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Dallas Soccer News - MLS, FC Dallas, Chivas USA, Ramon Nunez, Bobby Rhine, Juan Toja, Dominic Oduro

FC Dallas 2 Chivas USA 0, Nunez makes statement off bench

Published 7/4/2007 9:48:26 PM by staff from mlsnet.com
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Heading into Saturday's match with Chivas USA at Pizza Hut Park, FC Dallas had failed to score multiple goals in four consecutive matches. That streak came to an end as the home side got goals from Ramon Nunez in the 41st minute and from Dominic Oduro in the 86th to hand their MLS Western Conference rivals a 2-0 defeat.  For Nunez, the goal was his first since he netted a pair in a 3-1 win against Colorado on April 22. He had not been in top form and lost his starting spot to Colombian midfielder Juan Toja after a 2-1 loss at Houston on June 3.

The Dallas native had played a total of 45 minutes in FCD's last five games -- seeing action only as a second-half substitute in a 4-0 loss at Toronto FC on June 17.  FCD head coach Steve Morrow was adamant that the 21-year-old midfielder was never in anything less than his good graces.

"He was never in the doghouse," Morrow said. "He was never in there with me. I kept saying to him the last few weeks that he had to fight hard to win a place back in the team with everyone else. He got his chance tonight. It probably took a little longer than he wanted. But he got his opportunity and took it very well."

Nunez entered the match from the substitutes' bench in the 11th minute after starting midfielder Marcelo Saragosa suffered an injured right knee after a tackle by Chivas USA forward Maykel Galindo. Saragosa was attended to by the FCD training staff for several minutes before leaving the field.

"Obviously, I wasn't happy coming into the match and am still not happy, but I was a professional about it," he said. "I had to come in and do a great job for my team. I'm not at the 90-minute level yet since I haven't played in a while. I was thankful to get in there and score a goal to help my team out."

When the Hoops lost Saragosa, Morrow admits that it definitely adversely affected his team's shape.

"I think losing Marcelo affected the overall shape of the game. Our shape was a bit messy and we didn't always have guys in the right spots defensively," Morrow said. "In the last few weeks, we have had a good shape to our team defensively and I think Marcelo early in the game certainly affected that."

Morrow was also concerned about the recurrence of Saragosa's knee injury. Saragosa was injured on April 12 in a game at the Los Angeles Galaxy and missed a month with a sprained MCL in his right knee.

"We know that he has re-aggravated the injury he had earlier in the season," Morrow said. "We will re-assess it tomorrow and he will probably have an MRI to see what the extent of the injury is." Wednesday's win was FCD's first win against Chivas USA in their last five matches against them. Prior to today, the Hoops had last defeated Chivas on June 11, 2006, when they bested them 2-1 in Frisco from goals by Carlos Ruiz and Roberto Mina.  Ruiz led FCD with four shots on Wednesday but is still without a goal since April 12.

"Another frustrating evening for Carlos (Ruiz) and I'm frustrated for him as well," Morrow said. "He got a few more good opportunities tonight, a couple he made himself and a couple he made good moves on. It's just not going his way at the moment."

Even after losing Saragosa, FCD for the most part limited Chivas' chances, especially in the second half, when the home team outshot them by a 10-4 margin.

"They had a couple of chances in the first half. We weren't doing a great job of keeping the ball today and were pretty sluggish in terms of passing," said FCD right back Bobby Rhine. "It's always good to know that you can go out and still get a good result even when you know you're not at your best. I think that's a good sign for our team and the depth we have. It's always good to get a win like this in the middle of the season."

Nunez's goal was set up by a nice feed from Arturo Alvarez, who found his teammate in the middle of the field. The Dallas native then launched a wicked blast from 20 yards out that sailed past Chivas USA goalkeeper Preston Burpo inside his right-hand post.

"I think we were getting in behind them quite a bit," Nunez said. "I found an opening and Arturo (Alvarez) sent me a great ball and I had a shot. Luckily it went in."

Label: MLS, FC Dallas, Chivas USA, Ramon Nunez, Bobby Rhine, Juan Toja, Dominic Oduro
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