German Alegria

LA aims to overcome memory of 6-3 defeat

The LA Galaxy takes unbeaten road (3-0-1) and MLS (7-0-2) records into Thursday's game in Frisco, Texas against FC Dallas. It is the first meeting between the Western Conference powers since last Sept. 12, a game the Galaxy would just as soon like to forget.

Dallas' Jeff Cunningham had two goals and an assist and Dallas scored four goals during a 15-minute span late in the second half en route to a stunning 6-3 victory that night. Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was in the Los Angeles net that night and saw his goals against average balloon a quarter of a goal from 0.93, which was fourth-best in MLS at the time, to 1.18, which left him in ninth place in the league. The Jamaican international said he moved on from that embarrassment a long time ago. He hasn't even watched a replay.

"I had that part of my memory erased," he said with a grin. "I moved on as soon as that game was over. In anything you do, you have setbacks and that was a major setback for the team. But I think we reacted pretty well and went all the way to the (MLS Cup) final.

"That was last season."

Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena couldn't understand why someone would bring up that game. He said he has not looked at a replay and doesn't even know where the tape is.

"I don't know why anyone would waste any time thinking about a game last year," he said. "It's really not relevant to anything at this point in time."

Some members of the Galaxy, however, remember it well.

"Of course you think about it," defender Gregg Berhalter said. "It's out of the front part of your mind, but obviously there's a little spot in the back where we think about it, and that's definitely going to be a motivating point for us.

"As a team we've grown tremendously since then, and it's something that's a good learning point. If you look at the history of our team, that wasn't our team last year. We were hard to score against, we were a gritty team and we defended well, and obviously that wasn't a good indication of who we were.

"I think we redeemed ourselves after that game."

The Galaxy takes on a Dallas team that has lost just once (2-1-5) this season and is led by Cunningham (team-leading four goals), Atiba Harris (two goals), David Ferreira (team-high three assists) and now features former Galaxy standout Kevin Hartman in goal.

The Galaxy, however, aren't so much worried about Dallas as they are about themselves, particularly with Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan in training camp with the U.S. National Team. How the Galaxy can adjust to their absences could have a pronounced impact on what has been an impressive season to this point.

"Look at the scoresheet," Chris Klein said, referring to Buddle (MLS-high nine goals and two assists) and Donovan (one goal and a league-leading nine assists). “I think they've been involved in every goal. We're going to have to get production from different guys. We're going to have to do it by committee and keep defending the way we have been. We do that, we have a good chance of being successful while they're gone."