U.S. Open Cup
Gomez volley sends Galaxy past Dallas 1-0 for title.
CARSON, Calif. (Wednesday, September 28, 2005) -- Striker Herculez Gomez scored a spectacular goal midway through the first half, lifting the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 1-0 triumph over visiting FC Dallas in a meeting of Major League Soccer clubs to win the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
With Gomez recording his sixth goal in four Cup matches, Los Angeles captured the Dewar Cup for the second time. Gomez tied Melvin Tarley of the Minnesota Thunder of the second-tier United Soccer League's First Division as the 2005 Open Cup's high scorer. Tarley's Cup performance earned him a MLS contract with Real Salt Lake.
"For me, it's just a little bit of vindication for everything we've gone through all season, the long ups and downs," Galaxy coach Steve Sampson said. "For these guys to bring home the Cup in front of our home crowd, it's truly very special. You can see how hard they worked tonight.
"We've had troubles all season long and the lack of concentration toward the end of the game. Tonight, we didn't show that. We played with a lot more intelligence. Dallas brought everything they could, sliding neat balls in from every single part of the attacking half of the field. . . The guys played with a lot more concentration and a lot more wisdom than we have had in previous matches."
In 2001, the Galaxy defeated the New England Revolution 2-1 in overtime in the Open Cup final. The Cup was first awarded in 1914.
L.A. has never lost to Dallas in six meetings at Home Depot Center.
The Galaxy outshot FCD 17-9, 6-1 on frame, not allowing Dallas to put a shot on goal until the closing moments.
"You couldn't say more about this team," L.A. midfielder Peter Vagenas said. "We have been taking a beating because we haven't been pitching shutouts but, that being said, we got it when it counts."
The match shifted decisively in L.A.'s favor in the 24th minute when forward Joseph Ngwenya carried through a pair of Dallas defenders before firing a shot wide left of goal. A minute later, defender Chris Albright won a ball on the end line and sent a cross into the box. Gomez elevated and found net from eight with an acrobatic scissors kick for the match's only goal.
"Chris Albright played in a pretty great ball." Gomez said. "It was just sitting up there and this is what dreams are made of. . . (Winning the Cup) is a big let out of frustration, a big sigh of relief. It's for the fans."
Gomez, who started the season as a developmental player before his roster status was upgraded, nearly added a second tally in the 74th minute. FCD defender Greg Vanney played a lazy back pass intended for goalkeeper Scott Garlilck, but Gomez intercepted. Gomez stepped around Garlick, but banged his shot off the right post.
In the 82nd minute, Cobi Jones fed fellow L.A. midfielder Pete Vagenas from the right flank. Vagenas gathered the pass, cut to the middle and curled a shot towards the top corner, but Garlick managed to get a hand on it.
Minutes later, Ngwenya used his speed for a breakaway, but Garlick slid out to break up the play.
Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman prevented Dallas from taking a 1-0 lead when he tackled the ball away from forward Roberto Mina on a breakaway in the 17th minute. The only shot Hartman was called on to stop was Mark Wilson's 17-yard drive in second-half stoppage time. He tipped it over the crossbar with his left hand.
"Clearly, we are disappointed to not win a final tonight, but we don't want this feeling again and we will do everything we can to make sure it doesn't happen again," Dallas defender Bobby Rhine said.
Los Angeles 1, FC Dallas 0
Lineups: Los Angeles - Kevin Hartman, Chris Albright, Ugo Ihemelu, Tyrone Marshall, Todd Dunivant, Cobi Jones, Marcelo Saragosa, Peter Vagenas, Landon Donovan, Joseph Ngwenya, Herculez Gomez (Michael Umana 91+). FC Dallas - Scott Garlick, Bobby Rhine (Steve Jolley 86), Clarence Goodson, Greg Vanney, David Wagenfuhr, Arturo Alvarez (Abe Thompson 69), Ronnie O'Brien (Oscar Pareja 53), Carey Talley (Aaron Pitchkolan 54), Mark Wilson, Ramon Nunez, Roberto Mina.
Total shots: Los Angeles 17 (Gomez 4), FC Dallas 9 (Pareja 3). Shots on goal: Los Angeles 6 (Gomez 2), FC Dallas (Wilson 1). Saves: Los Angeles - Hartman 1; FC Dallas - Garlilck 5. Fouls: Los Angeles 16 (Gomez 4), FC Dallas 23 (Mina 5). Offside: Los Angeles 4 (four tied with 1), FC Dallas 0. Corner kicks: Los Angeles 8 (Donovan 8); FC Dallas 5 (Nunez 3). Yellow card cautions: Los Angeles - Ngwenya 59, Gomez 69; FC Dallas - Rhine 9, Goodson 59, Wilson 59.
Referee: Alex Prus. Referee's assistants: Nathan Clement; Kermit Quisenberry. Time of game: 1:48. Attendance: Not reported at Home Depot Center. Weather: Clear, 89 degrees.