FRISCO, Texas – Despite all the buzz around David Beckham’s transatlantic trip to Friday’s Royal Wedding in London before Sunday's Western Conference showdown at Pizza Hut Park (7 pm ET, Galavisión), FC Dallas are focused on the task at hand.
Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who admittedly was unaware of Beckham’s long-distance travels before media told him on Thursday, says his focus is only on his work between the posts and his team.
[inline_node:335210]“I think that for me personally I just really try to stay focused on my preparation,” Hartman said after Thursday’s training session on the stadium field.
“I’m aware of the talents that they have and David’s obviously a great crosser of the ball – he’s had success at the highest levels – and he’s somebody that we have to make sure that we decline service to and from.”
But the talent level for the Galaxy doesn’t begin and end with Beckham and is his four assists on the year, good for second in MLS.
“He’s not the only talent on that team,” said Hartman. “If you look at Juan Pablo Angel, I think for a number of years, he was probably what I consider to be one of the best strikers in Major League Soccer history. Maybe it wasn’t numbers but the quality of goals he was scoring, there were a few that left with my jaw on the ground so I don’t think that’s a guy that you can overlook."
The list of Galaxy threats doesn’t end there. Landon Donovan is one of the league’s best players. Juninho, the second-year midfielder from Brazil, has come into his own. And Chad Barrett, long-maligned for his inability to finish, has two goals in his last two games.
Stopping LA will be a tough task for an FCD team that’s conceded and number of self-admitted "easy goals" through the first six games. FC Dallas captain Daniel Hernandez is ready to put that to an end.
“We have to continue trying to defend as a team,” said Hernandez. “We had some breakdowns at the beginning of this season but they are going to be a handful so we have to continue trying to defend as a team, definitely trying to clog up the middle.”
FC Dallas hold a 13-7-6 record at PHP against the Galaxy, which is the third-best winning percentage FCD can claim against visiting teams.
In 2010, though, LA got the better of FC Dallas in the regular season, sweeping the home and away series. The MLS Cup Playoffs were a different story, with FCD posting an emphatic 3-0 win in the Western Conference Championship, sending the Galaxy to the offseason one game earlier than they had hoped.
Dallas, unfortunately, will be without the hero of that playoff run and 2010’s league MVP, David Ferreira. The diminutive playmaker suffered a fractured ankle last week at Vancouver and is expected to miss several months at a minimum.
“I’m sure they aren’t looking for revenge,” Hernandez said, “but it’s just going to be in the back of their minds looking to try to get that game back. And that doesn’t make things any easier for us now that we lost our MVP."