Dallas trio making their return to LA

Hartman, Hernandez and Ihemelu started careers with Galaxy

FRISCO, Texas — For three FC Dallas
starters, the Western Conference Championship at The Home Depot Center (Sunday, 9
p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, ESPN2/Deportes) will be a sort of return to their roots. That’s because
this talented trio all started their respective careers with their opponents,
the LA Galaxy.

FCD goalkeeper
Kevin Hartman was with LA from 1997 through 2006 and was between the posts for MLS
Cup-winning teams in both 2002 and 2005. He started 20 games for his new club
this year with a goals-against-average of just 0.62 and was a finalist for MLS
Goalkeeper of the Year.

Holding mid
Daniel Hernandez also started his career in LA and was a teammate of Hartman’s
there in both 1998 and 1999. The Dallas captain started 24 games in 2010.

And veteran
center back Ugo Ihemelu was with the Galaxy in 2005 and 2006, playing on the
’05 championship team before going to the Colorado Rapids. He played in 19
games in 2010 and scored one goal.

“It’s one of
those things; you always think about the former team,” Hartman said. “I had
some great times there, but this is a huge game for FC Dallas. My current team
and I are going to go in there and do our best to win. I think that everything
else is going to be secondary.”

FCD are making
their first appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs since 2007, though the Dallas
club has never been to the Cup final.

“I did play in
MLS Cup against the Galaxy [in 2005], but it’s definitely going to be one of
the most important games of my career and one of the most meaningful to me
being here in Dallas now,” Hernandez said. “ [Returning to LA] doesn’t really
register or go through my mind too much. I’m the type of guy to live in the
moment. I’m here and those things don’t really cross my mind too much. I’m more
concentrated on the game itself, the importance of the game, what it means to
me, this team and this club.”

FCD lost their
last game of the season on October 24 at The Home Depot Center. But unlike his
teammates, Ihemelu will have LA very much on his mind.

“I think as long
as I’m playing in MLS, I’ll always enjoy going back there because it was where
my career started,” the FCD center back said. “I have a lot of great memories
from there and even when I go back now, I still get a positive response from
the LA fans. That’s just a little extra motivation for me to go back there and
help us get a result.”

The Galaxy face FC Dallas in the Western
Conference Championship on Sunday, November 14 at 6 p.m. at The
Home Depot Center. Tickets are available as low as $20! BUY TICKETS

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