FC Dallas leave it late to defeat LA Galaxy 2-1

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LA Galaxy traveled to Frisco to face FC Dallas Saturday night in the first 2015 meeting between the Western Conference foes. Both teams had unbeaten streaks entering the match (LA with five, FC Dallas with three), yet both teams are also dealing with injuries to key players. LA had to do without 2014 MLS MVP Robbie Keane, while Dallas missed their center-back and captain Matt Hegdes as well as his center-back partner Zach Loyd. Remarkably, the reigning MLS Champion Galaxy has not won on the road since August 20, 2014 and that streak continued as FC Dallas defeated LA 2-1.

In the first half LA held a slight edge in possession, but goalkeeper Jaime Penedo truly kept his team in the hunt with two huge saves of shots from Fabian Castillo in the last ten minutes of the half. The Galaxy almost had a goal in the 39th minute when a failed corner kick clearance fell to Ignacio Maganto who slid a shot past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, but the goal was waved off as Galaxy defender Tommy Meyer was ruled offside.

Nearly 15 minutes into the second half of the fairly plodding match, Gyasi Zardes headed Stefan Ishizaki’s corner kick past Dan Kennedy and inside the far post to make it 1-0 for LA.

FC Dallas struggled to gain a foothold in the match, with their midfield playmaker Mauro Diaz particularly frustrated by his lack of touches. But as LA dropped back in the last 25 minutes to protect their lead, they conceded more midfield space that Diaz and Dallas slowly began exploiting. Fabian Castillo continued raising eyebrows around MLS with his swift forays down the right wing and into the box, but Penedo and the Galaxy defense kept him off the score sheet.

FC Dallas’ chipping away paid off in the 77th minute when Mauro Diaz made a remarkable scoop pass, lofting the ball over the Galaxy back line to find Blas Perez, who manoeuvred the ball around Penedo with his chest and tapped it in to tie the game.

Nearly 10 minutes later, Diaz found the ball on the right wing and made a pinpoint-switching pass to the opposite flank where 2014 MLS Rookie of the Year Tesho Akindele (who replaced Ryan Hollingshead at halftime) gathered the ball at the top of the box and curled a left-footed shot inside the far post for the game-winning goal.

With the win, FC Dallas remains tied with Vancouver for first place in the Western Conference with 20 points. LA Galaxy travel to Orlando City for their next match on Sunday, May 17, while FC Dallas hosts New York Red Bulls next Friday.

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