The race to finish line officially started Saturday night as the stars were out in Frisco when the LA Galaxy visited FC Dallas. The Galaxy were looking to continue their hot play and defend their slim lead over FCD in the Western Conference standings. Dallas came into the night only trailing LA by two points, but having two games in hand. A FC Dallas win would simply be huge. Would the young guns of FC Dallas be able to overcome Steven Gerrard, Giovanni Dos Santos, Robbie Keane and friends?
It was sure to be a true test of wills. Just before kickoff Dallas released the news that star attacking midfielder Mauro Diaz would miss the match with a hamstring injury. A huge loss as Diaz runs the show for FCD and is one of the exciting young attackers in MLS this year. Escobar would slot in his palace and get the first big chance of the game as he let loose from 20 yards forcing Donovan Ricketts into an early save.
We really had a fascinating matchup of two teams with completely different styles. FC Dallas buying young South American talent on the cheap along with using home grown talent to build a top MLS side this year. Meanwhile, the Galaxy spending money like the old New York Cosmos trying to buy a title with high priced stars like Keane, Dos Santos and Gerrard. Philosophies on exact opposite ends of the spectrum have brought the two teams to a similar place this late in the season.
Blas Perez would get the next big chance of the night as a Victor Ulloa cross swerved enticingly into the LA box. Perez rose over a poorly positioned Leonardo to head just inches wide of the post. In the 33rd minute Dallas had their deserved lead via a wonderful individual effort from Michael Barrios. After Hollingshead won a strong header in the midfield Barrios raced off after the ball. Both Omar Gonzalez and AJ Delagarza missed tackles leaving Barrios to roll into the empty net.
The second half started and within minutes the visitors had the match tied. After hadly getting a sniff of the Dallas penalty area in the opening half, the Galaxy scored on their first attack of the second half as Robbie Keane was all alone to bury the header. It was Keane's 12th goal of the season.
Controversy soon after and it led to the go ahead goal for LA. Fabian Castillo raced into the Galaxy box and fired on goal. Steven Gerrard blocked the shot with his right arm, but it was against his body and rightly not called. Gerrard fell to ground and flopped around on the ball before finally clearing. The Dallas players stopped as Gerrard laid on the ball. It allowed the counter to start as no whistle was blown. The Galaxy raced to the other end where Dos Santos crossed for Keane to head home. A wild sequence for sure.
Dallas looked to have tied the match in the 58th but it was disallowed as Matt Hedges was offside. Things not going in Dallas' favor despite them bossing the match. Could FCD keep their composure and respond? Another blown call in the 68th as Barrios beat Robbie Rogers and was pushed over in the box. It looked an obvious penalty as Rogers was beaten. Somehow no call as the crowd howled for the penalty.
More chances came for the home side ax Ricketts watched helplessly as Escobar whizzed one just inches over the crossbar. A minute later Ricketts denied Castillo. It just was not going to be FC Dallas' night as chance after chance went unrewarded. The LA Galaxy escaped with the 2-1 victory despite being completely outplayed almost the entire 90 minutes.