"Have they stopped scoring yet?"
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.
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
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.