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Dallas Soccer News - FC Dallas DC United, Kenny Cooper, Andre Rocha, Jeff Cunningham

FC Dallas crushes DC United pushes for playoffs

Published 9/28/2008 4:13:33 PM by staff from dallas
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In a meeting of a pair of teams fighting for their playoff lives, FC Dallas got goals from Andre Rocha, Jeff Cunningham and Kenny Cooper for a dominating 3-0 win over DC United at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco.  Andre Rocha got Dallas off to the fast start with a goal in the ninth minute.  The goal would stand up until Jeff Cunningham scored early in the second half before Kenny Cooper's stoppage-time goal capped the win. United played the final six minutes a man down after Jaime Moreno was sent off in the 84th minute.

It was the first victory in three tries for FC Dallas against DC United at Pizza Hut Park. It also ended a winless streak against DC that had reached six games.  The Hoops won consecutive matches for only the third time this season, while United lost for the third time in their last four league matches.  Rocha gave Dallas the early lead on a direct free kick from about 28 yards out. The Brazilian connected on a perfect ball that sailed some 24 yards in the air before bouncing just inside the six and floating into the far side of the net.   His goal came on the first shot of the game for either side and marked the first time this year that FCD had scored directly on a free kick. So far in 2008, the Hoops have found the back of the net seven times in the first 15 minutes of play and have a 5-0-2 mark when that occurs.

In the 22nd minute, DC United's Ivan Guerrero was booked after delivering a hard shoulder to FC Dallas rookie Bruno Guarda. Once again, Rocha took the resulting free kick, from almost the same spot from which he scored but on the opposite side of the field. Rocha delivered another well-struck ball that found the head of Cooper, but his effort was right at Crayton and he made the save from close range.   For much of the first 30 minutes, play in general was choppy and inconsistent as neither side held possession for long periods. The visitors finally logged their first shot of the day in the 32nd when a ball from Luciano Emilio from just outside the Dallas box went to the left of goal.

United head coach Tom Soehn was clearly not pleased with his side's performance in the opening half and in the 41st minute went to his bench. Gonzalo Martinez came on for Santino Quaranta, who was visibly less than pleased about coming out just before the break.   When Quaranta came off, Soehn made a tactical adjustment, switching to a 3-5-2. Guerrero moved into midfield and United employed a three man backline of Devon McTavish, Gonzalo Peralta and Bryan Namoff for the balance of the match.

Right after halftime, that alteration resulted in a pair of chances for the visitors. In the 52nd, Guerrero struck a nice cross from the left flank that found Emilio at the far post, but his header sailed to the right of the  Dallas goal.  And in the 54th, Thabiso Khumalo received a nice cross inside the box but struck the ball too strongly and it sailed high. Then, just seconds later, Emilio dashed up the left flank and was met by  goalkeeper Dario Sala, who denied the chance. Emilio appeared to injure his left hamstring on the play and in the next minute was taken out in favor of Rod Dyachenko.

That set the stage for Cunningham to deliver a crushing blow to the visitors. His goal, his fifth in seven games since joining the Hoops, was set up by a spot-on delivery from Marcelo Saragosa. After losing the ball on the left flank, Saragosa won it back, quickly flashed up the flank and struck a ball in Cunningham's direction.   Cunningham, who had a step on Martinez, stuck out his right foot and got enough on it to put it past goalkeeper Louis Crayton to give his side a 2-0 edge. It was Saragosa's second assist of the season.

In the 62nd, Dyachenko had a chance to pull one back for United but Sala made a nice stop on his shot. Four minutes prior, the Sala made another solid save on an effort by Khumalo.  Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman made a pair of changes with around 20 minutes left. In the 68th minute, he brought on Duilio Davino, who has missed the last seven games with a toe injury, for Aaron Pitchkolan. And one minute later, speedy Dominic Oduro came on for Cunningham. Both Pitchkolan and Cunningham received rousing ovations from the Hoops faithful as they left the field.

Moreno was shown the door with six minutes to play after a hard elbow on Rocha. With Rocha marking him tightly, Moreno visibly showed his frustration and delivered a punishing right elbow to his face. Referee Ricardo Salazar was right there and quickly went to his back pocket to show the MLS veteran the straight red.   Just before the final whistle, Cooper connected for his 15th goal of the year. The Dallas striker dribbled into the United box, where he sidestepped United's Clyde Simms. Unchallenged, Cooper easily beat Crayton to his left. The Hoops are not 19-1-7 all-time when Cooper scores.   With the win, FC Dallas remains in fifth place in the Western Conference, but stay within three points of second-place Chivas USA. The Hoops will have a quick turnaround before hitting the field on Thursday night against San Jose. DC heads back home and will play host to Chivas USA next Saturday at RFK Stadium in league play, after a midweek date with Mexico's Cruz Azul in CONCACAF Champions League action.

Label: FC Dallas DC United, Kenny Cooper, Andre Rocha, Jeff Cunningham
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