2. MLS: Donovan looks to get shots

THURSDAY NIGHT PREVIEW
LOS ANGELES-FC DALLAS

(ESPN2, 7 pm PT/10 p.m. ET)

By Ridge Mahoney

It's back to work for FC Dallas and the Galaxy, both which tied their opening games last weekend, and also for Eric Wynalda.

Wynalda served a one-match suspension Saturday during the ABC broadcast of Colorado's 2-1 victory over D.C. United at Dick's Sporting Goods Park for comments he made about ESPN sportscaster Jim Rome, whose open hatred of soccer has prompted reaction from Wynalda in the past. In a free-wheeling exchange with fans who invited him to sit down for a beer during a visit to Tampa two weeks ago, Waldo let loose on a variety of subjects, unaware that his comments were being tape-recorded. The comments were posted on a Web site, fulhamusa.com, and drew the suspension and fine of $5,000.

The controversy may drive up ratings for the debut of "MLS Primetime Thursday." Thursday's ESPN2 telecast is one of nine to be allotted an expanded two-and-a-half hour time slot. The network, whose parent company signed an eight-year agreement in 2006 under which it will pay a rights fee and control production, is unveiling some new technical gimmicks to enhance the telecasts.

For the Galaxy, which came back from Houston with a 0-0 tie, its home opener is another good test of the changes instituted by Coach Frank Yallop. He's using a 4-3-3 formation that aligns Landon Donovan in the center of midfield, supported by a pair of teammates. With the change in position, Donovan has brought a change in attitude, if not philosophy.

"There were times last year when I came off the field after a game and I'd be thinking, 'You know, I really didn't get a good chance at goal all game," he said prior to the match in Houston. "For whatever reason, I wasn't getting close enough to the goal as often as I should have been. I have to be getting shots and getting shots for my teammates consistently, every game. That's my job and I'm making a conscious effort to do that this year."

There are also changes in Dallas, which rallied for a 2-2 tie in Salt Lake City last weekend on a goal in the 94th minute by Carlos Ruiz, who is playing atop a 4-2-3-1 formation instilled by new head coach Steve Morrow. Juan Carlos Toja, a 21-year-old Colombian on loan from Argentine club Independiente, is manning the center of midfield in support of Ruiz and midfielders Ramon Nunez and Kenny Cooper, whose goal in the 19th minute opened the scoring.

The teams split the season series last year, with both teams winning their two home games. Dallas has a terrible record against the Galaxy on the road -- 16 losses, three wins, and two ties -- and has yet to win or even tie against the Galaxy at HDC in eight matches.

Yet Morrow says, "As a coach, I know that is someplace that we haven't done well in the last few years and I'm looking to put that right. We are looking to attack them and get on them early in the game. We're looking forward to it. We think we can go anywhere and get a result."
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