CARSON, CA - AUGUST 26: Julian de Guzman #12 of FC Dallas and Mike Magee #18 of Los Angeles Galaxy battle for the ball during the MLS match at The Home Depot Center on August 26, 2012 in Carson, California. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Getty Images)
CARSON, Calif -- The LA Galaxy defeated FC Dallas 2-0 at The Home Depot Center on Sunday afternoon, moving ahead of the Vancouver Whitecaps into sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference. The Galaxy are now three points behind Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders. Juninho scored the match winner, his fifth goal in three matches across all competitions.
"Obviously it was an important win," said David Beckham. "Just because they we're in good form and they were coming up close. We knew that they were playing well and we needed to be on form. It wasn’t the prettiest of games that we’ve played, but I think three points was a big one today."
The big shift in the match was the substitution of Jose Villarreal for Hector Jimenez. Jimenez had an unimpressive first half, and he continued to look off through to the sixty minute mark. Villarreal came in, pushing Magee back to the midfield, and provided a much needed spark to tired legs.
Six minutes later, Villarreal dispossessed Dallas defender Matt Hedges, then dribbled around Kevin Hartman. Juninho had come flying up to the play, and was right in front of goal to punch in Villarreal's pass.
"I thought Jose was outstanding," said Bruce Arena. "Really alert play that set up the first goal. A solid thirty minutes"
Dunivant played a ball up to Keane in the box that Keane mishandled. Keane was able to reset the play passing it back to Michael Stephens. Stephens found Dunivant who occupied the space Keane had vacated and Dunivant was able to smash the ball in.
Stephens came in at the 78' for David Beckham, who was accurate today but looked tired much of the match. Turns out David played sick today, on an hour of sleep, but Stephens was able to come in on lock down duty for the second straight match. For the second straight match, he found himself with an assist.
"Mike has had a difficult time," said Arena, "getting his head right for [locking down the game]. It needed to be done and this week I think he was simply outstanding...Not everyone likes to do that but you need guys with some intelligence and experience and at this point in Mike's career he can certainly do that if called upon."
The match also had a Pat Noonan sighting, someone Galaxy fans haven't seen in awhile. Omar Gonzalez went the full 90 for the second time in four days, showing an amazing rate of recovery from that knee injury. The hope is that the time put in during July and August will pay off down the playoff stretch.
Landon Donovan remained out of the eighteen for the second straight match, still recovering from a left hamstring strain. Whether he'll be available for Wednesday's match against Puerto Rico Islanders is still to be seen. He called himself day to day leaving the locker room.