FRISCO, TX (October 1, 2016) – FC Dallas took a massive step towards claiming the Western Conference title and the Supporters Shield by defeating the LA Galaxy 1-0 at Toyota Stadium on Saturday evening. Surprisingly, Saturday’s match was the first regular season meeting between the two clubs despite its late date on the season calendar.
FC Dallas entered the match following back-to-back draws but still sitting first in the Western Conference, five points clear of Colorado and LA. The Galaxy came into the match on the heels of a disappointing home loss to the Seattle Sounders, a match where they had a chance to gain ground on the Lone Star leaders.
FC Dallas Resumes Winning Ways Against LA
FC Dallas dominated the first half but LA had two early chances to take the lead. The Galaxy’s best chance fell to Steven Gerrard in the 18th minute. Following a missed tackle in midfield by Dallas’ Carlos Gruezo, LA sprung on the break with a man advantage. Robbie Keane and Gio Dos Santos combined and put Gerrard through one-on-one with the keeper but he pulled his shot disappointingly wide left of goal.
Dallas took over from that point and peppered LA’s goal with shots. Dallas’ lead striker Maxi Urruti dropped off to play-make with Mauro Díaz allowing Akindele and Barrios to exploit space on LA’s left and right sides. Díaz was excellent in the center of the pitch and pulled the strings for Dallas’ attack.
After spurning several chances, FC Dallas claimed the opening goal in the 39th minute from a corner kick. Díaz served a well-flighted ball into the box where a towering Walker Zimmerman attacked the ball. He headed the ball down and it bounced up and into the top left corner to give the home team a deserved lead. Zimmerman’s three headed goals are tied for the most by any defender in MLS this season. [Opta]
Bruce Arena circled the wagons at half-time and his team came out with more purpose in the second. The Galaxy made a clear effort to retain possession and it allowed them to create more chances on goal. In the 56th minute, Landon Donovan entered the fray in an attempt to bolster the offense and help LA find an equalizer.
After 20 minutes passed, Dallas was content to defend and look for counter-attacking opportunities. The Galaxy pressed and possessed but struggled to create meaningful opportunities on goal. A disappointing Steven Gerrard was substituted after 68 minutes.
Despite LA’s control of the ball, Dallas had the best chances to score toward the end of the second half. Maxi Urruti nearly sealed the victory in the 78th minute after Jelle Van Damme’s errant header put the Argentine through one-on-one with the keeper. The ball bounced too high for Urruti to control and the opportunity fell by the wayside.
The match ended 1-0 and the victory over their close rival takes FC Dallas one step closer to the Western Conference title. Dallas now sits on 56 points and is eight points clear of LA with two games remaining. The second place Colorado Rapids, with games in hand, are still in a very good position though. They have the best chance to catch Dallas in the race for the Western Conference title and the Supporters Shield. Colorado defeated the Portland Timbers 1-0 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night.
Both teams now have a two week break before playing the final two games of their MLS season. They will meet again at the Stubhub Center on October 23rd in the regular season finale.