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Galaxy creates space at top with win over Dallas

With three goals off set pieces arranged by smooth David Beckham, the Galaxy pull six points ahead of FC Dallas in Western Conference.

August 06, 2011|By Lisa Dillman
  • Midfielder Juninho scored one of the Galaxys three goals. Each was set up by David Beckham. Before Saturday's loss to L.A., Dallas had allowed only two goals in its previous four games.
Midfielder Juninho scored one of the Galaxys three goals. Each was set up… (Bret Hartman, Associated…)

Three set pieces — all engineered by one smooth operator by the name of David Beckham — and three goals.

Definitely the math the Galaxy can fully embrace.

And here's another number the team can wrap its head and arms around after Saturday's emphatic 3-1 victory over FC Dallas at the Home Depot Center in Carson: six.

That would be the points separating the Galaxy from Dallas in the Western Conference. The Galaxy padded their lead at the top of the conference by taking advantage of a suddenly shaky Dallas defense and a miscue on the first goal from goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who had a decidedly difficult night.

The first two Galaxy goals came off Beckham free kicks — scored by defender Omar Gonzalez in the first half and Juninho in the 62nd minute — and the third on a Beckham corner in the 81st minute, headed in by Mike Magee.

It might be easy to take Beckham's uncanny precision for granted because he makes it look so effortless. But of course, someone has to connect on the other end — and finish.

"Obviously he's made quite a reputation for himself over the years on set pieces, and he continues to have the ability to serve the ball in dangerous spots," Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said.

"When healthy, we have a couple players that can position themselves and attack the ball pretty well. We take advantage of it. It's all part of the game. Teams that can score goals off set pieces often win a lot of games. Obviously, he's an important part of our attacking scheme."

And here are some other numbers to consider. Dallas had allowed two goals in its last four matches before giving up three after it had opened the scoring with a quick blast in the ninth minute from Marvin Chavez.

Additionally, this was the first game Dallas lost this season when it had scored the first goal, having been 11-0-1.

It was a playoff-like, charged atmosphere from start to finish before 21,546. Bodies were flying, followed by yellow cards, six in all.

Arena went with a pairing of Magee and Adam Cristman up front, moving Landon Donovan back into the midfield. It was Cristman's first MLS start in a little more than a year.

"I thought they did well. Adam was a handful," Arena said. "Adam's been hurt for a good part of the season. We wanted to go with him tonight to play against two very good centerbacks that Dallas has, and I think he did a good job in battling.... Magee has played up there before, and it's a good position for him because I think Landon much prefers the midfield."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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