CARSON, Calif. – If anyone had any questions about the resolve of the LA Galaxy, Thursday’s come-from-behind 2-1 victory over the Columbus Crew should have put those to rest.
It was a stirring win to say the least, fashioned on two Robbie Keane penalty kicks in the final five minutes plus stoppage time and coming on the heels of a stunning 3-2 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes only five days earlier, a game that LA led 2-1 entering stoppage time before conceding a pair of goals.
“It was good,” head coach Bruce Arena acknowledged. “We positioned ourselves to chase that game in the last10 minutes and found a way to win the game.”
Now comes another test in the form of FC Dallas on Sunday at StubHub Center (7:30 p.m., Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Time Warner Cable Deportes, KTLK 1150 AM, KWKW 1330 AM, LIVECHAT). The two-time defending MLS Cup champions (8-7-3, 27 points) will be taking on an FC Dallas (8-3-7, 31 points) side that has been in or near first place in the Western Conference for much of the season and currently trails front-running Real Salt Lake by only three points.
Dallas is just 1-3-4 on the road this season, with its lone road victory at 1-0 decision at New England on March 30. After losing just once in an 11-game stretch earlier this season, Schellas Hyndman’s team is winless in their last five games, going 0-1-4 in league play dating back to the start of June.
In that recent five-game winless streak, Dallas has not led, though it has salvaged two draws in its last three games thanks to goals in the 90th minute or later. Those goals give Dallas nine goals in the final 15 minutes of games this year, leaving them tied for the second-most such goals in the league. LA have conceded an MLS-worst 14 goals in the final 15 minutes of games, including one on Thursday against the Crew.
“It’s a dangerous team,” Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant said of FC Dallas, which tied Chivas USA 0-0 at home on Thursday. “I think they’re going to come out looking for three points, without a doubt.”
FC Dallas, who handed the Galaxy their first loss of the year in league play on April 13, winning 1-0 in Frisco, Texas thanks to an 87th minute goal from George John. The big defender has missed each of the last two games because of a hamstring strain, but Dallas continue to get standout performances from Panamanian forward Blas Perez, who has a team-best six goals, 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira, who has a team-best six assists, and Peruvian goalkeeper Raul Fernandez, who is tied for the MLS lead with 65 saves in his first season in the league.
Just as the Galaxy lost late in the first meeting with FC Dallas this season, they appeared to be heading toward a similar result on Thursday against Columbus. Despite dominating the match throughout, LA found themselves behind in the 78th minute when Bernardo Anor’s looping header eluded Carlo Cudicini to put the Crew up 1-0. But less than a week after giving up a pair of stoppage time goals to lose 3-2 to San Jose, the Galaxy showed their resilience as Robbie Keane tied the game with an 85th minute penalty kick and then won it with a second penalty in the second minute of stoppage time.
“It was a confidence booster for everyone,” said Jose Villarreal, who earned LA’s first penalty, of the win. “We really needed it. To come off a disappointing loss to San Jose and get a result definitely is an eye opener for us, that we can still make a run for it.”
Added midfielder Hector Jimenez, who started on Thursday night, “It was the other way around for us. Down one goal, 10 minutes left, luckily we got those two [penalties] to win it.
“It was a huge, huge win for us. It definitely was a must to get three points. Hopefully we can do the same on Sunday and make it a six-point week.”