Western Conference final: FC Dallas at Galaxy at Home Depot Center

The final game of the season for the Galaxy in Southern California.

We’ll find out in 90 minutes (or so) whether this is the last game of the season period or if MLS Cup is in the Galaxy’s future.

Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena will field an unchanged starting lineup for the third consecutive game meaning veteran Eddie “playoffs only” Lewis starts on the back four again.

Galaxy XI: Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Eddie Lewis, David Beckham, Juninho, Dema Kovalenko, Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle, Mike Magee.

Options off the bench include Gregg Berhalter, Alex Cazumba, Todd Dunivant, Chris Birchall, Michael Stephens, Jovan Kirovski.

Dallas has just one major change – former Chivas USA man Atiba Harris is in for veteran Jeff Cunningham as the lone striker.

Dallas XI: Kevin Hartman, Jackson Goncalves, George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez, Marvin Chavez, Dax McCarty, David Ferreira, Daniel Hernandez, Brek Shea, Atiba Harris.

Kick off is at 6:18 p.m.

The game is live on ESPN2.

I’ll blog throughout the game, the HDC’s weak wi fi signal willing.

Refresh this blog post for updates.

Now this sounds like a playoff crowd tonight.

Mike Magee clocked a 30-yard shot after eight minutes that gave Kevin Hartman a nasty moment or two and he needed a touch to steer it away from the goal.

Cunningham is not hurt tonight, we just heard; he was dropped.

Juninho just ran through a stationary Dallas defense, picking up a loose ball inside the opposing half and whacking it from about 20 yards at Bartman.

Beckham came close after 24 minutes, when a free kick he took near the center circle and weirdly almost bounced into the net catching everyone napping.

Galaxy 0 FC Dallas 1

Dallas have taken the lead against the run of play in the 26th minute, David Ferreira collecting the ball at the top of the box from Marvin Chavez and having the time turn and shoot home while Gonzalez and DeLaGarza were both rooted to the spot.

The Galaxy will have to come from behind for the second consecutive game to beat Dallas; they went behind in the 22nd minute in the last game against Dallas.

Donovan was just denied in the 31st minute, a stinging drive just tipped around the far post by Hartman. That was close.

Kovalenko, who picked up a yellow card in the 32nd minute, should have had another six minutes latter when he left his feet at midfield to chop down Ferreira in front of the Dallas bench. He’s lucky to be on the field at this point.

Halftime: Galaxy 0 FC Dallas 1

The Galaxy have had more of the sustained pressure, while Dallas has had the speedy counter attacks. No prizes for guessing which strategy has been most effective.

Juninho has looked dangerous going forward; Kovalenko looks like a liability.

Key stat: The Galaxy have had five shots on target, Dallas just one.

That’s all it takes though.

Is there just 45 minutes left in the Galaxy’s season?

Remember, they don’t need two goals in the next 45 minutes; just one would prolong things.

Galaxy 0 FC Dallas 2

In another lightning-fast move, John has put the visitors up by two goals in the 54th minute. He met a Shea cross at the far post that was intelligently pulled back behind the defenders.

Donovan, pushed up into the attack with the removal of Magee for Cazumba in the 55th minute, should have pulled one back moments later when he struck a Hartman clearance from 25 yards, but put the opportunity over the bar with the former Galaxy goalkeeper out of position.

Chris Birchall has replaced Kovalenko in the 66th minute.

Donavan is seeing less of the ball since he was moved up top; obviously, the Galaxy need him to have the ball at his feet more if they want to pry open this Dallas defense. Time is running out.

Gonzalez is having a poor game in defense; Buddle has looked lethargic up front.

Is there a way back for the Galaxy?

The Galaxy now have 19 minutes to score twice.

Galaxy 0 FC Dallas 3

This one is all but over in the 73rd minute. With Harris standing offside the Galaxy defense stopped moving. Unfortunately for them, Ferreira decided to thread the ball through to Chavez who was not offside and scored from inside the box.

The Galaxy have shown a repeated proclivity to ball watch tonight – and it has cost them dearly.

Fans are already heading for the exits – it’s the 79th minute.

Final: Galaxy 0 FC Dallas 3

It’s over – and so is the Galaxy’s season.

Hartman easily saved an uninspired Beckham free kick in stoppage time, which pretty much sums the predictable nature of this one for the Galaxy.

The Galaxy only have themselves to blame for this one.

A static back four (Gonzalez) that could not handle the speed and quick precision of the Dallas attack (Ferreira); a depleted attack (where was Tristan Bowen?) that was too predictable and squandered chances.

Dallas deserve to head to Toronto for their first-ever MLS Cup.

The Galaxy will have to reload for next season.

Ah well, think of the huge ratings for that Dallas-Colorado final MLS can expect.

Two cities that really love their MLS, huh?

Dallas Coach Schellas Hyndman has his now-famous brown leather jacket donned for his post-game interview.

More later.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group columnist and blogger Nick Green writes about soccer at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!