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Mauro Diaz steals show as FC Dallas records 3-2 victory over LA Galaxy

FC Dallas recorded a victory at home Saturday afternoon, defeating the LA Galaxy 3-2 at Toyota Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 18,355.

Mauro Diaz, who had been on the bench for the last four matches, stole the show from Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimović by assisting on all three goals in a standout performance.

“Great points,” FC Dallas coach Oscar Pareja said. “Three points that are pretty needed for the team at this stage, when we are building, grinding and just trying to put things together as well and at this point of the season, those higher spots in the standings are very positive.”

Diaz’s response was important for Dallas (4-1-4, 16 points), who elected to run a 4-2-3-1 formation instead of the 4-4-2 that had given them success lately. He did not even play in the last match against Los Angeles FC, but he’s remained upbeat and positive throughout his benching.

“Mauro has done a tremendous job understanding the initiatives and purposes that we have in our lineups,” Pareja said. “I gotta say I respect the professionalism shown since he is one of the best players in the league and the best players in this team also. He has understood it and he has been apart of the group and supporting his teammates.”

Said Diaz: “Very happy. Every player wants to be in the starting 11, and today I got the chance to be on it. I was able to be in the picture and a part of the game. I am very happy with the three assists, but I’m happier with the three points.”

The Galaxy (3-6-1, 10 points) have now dropped four matches in a row and Saturday’s game marked the third straight with a score of 3-2.

May 12, 2018; Frisco, TX, USA; FC Dallas forward Maximiliano Urruti (37) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the first half against the Los Angeles Galaxy at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

“Disappointed,” Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid said. “Disappointed because of the goals we gave up and even being down we had enough chances to equalize the game and tie the game up. We’ve got to defend better. We can’t give up the goals we’re giving up. We’re not defending well enough. Defending is not just defenders, but the whole team. We’re giving up soft goals and we can’t be giving up soft goals.”

Diaz found Maxi Urruti early on in the 28th minute. Urruti turned, as he did last week against Los Angeles FC, and took a shot from outside the box, beating David Bingham to make it 1-0.

“He was the Mauro that we know,” Pareja said. “In a game that we needed. Hopefully, we can keep building on not just him but everyone on the roster.”

Dallas doubled that lead in the first half, with Diaz finding Roland Lamah making a run past the defense. Lamah was onside and put the ball past Bingham to give FCD a 2-0 cushion going into the half.

The Galaxy came out of the second half with a flurry of shots and attempts, including a goal by Ola Kamara off a Romain Alessandrini corner in the 47th minute. Kamara smashed the ball with a bullet header to make things close at 2-1.

Alessandrini nailed the post minutes later off a long attempt and the Galaxy gained momentum.

Lamah also had a solid game, securing two goals and the game-winner in the 53rd minute. Diaz dribbled past an injured Jonathan dos Santos, danced around defense, faked a cross and then played the ball into the box, finding the head of Lamah at the back post. Lamah scored on a header to cut off the momentum of an early Galaxy run.

The game turned in the 73rd minute when Reto Ziegler took down Alessandrini as he was making a run. Referee Jose Carlos Rivero gave Ziegler his second yellow for the foul, leaving Dallas down a man.

“The creation of the three points were for those players that stayed on the field for that period of time, where they needed to grind and fight to sustain the score,” Pareja said.” They have the character to do it. Those little things are going to shape the team into a team that can get results when they need to.”

LA began to pile on the pressure and it cracked when Reggie Cannon mistimed a slide tackle on Ashley Cole, which led to Cole squaring a ball to Emmanuel Boateng to tap it in. Dallas was on edge, holding onto a 3-2 lead.

After a Jacori Hayes foul on Ashley Cole, Ibrahimovic lined up the free kick and nailed the post in the 89th minute.

“I just didn’t get around [Cole] on the second ball,” Hayes said. “I tried to beat him to the spot and he felt some contact and he did what he was supposed to do. It’s on me for that one, just gotta get around him to block the shot instead of trying to beat him to the spot.”

I think today we’re unlucky,” Ibrahimovic said. “We were losing 2-0, it was difficult and we have to chase the game again. We got to 2-1, then they went 3-1, we go 3-2 and have a couple chances, but I think we were unlucky today, but we are working hard. Hopefully, this will turn around and get the wins that we want.

Ola Kamara looked to have a sure goal in stoppage time but his shot went straight to the watchful hands of Jimmy Maurer and the game was secured for Dallas.

FC Dallas will remain at home and face the Vancouver Whitecaps next weekend. The Galaxy will travel to Montreal to play a special match on Victoria’s Day next Monday in hopes of ending their slump.

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