The game in 100 words (or less): The ways in which Bruce Arena (successfully) manipulates his own lineups and that of his opponents are staggering. For instance, playing just two days after their mid-week tussle with Real Salt Lake, the LA Galaxy started Gyasi Zardes alone up top against FC Dallas on Saturday night. When they took the lead in the second half, Arena proceeded to take off a pair of central midfielders and replace them with two forwards. When Bruce does things like this, it almost always works like a charm. This time, it didn’t quite work out in Bruce’s favor, as FCD equalized three minutes after Arena’s second sub was made. Nine minutes later, FCD scored the equalizer. All hail Mauro Diaz.
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Three moments that mattered
59′ — Zardes heads home the corner kick, 1-0 Galaxy — Gyasi Zardes will — and has already — score many more beautiful goals than this particular bouncing, slow-rolling header, but they all count the same. In fact, those breaking a 0-0 deadlock on the road often feel as though they count for more.
77′ — Perez finishes off Diaz’s magical chip — Mauro Diaz, what a playmaker. When healthy, this guy pulls the strings for FCD like no other player in MLS. His chipped through ball to Blas Perez in the 77th minute? Slightly NSFW.
86′ — Akindele finishes off another beautiful ball from Diaz — As I was saying, Mauro Diaz’s service from midfield is very NSFW. Just have a look at this ball he plays 45 yards across the field, to Tesho Akindele, who has the composure to create his space and fire past Jaime Penedo.
Man of the match: Mauro Diaz — As great as Fabian Castillo has been — and he’s been great — Diaz is the difference between FCD being “very good” and “MLS Cup contenders.” When he takes over, he changes games before the other team even knows what hit them.
FC Dallas: Kennedy, Hernandez, Watson, Zimmeman, Harris, Ulloa, Acosta (Bekker 60′), Hollingshead (Akindele 46′), Diaz, Castillo, Perez (Michel 85′)
Goals: Perez (77′), Akindele (86′)
LA Galaxy: Penedo, Rogers, Meyer, Gonzalez, Gargan, Juninho, Husidic, Vayrynen (Gordon 68′), Maganto (Jamieson 74′), Ishizaki, Zardes
Goals: Zardes (59′)