FC Dallas advanced to their first MLS Cup appearance Sunday night with a splendid 3-0 thrashing of Los Angeles Galaxy before 27,000 partisan fans in Carson, California.
David Ferreira led the way offensively for FC Dallas with a goal and an assist. The pint-sized midfielder opened the scoring in the 26th minute against the run of play with a stunning goal from the top of the penalty box. Ferreira received the ball from Marvin Chavez, turned on the ball and fired it into the net.
It was the turning point of the match as the Galaxy suddenly and visibly lost their swagger. Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman added to the Galaxy misery by notching four outstanding saves further frustrating the darlings of MLS.
The Galaxy’s demise became more imminent shortly after the second-half restart when sloppy defense led to another Dallas tally. Brek Shea’s low-cross through the box was met by an unmarked George John at the back post to push Dallas to the 2-0 lead 54 minutes into the match.
Ferreira and Chavez combined again to spell doom for the Galaxy in the 73rd minute, this time with Chavez acting as beneficiary. Ferreira’s pass in behind the flat-footed Galaxy defense found Chavez on a diagonal run through the penalty area and into a one-on-one with the Galaxy keeper, Donovan Rickets. Rickets had little chance for the stop as Chavez calmly slotted the ball into the far post.
This match was all about opportunities. The Galaxy failed time and again to take advantage of theirs; FC Dallas made the league’s premier franchise pay dearly with theirs. Hartman displayed the form that led FC Dallas to a league record setting 19 match unbeaten streak through the regular season. “El Gato” kept his team in the match early with spectacular saves. David Ferreira did his part on the offensive side of the ball. Dallas was simply efficient - and devastating. The league’s best counter-attack exposed L.A. and left the league’s Supporter’s Shield winners searching for answers they never found.
Despite being urged on by the Galaxy faithful and even the commentators, L.A. simply wilted under pressure applied by the better side. It was schadenfruede of the sweetest kind for FC Dallas supporters – and most likely fans of the rest of the league at large. There is little doubt that MLS might have preferred a title for David Beckham and his mates. Winter tours and shirt-sales notwithstanding, the league has seemed desperate at times to prove the Beckham Experiment a success. Perhaps Beckham will eventually lift a trophy, but the league will have to wait at least a year longer.
FC Dallas helped fans to leave behind the spite they feel for the Galaxy. Now they have a chance to erase past playoffs misery against a Colorado Rapids club that should provide a worthy battle. FC Dallas has at last reached the MLS ultimate match, but in a year of firsts for this club is nothing new to this side now. Why not a championship too?