Dallas Soccer DFW

Cooper injury casts cloud over LA win

Published 6/12/2007 7:18:36 AM by staff from mlsnet.com

On any other night after a 3-1 win, the FC Dallas locker room would be a happy place to be. But after FCD's win against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night at Pizza Hut Park, the Hoops weren't exactly ready to celebrate.  Instead, they were more concerned about leading scorer and forward Kenny Cooper, who was injured in the 89th minute after a hard tackle by L.A. defender Tyrone Marshall. An X-ray of Cooper's right leg after the game confirmed that the Dallas native has a broken right tibia. He is expected to miss between six and eight weeks because of the injury. Marshall was sent off by referee Jair Marrufo for the tackle.

"It takes the shine off a good win and a good night for us," FCD head coach Steve Morrow said. "Our thoughts are with Kenny. We are obviously devastated for him. It's a big loss for us."  Morrow admitted that he didn't have a good feeling when Cooper went down late in the match.  "I feared the worst when I heard a huge crack (on that play)," he said. "Kenny is a guy who fights through those things and I knew it was serious when he couldn't continue."

Before the late injury, it had been a good night for the Hoops. They took the lead in the 25th minute on a goal from midfielder Juan Toja, his third of the season. It was the first game for the 22-year-old Colombian at the attacking midfielder spot that had been previously manned by Ramon Nunez, who did not play Saturday.

"It (moving him to that spot) is something that I've had in mind and wanted to try. I think getting wide in those positions, it fits his game," Morrow said. "He's very strong on the ball and is able to find gaps. We can get the ball into him with people on him. He's very strong for 90 minutes. I thought he was magnificent and that is something we will look at again."

The FCD head coach also offered rave reviews for defensive midfielder Marcelo Saragosa, who got his first start for the Hoops since suffering a knee injury in a 2-1 win at L.A. on April 12.

"I thought Marcelo did very well. He and Pablo (Ricchetti) held things together well for us in the middle of the field. He had a good game considering he hasn't had a full 90 minutes," Morrow said. "He got through the game well. He got a knock in his thigh in the second half and I was pleased with how he fought through that. He did a good job for the team today."

But the star of the night for the Hoops had to be forward Abe Thompson, who scored from the penalty spot in the 54th minute and an assist on Toja's goal. With those two plays, the ex-University of Maryland player now has been in on five goals (two goals, three assists) in his five starts this year for FCD.

"He's been very good," Morrow said. "He holds the ball up well for us and works very hard. He's a valuable part of what we were trying to do today-getting it into Abe and having guys running off of him. I thought he took his penalty very well."

Thompson is happy just to be contributing for his side. "I'm excited and happy to be contributing," he said. "I'm just trying to keep doing what I have been doing. Hopefully, I can keep contributing goals and assists."

His penalty kick goal was set up after L.A. defender Ty Harden took FCD forward Dominic Oduro down inside the box and was subsequently issued a yellow card. Thompson stepped up to the spot and had no doubt about what the end result would be.

"That's how I always take them. I saw (Joe) Cannon going the other way and it was just a matter of keeping it on frame on the other side," he said. "There was no doubt in my mind whatsoever. My last one was in an Open Cup game against D.C. United my rookie year. It's been a while." 

It was the first penalty kick goal by an FCD player at Pizza Hut Park since its opening in August 2005.  After Toja's goal, FCD let their guard down a bit and L.A. drew the match level with a goal by rookie Robbie Findley in the 41st minute. But Morrow let his troops have it a bit at the break and FCD came back out playing some inspired football.

"I think in the first half, we found it hard to move the ball," said Oduro. "We did a better job in the second half of coming in and keeping it compact. We did well in the second half and really played our game."  Sdded Thompson: "We were disappointed with how we ended the (first) half because we started well. We came in here and Steve (Morrow) yelled at us to make sure that we come out with guns blazing in the second half and get the win."

After Thompson's penalty, FCD added a third goal when Drew Moor headed in a Dax McCarty free kick in the 73rd minute to make it 3-1. It was Moor's second career MLS goal and McCarty got his team-leading fourth assist on the tally.  Saturday's win, which was FCD's sixth consecutive home win against the Galaxy, came as the Hoops set out on a three-game road trip before closing out the month at home with a June 30 meeting with in-state rival Houston.

"It was really important because we have three away games in a row coming up," Oduro said. "We needed a win to boost our confidence and we got it. This is really a good win for us to have going on the road."

FCD next plays Thursday at Real Salt Lake. The match will be televised on ESPN2's MLS Primetime Thursday. The Hoops then travel to Toronto for a Sunday afternoon match with Toronto FC.

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