Regardless of the result tonight we now know when the Galaxy will host the second leg of the opening round of the MLS playoffs – 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7. The time and day were just announced.
Now we just need to figure out the opponent, which will become apparent in a little over two hours from now
Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena is resting Gregg Berhalter this evening, allowing A.J. DeLaGarza to partner Omar Gonzalez in central defense and Todd Dunivant to return at full back.
With this being Chris Klein’s final MLS game, rookie Michael Stephens didn’t make the 18-man squad today.
Chris Birchall is out with a calf contusion, so Dema Kovalenko returns to the starting lineup and Landon Donovan drops back into midfield.
Mike Magee will partner Edson Buddle up front.
Here’s the Galaxy XI (4-4-2): Ricketts, Franklin, DeLaGarza, Gonzalez, Dunivant, Beckham, Juninho, Kovalenko, Donovan, Buddle, Magee.
Klein, the similarly-retiring Eddie Lewis, Tristan Bowen and Jovan Kirovski are all bench options for the Galaxy.
Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, out for a lengthy practice before the teams took the field for pre-game warm-ups will not start in goal against his former club this evening, so Dario Sala continues between the posts.
Jeff Cunningham and David Ferreira are up front for Dallas; midfielder Brek Shea is on the bench.
Dallas XI: Sala, Goncalves, Loyd, John, Benitez, Harris, McCarty, Alexander, Chevez, Cunningham, Ferreira.
Refresh this post for updates as the game progresses.
Galaxy 1 Dallas 1
Well, the Home Depot Center’s wi-fi signal is incredibly weak and I was unable to access the Internet in the first half, let alone blog, so apologies for that.
Dallas struck first in the game when former Chivas USA midfielder Atiba Harris ghosted in behind two oblivious Galaxy defenders to head home the opening goal at the far post from four yards out in the 22nd minute. Eric Alexander provided the cross.The Galaxy appealed for offside, but Harris was not in an offside position, although another Dallas attacker – I believe that was Jeff Cunningham – was, but did not interfere with the play.
The Galaxy equalized in the 33rd minute, Donovan blatantly shoving defender Jackson Goncalves off the ball at the end line and feeding the ball to Beckham who steered home his second goal of the season with a finely-placed right-footed 20-yard shot.
BTW, Edson Buddle has been named the Galaxy MVP for the season – yes, I voted for him. Buddle and Donovan apparently tied for most first-place votes, incidentally.
The Galaxy pulled ahead in the 46th minute when Zach Loyd failed to clear a Donovan cross adequately, Juninho met it at the edge of the penalty box and nailed the shot with a pretty volley.
The Galaxy have the result they need, but Buddle needs one more goal to win the scoring title outright. Sala got a hand to a strong Buddle header off a Beckham corner kick from eight yards out in the 67th minute, just denying him that goal.
Klein and Lewis are coming on in the 89th minute to take a final bow before the home fans. Here’s a trivia question answer: Klein came on for Beckham (Lewis came on for Buddle, BTW).
Final: Galaxy 2 Dallas 1
Next for the Supporters Shield winners: 5 p.m. in Seattle Sunday for the opening game of the Western Conference semifinal.
Gonzalez was named Galaxy defender of the Year at game’s end.