Photo by ISIPhotos.net
BY ADAM SERRANO
CARSON, Calif –The Los Angeles Galaxy had arguably their worst performance of the year on Wednesday, then proceeded to follow it up with unquestionably their best.
With three goals started by David Beckham set pieces, the Galaxy defeated FC Dallas 3-1, to extend their lead a top the MLS standings. Marvin Chavez opened the scoring in favor of Dallas with a fantastic strike, but the Galaxy were able to score three unanswered goals by Omar Gonzalez, Juninho and Mike Magee. It was a display that may not have sent a message to the rest of the league, but proved that the Galaxy are better than their performance last Wednesday.
"For the rest of the year, we don't want to play like we did on Wednesday against Portland, if we're going to play like that we won't win many games," said midfielder Landon Donovan. "We wanted to make sure that we played the right way and this was a big step in the right direction to winning the Supporters Shield again."
The scoreline may have favored the Galaxy, but it was Dallas who were able to get on the board first when FC Dallas forward Maicon Santos played in a ball to Chavez who sent in a blast from 20 yards out. After falling behind, the match grew more physical as the Galaxy looked to muscle their way towards an equalizer. It finally came in the 32nd minute of play, when Beckham fired in in swinging free kick to the far post that baffled defender George John and goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. With neither able to come up with a clearance, the ball fell to a waiting Omar Gonzalez, who headed it into an empty net.
With the equalizer, the Galaxy pressed forward in the second half and was able to overwhelm a weary Dallas side that appeared to be tiring from the travel of the last two weeks. Juninho tallied the second goal for the Galaxy in the 62nd minute firing in a shot from the edge of the box on a play that started with a Beckham corner. Beckham had his fingerprints in the third goal as Magee was able to head home the exclamation point.
"This has nothing to do with Dallas a team, tonight was about our team, we know that they're good and they're going to play hard," said Beckham. "Tonight was about character, everyone knows that we let ourselves down so it's up to us to show who was watching the other night that it wasn't us and I think we did that."
Throughout the match Dallas struggled against a clearly motivated Galaxy side that was pushing for the come back. When Dallas was able to create opportunities, the physical play of the Galaxy was able to cause frustration and force Dallas off their game.
In particular, recent U.S. men's national team invitee Brek Shea struggled to deal with the pressure that was placed on him by Beckham as well as Galaxy midfielder Sean Franklin. Throughout the match, Shea was constantly unable to be his normally dynamic self and was held without a serious chance on goal until the result was well in hand.
"The last two games, he took a bump in the head and in the last two games, he hasn't been all there," said FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. "Of course, getting the national team call-up, you never know how that will affect a player, but he was a little frustrated and we even said that he didn't have the game that we expected."
The Galaxy (13-3-9) will now enjoy a 10-day break as the club looks ahead to the CONCACAF Champions League group stages which start on August 16th with a match at the HDC against Club Motagua. FC Dallas (12-6-6), which also must deal with the CCL grind will enjoy some rest with their next match not till August 13th against the Philadelphia Union.