FC Dallas played the LA Galaxy to a lackluster 0-0 draw on Decision Day. Although the match offered few moments of excitement, the result sealed the MLS Supporters’ Shield for Dallas, the Texas club’s second major trophy of the season.
The US Open Cup winners entered the match two points clear of the Colorado Rapids in the Western Conference. They only needed a draw from the match to claim the Supporters’ Shield, holding the games won tiebreaker over Colorado. The Galaxy entered Sunday’s contest firmly rooted in third place, unable to improve their seeding even with a win.
LA Galaxy vs FC Dallas: 0-0 Draw Secures Supporters’ Shield
Bruce Arena selected a lineup featuring seven changes from the week prior. Absent were key starters Gio Dos Santos, Ashley Cole and Steven Gerrard. Ariel Lassiter played as the lead forward for LA, his second start of the season. Landon Donovan got his first start at the Stubhub Center since his return, playing the full 90.
Oscar Pareja’s Dallas team was playing their first league match without team captain Mauro Diaz, who suffered a season ending Achilles injury last Sunday. Pareja adjusted by playing a four man midfield featuring Ryan Hollingshead on the left side, and moving CarlosGruezo into the middle to play alongside Kellyn Acosta. Maxi Urruti still led the line but was accompanied by forward Tesho Akindele, who had previously played as part of a five man midfield.
The match was played at a surprisingly languid pace for a game with Supporters’ Shield implications. Dallas pressed forward in the first twenty minutes, asserting themselves despite being away from home. They quickly created the best chance of the first half in the ninth minute when a loose ball fell to FC Dallas right back Atiba Harris in the box after a corner kick. He cannoned a shot toward goal but it found the right post rather than the net. LA had periods of possession in the first half but did little to threaten goal. The half ended scoreless and was accompanied by news that the Rapids were trailing Houston 1-0 in Colorado.
The second half saw both teams use all three substitutes in an attempt to unlock the stalemate. Arena introduced midfielder Emmanuel Boateng and forward Alan Gordon with 25 minutes left. Pareja countered with Mauro Rosales, who replaced Akindele in a forward position. The Galaxy had more of the ball in the second half but were measured in attack, not pushing forward in large numbers. The Galaxy managed 65 percent possession over the course of the game but but had eight fewer shots than their opponents. As the second half continued, FC Dallas dropped deeper and were content to protect the draw, knowing it would be enough to earn a trophy. LA created late chances with attacking forays by Mike McGee and Dave Romney, but neither could convert. The game ended goalless and was followed by a trophy ceremony where Oscar Pareja and his men hoisted the Supporters’ Shield for the first time in FC Dallas’ history.
Playoffs and the Treble
LA Galaxy’s third place finish mean they will host the Western Conference’s sixth seed Real Salt Lake at home on Wednesday October 26th in a single-game knockout match. Arena clearly felt this midweek fixture warranted resting starters on the final day of the season. FC Dallas’ first place finish earns them a bye and some much needed rest after three games and a trip to Guatemala over the last eight days. Dallas has already secured two trophies and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They resume action on October 30th in the first leg of the Western Conference semifinals, with eyes set on a historic treble.