaxy passes the ball on the counterattack against D.C. United during the MLS match at The Home Depot Center on Sept. 18. The Galaxy defeated United 2-1.



Ricketts was MLS's Goalkeeper of the Year. Hartman probably deserved the honor, and had he not missed the final six weeks of the regular season with a sprained right medial collateral ligament -- product of that dumb Thierry Henry celebration -- he surely would have won. Ricketts is the more athletic, and he was sensational against Seattle, the most important figure in the victory up north.

Hartman (Palos Verdes/Peninsula HS and UCLA), still revered in L.A. for his decade of service to the Galaxy, has had a career resurrection in North Texas, and he bears most of the credit for the Hoops' magical campaign. There are few better shot-stoppers in American soccer, and nobody commands his box better than Hartman.

Both prefer to parry than catch in tight situations, and both make the mind-boggling saves that make a difference. Hartman might be a better decision-maker, but there's no denying Ricketts' form.

Advantage: Push

BACKLINE


GALAXY:
Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza/Gregg Berhalter and Eddie Lewis/Todd Dunivant
FC DALLAS: Jackson Goncalves/Zach Loyd, Ugo Ihemelu, George John and Jair Benitez

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