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Not feeling so Pepi: FC Dallas 4, LA Galaxy 0

Shorthanded Galaxy seem to hit a wall in Frisco.

MLS: LA Galaxy at FC Dallas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Take nothing away from FC Dallas, who have been undefeated at home this season, but the LA Galaxy hit a wall at this point in the season on Saturday, falling 4-0 to their foe at Toyota Stadium.

The shorthanded Galaxy have weathered missing a slew of key players reasonably well the past few weeks, but after starting promisingly against Dallas, the lack of quality overall and tired legs caught up to them and they couldn’t compete once they went down a couple goals.

Greg Vanney made a few changes to the XI, bringing Victor Vazquez upfield to serve as a False 9, flanked by Kevin Cabral and Samuel Grandsir, while Adam Saldaña came in to give the midfield more solidity and Daniel Steres made his first start since his injury sidelined him for a little while.

Vazquez, fresh of his debut goal for LA midweek, nearly scored just seven minutes in this game, with an audacious outside-of-the-boot attempt that sailed just wide of the far post.

The Galaxy pushed for an opener, but Dallas flipped the game as the first half wore on. In the 27th minute, Andres Ricaurte set up Ricardo Pepi, with the young striker splitting the Galaxy center backs (with Steres helpfully deadening the ball on the way through) and scoring past Jonathan Bond.

Pepi got his second goal just before halftime, first trying to head in a corner kick, then getting on the rebound off a block and smashing home the second attempt.

So the teams went into the break with Dallas leading 2-0 and LA once again in a two-goal deficit looking to get back on track.

But it got worse for the Galaxy just a few minutes into the 2nd half, with Pepi scoring his third goal of the night after taking a feed from Paxton Pomykal wide open and burying the shot from the edge of the box.

Vanney didn’t wait to make changes, bringing on Danny Acosta to replace a spent Jorge Villafaña, while Ethan Zubak replaced Vazquez, both in the 54th minute.

But by this point in the game, the heat, short rest and deficit seemed to weigh on the Galaxy and FCD pinged the ball around with LA chasing shadows.

There was another line change for the Galaxy in the 69th minute, with Augustine Williams, Nick DePuy and Daniel Aguirre replacing Cabral, Saldaña and Kljestan, respectively.

Pepi nearly scored a fourth goal in the 72nd minute, after beating Derrick Williams to a ball, but Bond made the stop to prevent further embarrassment.

But Jader Obrien scored a final goal for Dallas in the dying minutes, to make it 4-0 to the home side.

Again, while Dallas have largely been terrible this season, they’ve actually been atrocious on the road but decent at home, so we probably should have expected this game would be tougher than the last meeting between the teams. Still, this was a game LA could have won if they had not been so error-prone defensively. And while Pepi had a terrific game, the Galaxy lacked a quality scoring option, too, and that helped flip the game in FC Dallas’ favor in the end.

LA are back in action on Friday, when they’ll host the Portland Timbers. Portland have been inconsistent this season, but can certainly turn it up at times, and how many missing players will be available for LA? That may come a long way to boosting their prospects for the coming games.

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