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CD Chivas USA stumps FC Dallas

Apr 26, 2009 - 6:28 AM CARSON, California (AP) -- On a night when Chivas USA players and coaches said their team did not play well, the club nonetheless walked away content.

Atiba Harris and Alecko Eskandarian scored second-half goals as Chivas USA beat FC Dallas 2-0 before an announced crowd of 14,611 at Home Depot Center on Saturday.

Chivas, who now have a league-high five wins this season, played most of the final 65 minutes with an 11-on-10 advantage as FC Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala was sent off midway through the first half. Harris, though, picked up his second yellow card in the 89th minute and was ejected as well.

The stretch of time with a man advantage only frustrated the hosts, however, as the visitors still maintained their pressure and threatened Chivas' goal.

"It was one of those games that we didn't play well," Chivas USA coach Preki Radosavljevic said. "I would like to believe that that's a good thing, when a team that didn't play so well still finds a way to win."

Chivas (5-1-1) maintained their four-point lead over Seattle Sounders FC, who beat San Jose 2-0 on Saturday.

FC Dallas (1-4-1) matched Chivas on shots with 13 and had six shots on goal to Chivas' five. But Chivas goalkeeper Zach Thornton came up with six stellar saves.

"Frustrated, bewildered," FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said, describing how his team felt following Thornton's early saves. "He made some pretty good saves. He was outstanding in the goal."

Thornton turned away Kenny Cooper's point-blank header in the 11th minute away, then dived and stopped Dax McCarty from scoring on an open shot from six yards out in the 23rd minute.

"I actually thought it was going to continue through," Thornton said of the cross that led to McCarty's opportunity. "I was actually following the play. It hit someone and dropped right to McCarty. It looked like he was going to play it to my left so I just tried to get there as fast as possible."

In the 25th minute, Chivas' Chukwudi Chijindu darted past FC Dallas' defense, Sala left the penalty area and went down to try and stop Chijindu. Sala thwarted the breakaway but did so with his hand, and subsequently Sala was sent off with a straight red card.

Chivas did not do well to put pressure on FC Dallas' goal until Harris broke through midway through the second half. Mariano Trujillo crossed a ball into the penalty area from the right flank. Harris snapped a header attempt on goal and easily beat Ray Burse, who barely moved as the ball went past him and into the back of the net.

After Harris' ejection, Eskandarian raced down the middle of the field on a breakaway and beat Burse from inside the penalty area.

Chivas, who lost their first game of the season in a 1-0 setback at Toronto, bounced back in a less-than-prime performance, but FC Dallas also made it difficult on Chivas, players said.

"Give Dallas credit. They came in and pressed us pretty hard and we didn't deal with that particularly well," Thornton said. "Preki said we found a way to win and that's a very good sign when a team not on their best night finds a way to get a good result."