George John headshot

Late Dallas goal and two missed PKs highlight eventful FCD-LA Galaxy match

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The Twitter world got it about right: Two simulations. Two bits of karmic justice.

(Twitter mostly said “dive;” I softened it up a bit.)

Actually, there was a little something in both PK calls Saturday in Dallas, where the home team pulled it out late. Eric Hassli, in the first big contribution for Dallas’ little used DP, assisted on George John’s point blank put-away in FCD’s late 1-0 win over the champs.

But it’s the blown PKs that will be memorable in this one. Or where they PKs? Probably … but the softest of them.

LA Galaxy center back Leonardo did hook Dallas forward Blas Perez in the second half at FC Dallas Stadium.

And Dallas center back John did stick out an unwise leg as Jose Villarreal attempted to scoot by him inside the home team’s 18.

Referee Baldomero Toledo pointed to the spot in both instances. Galaxy goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini saved Kenny Cooper’s attempt. And even more surprising, Dallas ‘keeper Raul Fernandez turned back Landon Donovan’s spot shot.

Donovan is good at these. In fact, he is now 34 for 37 from the little white spot in Major League Soccer matches, including playoffs. Even post-sabbatical Donovan would be among the best of bets to finish from 12 yards.

Again, it’s not exactly fair to call either forward’s action a dive. Perez, a big strong one, certainly could have fought through Leonardo’s little shoulder tug. On the other hand, the Galaxy center back put himself at big risk by going in aggressively from behind and getting his arm up on Perez’s shoulder.

In his case, it was double jeopardy since he was the last defender. The Galaxy, already weary from playing a mid-week match in Monterrey, had to play almost 30 minutes a man down.

And while John did get a leg out against Villarreal, the young Galaxy striker was looking for contact and could have easily sidestepped the center backs little stab.

(Check back for highlights)

Hilarious “Friends” spoof video ‘starring’ Messi, Ronaldo (video)

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Given the rivalry surrounding the two megawatt superstars plying their trade in Spain, you may be surprised to learn that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best of friends.

[ MORE: Top USMNT-Mexico rivalry moments ]

At least that’s what this spoof video conveys, as the Real Madrid and Barcelona stars help each other navigate tax season and toilet troubles.

Brilliant stuff, from FootbOle:

Top USMNT-Mexico moments: Looking back ahead of Saturday

PASADENA, CA - JUNE 25:  Landon Donovan #10 of United States celebrates his goal with teammates Carlos Bocanegra #3 and Alejandro Bedoya #22  against Mexico during the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Championship at the Rose Bowl on June 25, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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You could argue its the biggest match between the U.S. and Mexico outside of the 2002 World Cup’s Round of 16, and there would be few arguments against you.

The United States and Mexico will tangle on Saturday at the Rose Bowl, with the winner advancing to the 2017 Confederations Cup finals in Russia.

It’s only so often that these rivals match up in a “do or die” match. Sure World Cup qualifiers carry critical import, but they don’t always become the decisive moment in the qualifying cycle.

[ MORE: Spurs’ teen shining at center back for U.S. U-23s ]

Aside from the aforementioned World Cup match and the first match in the rivalry — see 1934 below — no other match has carried as much international weight as Saturday.

So with anticipation high, let’s dance backward in time to the Yanks’ best moments in the rivalry. And let’s also imagine what would have to happen to put Saturday in the mix.

(Of course, our apologies to Mexican fans. We aren’t including the times you slapped American soccer in the face).

2001, 2005, 2009, 2013 — “Dos a Cero” to the fourth power

There is no more celebrated score line in USMNT history than the 2-0 hurting it put on Mexico in four successive home World Cup qualifiers.

2002 — World Cup Round of 16

Goals from Brian McBride and Landon Donovan prodded an upset of the world’s then-No. 7 ranked nation, as the USMNT carried a feel of destiny through its best World Cup.

1934 — World Cup qualifier

Aldo Donnelli scored all four goals as the States won the first recorded match against Mexico, and it was a big one. The winner would go on to the 1934 tournament in Italy, while the loser would go on a tour of European friendlies. The States won, and wouldn’t win again until the qualifiers for the 1982 tournament.

2012 — First win at Azteca

It may’ve been a friendly, but Michael Orozco’s finish will go down as the Yanks’ first ever winner in the fortress of Mexico City.

1980 — World Cup qualifier

Though it meant little to the Yanks’ fate in the 1982 tournament — the U.S. finished last in a group with Mexico and Canada — it was the first win over El Tri in 46 years.