By BRYAN ROBISON
FRISCO, TX — The Los Angeles Galaxy were able to escape both the heat and FC Dallas Stadium with a victory on Saturday night in front of a stadium record 22,565 in attendance. After notching five goals against Portland a week ago, FC Dallas was unable to make a dent on the scoreboard this time around, as they fell to the surging Galaxy, 1-0.
With a squad missing both Landon Donovan (yellow card suspension) and David Beckham (who appeared in the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics on Friday), the Galaxy had only one designated player on the field in forward Robbie Keane. Despite those absences, the Galaxy were the ones creating more chances throughout the night.
Keane helped create the decisive chance when he set up Mike Magee for the eventual game-winning goal in the 62nd minute, slippin a pass to Magee at the top of the penalty arc.
“We just gave them way too much time and space tonight,” FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman said.. “You have to give them a lot of credit, as they worked harder than us. This was the third time this year where I feel we got out worked. It didn’t look like it, but a big emphasis tonight was to not let [Robbie] Keane free.
"It seemed like when we had the ball, we completely forgot about him, and he is the last guy in the attacking third that you want free.”
Early on, the home side was controlling possession, as FC Dallas looked to keep the ball from both Keane and fellow forward Mike Magee. Despite holding the ball for much of the half, Dallas was unable to capitalize, as they failed to register a shot on goal. Meanwhile, the Galaxy came close multiple times, with Keane coming closest on a powerful shot just outside of the box that went just over the crossbar.
Coming out to the second half, it was Dallas that made the first substitutions, not LA. Fabian Castillo came on for Carlos Rodriguez, and George John came on for Matt Hedges. John was making his first appearance since May 26th, as he had missed the past two months due to concussion symptoms. Despite the extended layoff, the veteran defender looked the part as he was a strong presence in the back.
His presence alone was not enough, as the rest of the Dallas defense looked sluggish throughout the night. After conceding just four goals in their previous six matches, the defense failed to keep up with a surging Keane, who eventually set up Magee's winner.
FC Dallas was unable to return the favor, as they failed to equalize in the final 25 minutes. Seemingly preserving energy, the Galaxy allowed the home team to dictate control and the pace of the game, but they halted any chances Dallas had once they came close to the box. Dallas’ closest opportunity to tie it up came in the 82nd minute, as Jackson was unmarked in the box, but the Brazilian missed a wide-open header just three yards from the goal.
Another key player for the Galaxy on Saturday night was defender Omar Gonzalez, who was playing in his just his third match since returning from a torn ACL he suffered in January. Gonzalez played his first full match of the season, and the reigning MLS Defender of the Year made his presence known, as he shut down forward Scott Sealy throughout the night.
“He was remarkable,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said of Gonzalez. “I don’t think we thought he’d make the full 90 minutes tonight, after playing 65 minutes on Tuesday against Tottenham. We had two big centerbacks and a big goalkeeper in there together for the first time tonight, so it makes things a little bit easier.”
After being asked what kind of shape Gonzalez is in during this stage of his recovery, Arena joked “after playing 90 minutes in 102 degree heat, I would say he is in decent shape.”
The Galaxy are also in decent shape. After a slow start to the season, the club gained another three points and continues to inch closer to a return to the playoffs. The defending MLS Cup champions will return home to take on La Liga champions Real Madrid in a friendly at Home Depot Center on Thursday night.
FC Dallas will travel to Portland to take on the Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field next Sunday.
Here are the match highlights: