Apr 13, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; FC Dallas defender George John (14) heads the ball over Los Angeles Galaxy forward Jack McBean (32) at FC Dallas Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
Despite leading the league in the standings after a month and a half of play, FC Dallas had largely been overlooked by MLS fans and writers. As they prepared to host the unbeaten Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday, they knew that this match — against the two-time defending MLS Cup champs, no less — afforded the opportunity to open eyes from coast to coast in the nationally-televised NBC Sports Network broadcast.
Dallas capitalized on the opportunity, their defense frustrating the Galaxy throughout the night. Of course, the Toros were also unable to generate much offensively as Los Angeles’ back four limited space for attacks. In the process, neither side was able to put a single shot on goal in the first half. Much the same marked the start of the second half, as the two teams continued to stifle each other’s front lines.
Then fortune shifted, and for a moment everything seemed to be swinging Dallas’ way. Referee Baldomero Toledo issued a straight red card against Leonardo in the 60th minute as the LA defender pulled down Blas Perez in the box as he streaked free toward goal. But on the ensuing penalty kick, Kenny Cooper failed to fool Galaxy goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini and the Italian veteran guessed correctly to push aside the shot. Then, a few minutes later, the Galaxy were offered a chance to take the lead with their own PK attempt as George John pulled down second-half substitute striker Jose Villarreal. But, like Cooper, Landon Donovan was unable to fool Dallas keeper Raul Fernandez with his attempt, and the penalties had negated one another without effect.
As the remaining minutes of the match following the pair of failed spot kicks ticked away, the two sides appeared headed toward a scoreless draw — still a favorable-enough result as both sides looked to consolidate playoff position at the top of the Western Conference. But then Los Angeles fell asleep defensively, the crossbar only temporarily saved Carlo Cudicini, and a defender metamorphosed into a sure-footed striker for a moment as George John tapped in the late winner.
Eric Hassli, who had come on in the 66th minute for Cooper, had his header attempt ping clean off the crossbar as Michel whipped in a corner kick inside the final five minutes. As Cudicini was unable to nab the ricochet, the ball caromed to an unmarked John. Rising to meet the ball with his head, John’s noggin was able to redirect the ball into the open net. And like that, the Toros had extended their lead in the Western Conference while Los Angeles felt the sting of MLS defeat for the first time in 2013.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY @ FC DALLAS
FC Dallas Stadium
April 13, 2013
- 87′ — DAL/George John (unassisted)
- DAL (4-2-3-1): Raul Fernandez; Jair Benitez, Matt Hedges, George John, Zach Loyd; Michel, Andrew Jacobsen; Kenny Cooper (Eric Hassli/66′), David Ferreira, Jackson (Fabian Castillo/85′); Blas Perez
- LA (4-4-2): Carlo Cudicini; Greg Cochrane, Leonardo, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza; Colin Clark (Jose Villarreal/56′), Marcelo Sarvas (Rafael Garcia/80′), Juninho, Mike Magee; Jack McBean (Tommy Meyer/64′), Landon Donovan