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FC Dallas and Chivas USA play scoreless draw

Published 10/12/2007 3:14:19 PM by staff from mlsnet
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Despite some late drama on both sides, FC Dallas and Chivas USA played to a scoreless draw on MLS Primetime Thursday on a perfect night for soccer at Pizza Hut Park.  FC Dallas finished the game with 10 men after Bobby Rhine was sent off in the 81st minute with a straight red card after a verbal altercation with referee Brian Hall. But FC Dallas had the best chance in the closing moments when Arturo Alvarez had Chivas goalkeeper Brad Guzan beaten, only to see his strike come back off the post.

Guzan was called upon to make five saves in recording his league-leading 12th shutout on the season, while FC Dallas goalkeeper Ray Burse had to make just one stop.  The visitors fielded a starting 11 minus their two top scorers in Maykel Galindo and Ante Razov. Galindo, who has 12 goals and five assists, was nursing an abdominal strain while Razov (11 goals, eight assists) was recovering from a left hamstring strain. Veteran defender Claudio Suarez was also on the bench, given the night off. Galindo and Razov both came on in the second half.

FCD head coach Steve Morrow also went with a different lineup. Up top, Kenny Cooper got his first start for the Hoops since June 9, when he suffered a broken right tibia in a match against the LA Galaxy with Abe Thompson, the reigning MLS Player of the Week after his two goals last Saturday in a 3-1 win over Columbus, as his strike partner.  In the Hoops midfield, Adrian Serioux started at the holding spot for the second consecutive week with Pitchkolan taking Serioux's place at center back. Right back Drew Moor moved to the middle to replace Clarence Goodson, who is out with a hamstring injury, with Rhine replacing Moor on the right flank.

Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan was active early on, and in the 10th minute had a nice look at the FCD goal but with lots of traffic around him, could only muster a slow roller to Hoops goalkeeper Ray Burse. That proved to be the only shot on goal of the game for Chivas.  In the 30th minute, the home side generated their best chance of the opening frame. Serioux hit a blistering ball toward the Chivas goal, but Guzan got down well at the right post to make a diving save and tip the ball over the endline.

Thompson nearly delivered his third goal in two games right before halftime. In the 44th, the FCD striker received a great ball from midfielder Juan Toja and took it up the left flank before cutting it back to the middle of the field. He advanced the ball alone into the Chivas box with defender Jason Hernandez in hot pursuit before hitting a shot that Guzan stopped with a kick save.  In the second half, the Chivas attack looked to have finally found some room to operate. A 55th-minute blast by Chivas forward Laurent Merlin was deflected away from danger, then in the 62nd minute, Hernandez sent a cross for Francisco Mendoza that was punched away by Burse. With the FCD 'keeper on the ground after the stop, Kljestan had a great look at an open net from about 18 yards out, but his effort went high.

Cooper was quiet for much of the evening in his first start in 17 matches for FCD, until the 64th minute when the Dallas native turned a Chivas defender just outside the six-yard box and got off a great close-range shot. But Guzan was there for the stop, and the Hoops got another chance on the ensuing corner, but Alvarez's effort was also saved by Chivas 'keeper.

Preki brought on his two top scorers with less than 30 minutes of play remaining. Razov entered the match in the 65th for John Cunliffe while Galindo came on for Merlin in the 68th.  Thompson made a nice run in the 72nd up the right flank but his attempted shot was deflected and fell at Cooper's feet. The FCD striker sent a scorcher toward Guzan, who was stationed near the right post, but he again made the save. The rebound popped free but there were no Hoops in the box and Guzan casually trotted out to cover the ball.

The visitors looked to have scored in the 76th when Mendoza received a great through ball from Kljestan to leave him all alone in the area. The Chivas midfielder put a shot past Burse and appeared to have made it 1-0 but the flag went up for offside.  Rhine's ejection came after Alvarez was shown yellow just seconds earlier. With Galindo streaking up the right flank, Alvarez caught him with a shoulder charge, an infraction that earned him a caution. In the ensuing discussion, Hall showed Rhine a straight red card.

With a man advantage, Chivas was able to muster a number of serious offensive chances. In the 82nd, Kljestan got a look but his shot went wide right. A Razov blast just a minute later went to the left of the FCD goal while Galindo's effort in the 86th was also wide right.  Then Alvarez nearly stole the game for the home side in the 90th minute. The left-footed midfielder was on the right flank and cut the ball back toward the middle of the field. He then hit a beautiful, curling left-footed effort aimed for the near post, beating Guzan's dive, but not the woodwork and the ball bounded back into play.

The win gives Chivas USA 52 points and moved them four points ahead of second-place Houston in the Western Conference, while they are still two points behind D.C. United in the race for the Supporters' Shield, given to the team with the best overall record. Chivas plays Colorado on Sunday; a win will clinch the top spot in the West regardless of what happens in the regular season finale against Dynamo on Oct. 20.  FCD now has 44 points, meaning they have clinched third place in the West. The Hoops will have nine days off before their regular season finale on Oct. 20 against Kansas City.

Label: FC Dallas, Chivas USA, MLS soccer, Arturo Alvarez, Bobby Rhine
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