Sept. 14, 2013
TWO MORE POINTS LOST
Galaxy twice lose leads, settle for draw in D.C.
The Galaxy failed to hold onto a lead again Saturday afternoon -- two of them this time -- and dropped a couple more points in a disappointing 2-2 draw at D.C. United.
|Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo punches away one of DC United's seven shots on goal during Saturday's 2-2 draw at RFK Stadium.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Robbie Keane struck early and Michael Stephens came off the bench for a late goal, but the worst team in MLS -- the aggressor most of the match -- rallied from both deficits to take points for just the seventh time in 25 games since Week 3.
Kyle Porter, also a second-half substitute, netted the decisive goal, an open 84th-minute header from Perry Kitchen's cross after Leonardo kept him onside. It was the 18th MLS goal L.A. has conceded in the final 15 minutes and stoppage this season, and they've added up to 14 points lost, enough to give the Galaxy a substantial lead in the Western Conference and Supporters' Shield races.
Instead, L.A. (13-10-5) are third in the West, five points behind Seattle and four in back of Real Salt Lake, and they could be fifth before the night is over. Portland (at Chivas USA) and Colorado (home against FC Dallas) would leapfrog the Galaxy with victories Saturday night.
The goals and points conceded weren't the only negatives for the Galaxy. They lost defender A.J. DeLaGarza to a dislocated elbow in the eighth minute, and Landon Donovan departed at halftime with a sore left ankle suffered on a rough tackle near midfield just before the break.
Keane, Donovan, center back Omar Gonzalez and goalkeeper Jaime Penedo returned to the L.A. lineup after missing last week's loss at Colorado while away on World Cup qualifying duty, and the Galaxy looked like they might run away from D.C. (3-19-6) at the start.
They scored in the seventh minute, their fourth-fastest of the season, and it was, typically, product of the two superstars up front.
Donovan picked up a deflected ball about 15 yards outside the D.C. box and carried it toward the goalmouth, twirling when confronted in the box and backheeling to Keane just outside the 6-yard box on the right.
Keane pulled the ball inside with his second touch, sending goalkeeper Bill Hamid and defender Dejan Jakovic to the turf, then chipped the ball off Hamid's outstretched right arm and into the net.
It was Keane's 13th MLS goal of the season, his 16th in all competitions and 17th in all games -- and it was the 14th successive Galaxy goal, all competitions, that Keane and/or Donovan have scored or assisted.
DeLaGarza -- a Marylander, with 112 friends and family in attendance -- was hurt moments later, on D.C.'s next foray. He tried to halt Pontius on the right byline and landed awkwardly on his left arm, dislocating it, and Sean Franklin came on to replace him.
D.C. had more of the ball and were more proactive after L.A. went ahead, but Todd Dunivant and Penedo made stops on Chris Pontius to keep the hosts off the scoreboard, at least until the 39th minute.
Gonzalez, whose misplay in the box gave Pontius a chance in the 17th minute -- Dunivant cut off his shot from the left -- made another error, taking too much time to play a ball after pulling it down outside the Galaxy box.
Pontius, the Servite High School and UC Santa Barbara product from Yorba Linda, stepped in, dispossessed Gonzalez and raced in one-on-one with Penedo, beating the goalkeeper to the left and firing into an open net.
Keane nearly fired the Galaxy ahead in the 57th, firing just past the right post, and Hector Jimenez wasted a golden chance in the 60th, firing high and wide with an open shot in the box and the time and space to create something better. L.A. otherwise created very little going forward and needed the best from its backline and Penedo to halt D.C., which feasted on Dwayne De Rosario's work up front and Pontius and Nick DeLeon on the flanks.
Penedo had to make two big saves on substitute Conor Doyle, in the 79th and 80th minutes, and L.A. was again ahead moments late.
Keane brought the ball into the box from the left flank and fed it to Stephens, who had come on just four minutes earlier, just beyond the 18 near the semicircle. Stephens took a touch, then sent a laser that tucked in just inside the right post.
That should have been it, but D.C. wasn't done. Porter found his way into the box, and the Galaxy tried a offside trap, with Franklin stepping up on the forward but Leonardo moving a little too slowly. Perry Kitchen, in the middle maybe a dozen yards beyond the box, chipped in a cross, and Porter's open header left Penedo no chance.
Both teams had late chances to win. Zardes failed to shoot at the right post in the 90th minute when he had a chance after Gonzalez couldn't get his head onto a cross, instead trying to feed Gonzalez again, and the ball was cleared. De Rosario chipped from the right side of the box to Porter at the left post, but he couldn't get around on the ball and put it on frame.