Seldom is this heard in a high-class soccer game, but only the final whistle kept the Galaxy and FC Dallas from hitting double-digits -- apiece -- in their incredible SuperLiga match Tuesday night at Pizza Hut Park.
Eleven goals, three of them in stoppage time: That's entertainment.
Alan Gordon hit a pair for LA, Arturo Alvarez did the same for Dallas, and a 4-0 Galaxy lead nearly evaporated before Landon Donovan and Carlos Pavon scored the goals that held off a furious rally and earned the Galaxy (2-1-0) a 6-5 win and first place in Group A.
Pachuca upended Guadalajara, 1-0, on a Rafael Marquez Lugo goal at Dick's Sporting Goods Park to take second place. Both Mexican teams finished with four points at 1-1-1 but Pachuca advanced by the first tiebreaker, head-to-head results.
For the record, the Galaxy's 6-5 victory earned it a semifinal match against the Group B runner-up in two weeks. Dallas (0-1-2) slumped out of the competition, and being shellacked for six goals - at home - by an MLS rival won't do wonders for a team still plagued with disgruntled players (Ramon Nunez) and a revamped defense.
In preseason, Galaxy coach Frank Yallop expressed confidence that Gordon would produce at forward, and he traded away Joseph Ngwenya, Santino Quaranta, Nate Jaqua and rookie Robbie Findley before Gordon recovered from a groin injury that kept him out for the first half of 2007. He has yet to play a minute in MLS, yet scored in a 2-1 SuperLiga victory against Pachuca last week and joined Chris Klein and Kevin Harmse on the scoresheet as the Galaxy amazingly blasted FC Dallas four times in the first 18 minutes.
Alvarez scored his first goal late in the first half yet FCD fans could have been forgiven if they'd departed midway through the second half with the score still 4-1. Then Juan Toja and Alvarez scored four minutes apart and it was Game On! for two minutes, until Donovan zipped free on a breakaway to dodge around keeper Dario Sala and deposit the ball behind him.
Time for stoppage time and more drama. Abe Thompson rattled the crossbar before Carlos Ruiz knocked home a deflected Drew Moor header: 5-4. Donovan set up Pavon: 6-4. Thompson powered a Dax McCarty corner kick into the net: 6-5. Finally came the final whistle after more than six minutes added on.
Somehow FCD had outshot its opponent, 25-8 and conceded six goals while scoring five. A packed house of 21,576 had seen everything but the absent David Beckham and many of them probably forgot why they'd come in the first place.
Pachuca scored its goal in the 62nd minute. Christian Gimenez drove a free kick from the right flank into a crowded goalmouth right to Lugo, who firmly nailed a header into the net for his second goal of the tournament. Though Pachuca played the crisper soccer for much of the match, a few acrobatic saves from keeper Miguel Calero were needed to keep Guadalajara off the board.
The tournament has lost its two main draws, Club America and Guadalajara. But it still has Pachuca, Gimenez, Gordon, and Donovan, not to mention one more day of group play.
July 31 in Frisco, Texas
FC Dallas 5 Los Angeles 6. Goals: Alvarez (Moor) 43, Toja (Oduro 78), Alvarez (Toja) 82, Ruiz (Moor) 91+, Thompson (McCarty) 96+; Gordon (Donovan) 3, Klein (Donovan) 12, Gordon (Harmse) 15, Harmse (Gordon) 18, Donovan 84, Pavon (Donovan) 95+.
Los Angeles -- Cannon, Roberts, Abel Xavier, Harden, Jazic, Gray, Klein, Harmse (Kirk, 55), Vagenas (Glinton, 92+), Gordon (Pavon, 46), Donovan.
FC Dallas -- Sala, Moor, Rhine (Pitchkolan, 26), Serioux, Gbandi (Thompson, 75), Saragosa (McCarty, 46), Ricchetti, Toja, Alvarez, Ruiz, Ricardinho (Oduro, 21).
Yellow cards: FC Dallas -- Saragosa, 37, Toja 48+, Alvarez 49+, Ruiz 97+; Harmse 13, Gordon 49+, Gray 56, Jazic 58, Donovan 84.