for this game

FC Dallas dominates D.C. United

Sep 28, 2008 - 11:17 PM By Ken Costlow PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

FRISCO, Texas (Ticker) -- With only five games remaining in the MLS regular season, FC Dallas had an opportunity to pull even with one of the teams is chasing for one of the final playoff spots.

Goals from Andre Rocha, Jeff Cunningham and Kenny Cooper enabled Dallas to do just that in a 3-0 shutout of D.C. United, 3-0, on Sunday at Pizza Hut Park.

The victory moved FC Dallas (8-9-9) level with D.C. United (10-13-3), each with 33 points. FC Dallas holds the advantage on goal differential, however.

The result marked the first home win for FC Dallas over D.C. United since 2004, at the Cotton Bowl, and the first victory against them overall since 2005. The two sides played to a 2-2 draw two weeks ago in Washington, D.C.

After ripping the Chicago Fire, 4-1, last weekend on the road, FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said he challenged his players to repeat that same performance in front of their home fans.

"We knew it would be difficult because of the heat and playing against a very good strike force," Hyndman said. "(United) sure came at us in the second half, and I think it showed the strength of our defense. And (goalkeeper) Dario Sala had an exceptional game today. I think our midfield worked extremely hard."

Rocha gave FC Dallas the early advantage nine minutes into the contest. Set up for a direct free kick 35 yards to the left of the D.C. United goal, Rocha lofted a right-footed shot over United goalkeeper Louis Crayton and into the right corner of the net.

Crayton, as well as all of the United defenders, seemingly were left frozen on the play.

"It was a hard line drive that I had been working on with Drew (Moor) in practice," Rocha said. "I wanted to put it in his direction so that, in case it did get deflected, it would come to him. When you put the ball in on goal like that, it makes it complicated for the goalkeeper. When you keep it on frame, there is always that risk - do you put it in or does it get through."

In the 23rd minute, Rocha had another free kick go into the box, where Cooper headed a shot that Crayton deflected at the last second before it was cleared off the line.

D.C. United only had one shot on goal in the first half, coming in the 32nd minute, when Luciano Emilio fired wide of the left post.

One minute into first-half stoppage time, defender Devon McTavish sent a cross in from the left side of the Dallas goal, but Blake Wagner intercepted the ball in the box and cleared it out right before halftime.

Cunningham doubled FC Dallas' lead at the 56-minute mark on a short flick past Crayton off a cross from Marcelo Saragosa. Saragosa had taken the ball from Adrian Serioux on a throw-in and been dispossessed, but won the ball back before delivering a short cross to Cunningham.

It was Cunningham's fifth goal in seven games since joining FC Dallas from Toronto FC on August 8.

D.C. United's frustrations boiled over in the 84th minute when Jaime Moreno, the all-time leading scorer in MLS history, was sent off with a straight red card for a flagrant foul on Rocha, who had just been whistled for a foul, delivering an elbow to Rocha's face.

Moreno will miss D.C. United's next match against Chivas USA next Sunday at RFK Stadium.

Finally, three minutes into stoppage time, Cooper collected a ball in the midfield circle, dribbled in about 35 yards and drilled a 15-yard right footer past Crayton to seal the three points for FC Dallas.

It was Cooper's 15th goal of the season, putting him four goals behind league leader Landon Donovan of the Los Angeles Galaxy.

"Dom (Dominic Oduro) worked really hard to create some space for me and, fortunately, it went in," Cooper said. "I want to make a positive effect on this team, whether it's scoring goals or getting assists. I know there are many ways to contribute to this team and it's not always just goals."

The disappointment etched on the face of D.C. United coach Tom Soehn after United fell to 0-3-2 in the five games since its last victory, a 3-0 win over Colorado on August 23.

"The situation we're in is something we're going to have to turn around and fix as fast as we can," Soehn said. "We've put ourselves in this spot. I didn't see (the red card), but Jaime has got to do a better job when he's provoked of being smart enough to realize how much these games count. Since we will miss him for the next game, it has cost us two games, not just one."

  • MLS

    Sep 28 5:04 PM

    FC DALLAS GOAL: Kenny Cooper in the 89th minute

    D.C. United 0, FC Dallas 3  2nd - 89'Sep 28 4:58 PM

    FC DALLAS GOAL: Jeff Cunningham in the 56th minute

    D.C. United 0, FC Dallas 2  2nd - 56'Sep 28 4:22 PM

  • MLS

    Sep 28 3:53 PM

    FC DALLAS GOAL: Andre Rocha in the 9th minute

    D.C. United 0, FC Dallas 1  1st - 9'Sep 28 3:20 PM