CARSON, Calif. – A bit of Robbie Keane brilliance and Gyasi Zardes’ first goal of the season got the LA Galaxy back in the winning column Wednesday night with a 2-1 victory over FC Dallas at the StubHub Center.
Keane’s blast from the top of the penalty area to the upper-left corner of the goal and an open Zardes header goal put the Galaxy up 2-0 halftime, before FCD rookie Tesho Akindele pulled one back 20 minutes after the break. But the Galaxy (3-3-3) hung on for the victory, halting their four-game winless streak and pulling them out of the Western Conference cellar two points clear of Chivas USA, Portland and San Jose.
FC Dallas’ struggles, meanwhile, continue with a winless streak now at six games. The Hoops (5-6-2) have lost five of six and six of their last eight outings.
The Galaxy, rotating their lineup for the second time in their stretch of three games in nine days and without US internationals Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez, reverted from its diamond midfield to a flat four. Kenney Walker – making just his second league appearance and first since 2012 – lined up next to Juninho in the center and Zardes and Stefan Ishizaki on the flanks. Keane returned to the frontline, next to Samuel, after starting in midfield in a weekend loss at Houston.
FCD were also shorthanded with Michel, George John, Mauro Diaz and Hendry Thomas all relegated to the training room. And midfielder Andrew Jacobson was forced off after an apparent ankle injury in the first half, replaced Adam Moffat.
The Galaxy controlled action most of the way, and it paid off on Keane’s strike.
Following a nifty build-up, Zardes sent a long, low ball from the left that split three defenders and found Keane just beyond the Dallas box. The Irishman, who has six of the Galaxy's 10 league goals, quickly beat Jair Benitez on the dribble, then cut inside between two defenders and rocketed a shot to the upper-left corner.
Zardes deposited his header less than two minutes later, finding space among three defenders at the top of the 6-yard box to easily nod home a Juninho chip.
FC Dallas used its speed to fuel an intermittent counterattack but reaped little from it. Before Akindele's goal their best opportunities were in the first 20 minutes, when LA goalkeeperJaime Penedo tipped a Je-Vaughn Watson blast over the crossbar and a long run by Fabian Castillo was cut off at the right post.
But Akindele finally found pay dirt when he slipped behind LA's backline to finish a diagonal ball from Benitez, who had taken away a Walker pass a few yards behind the Galaxy box.
Dallas pressed in the closing minutes, but the equalizer wasn’t forthcoming.
FC Dallas next head straight to Utah ahead of a Saturday match at Real Salt Lake, while the Galaxy are home Sunday evening against Philadelphia.
LA Galaxy 2, FC Dallas 1Wednesday, May 21, 2014MLS Regular SeasonStubHub Center – Carson, Calif.
LA – Robbie Keane 24’ (Assisted by Gyasi Zardes)
LA – Gyasi Zardes 44’ (Assisted by Juninho)
DAL – Tesho Akindele 65’ (Assisted by Jair Benitez)
LA – Kofi Opare (Yellow Card) 37’
DAL – Tesho Akindele (Yellow Card) 43’
DAL – Je-Vaughn Watson (Yellow Card) 71’
LA Galaxy: Jaime Penedo; Dan Gargan, Kofi Opare, Tommy Meyer, AJ DeLaGarza; Stefan Ishizaki (Baggio Husidic 74’), Juninho, Kenney Walker, Gyasi Zardes; Robbie Keane ©, Samuel (Raul Mendiola 40’)
Substitutes Not Used: Brian Rowe, Leonardo, Robbie Rogers, Rob Friend, Chandler Hoffman
FC Dallas: Raúl Fernández; Zach Loyd, Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez, Stephen Keel; Andrew Jacobson © (Adam Moffat 26’), Je-Vaughn Watson, Victor Ulloa, Danny Garcia (Andrés Escobar 46’), Fabian Castillo; Tesho Akindele (Blas Pérez 81’)
Substitutes Not Used: Peter Luccin, Walker Zimmerman, Moises Hernandez, Chris Seitz
Referee: Allen Chapman
Referee’s Assistants: Ian Anderson and Favio Tovar
4th Official: Daniel Radford