Galaxy-FC Dallas Preview
It doesn't get any easier for the Los Angeles Galaxy, who try to regroup from their Champions League exit Saturday night when they meet an FC Dallas team that has been perfect at home this season.
The reigning MLS Cup champion Galaxy (2-0-2) were thwarted in their bid to reach the CONCACAF final following Wednesday's 1-0 loss at Mexican side Monterrey. Los Angeles was outscored 3-1 in aggregate, losing the second leg on a late goal after pushing forward in a late bid to find a series equalizer.
"To have only scored one goal with the chances that we had in these two games is disappointing," forward Landon Donovan told the team's official website. "In a lot of ways, we actually feel like we were the better team for the majority of the series. In the critical moments, they made the plays and we didn't and we're at fault for that."
Donovan, who missed the first three league matches while taking a self-imposed sabbatical, could be in line for his first MLS start. He made his season debut March 30 at Toronto FC, playing the final 29 minutes of a 2-all draw, and has 17 goals and 10 assists in 30 matches versus FC Dallas.
His time away allowed teenagers Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal to log extensive playing time over the early part of the season, and the 19-year-old Villarreal scored the tying goal in stoppage time in Toronto.
"We just have to make ourselves better and learn from this," Villarreal said after Wednesday's loss.
All three will need to be at their best to be the first team to take away points at FC Dallas (4-1-1). The Western Conference leader has won all three of its matches at home, posting two shutouts, and nearly took the full six points from a just-completed two-match road swing.
Dallas settled for a 2-all draw against Toronto last Saturday, conceding both goals in the final five minutes after Andrew Jacobson and Blas Perez scored on either side of halftime. Not having George John for the second half may have been a reason FC Dallas returned home with only one point - the defender left at halftime feeling a loss of balance after being struck in the head in an unusual angle by a cross from Michel.
"He had a pretty bad headache and balance loss out in Toronto which really affected our performance, but for safety's sake we went down the road of protecting players," coach Schellas Hyndman told the club's official website. "Our thoughts are that he'll be all right for this weekend."
Jacobson, Perez and Brazilian midfielder Jackson have accounted for six of FC Dallas' 10 goals, and the side has yet to be shut out.
Los Angeles has a four-match unbeaten streak (3-0-1) versus FC Dallas since a 2-1 road loss May 1, 2011. The Galaxy allowed one goal in the three matches last season, and FC Dallas enters this meeting with a 209-minute scoring drought in the series since Brek Shea converted a penalty kick in the 61st minute of a 1-all draw April 28.