Falling Apart Twice

The Los Angeles Galaxy give up 2 leads in draw with DC United
by Jamie Pham   |   Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Galaxy of Angels – column on Los Angeles Galaxy (LA Galaxy) & the LA soccer scene.

Saturday’s game against DC United marked the return of the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 4 star players – Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez, and Jaime Penedo.

But unfortunately it couldn’t help LA salvage a victory as the Galaxy drew DC United 2-2.

And although they were playing the last place DC United, it did not turn out to be easy for the back-to-back MLS Cup champs.

The LA Galaxy started off fast and looked promising scoring an early goal in the 7th minute when Donovan hooked up with Keane once again, something the Galaxy sorely missed last week. 

However, DC took advantage of an Omar Gonzalez blunder in the 39th minute when Gonzalez tried to pull down a ball in the defensive 3rd instead of heading it back into the midfield. Chris Pontius, who was aware of the situation, jumped on the ball as soon as it landed on the ground and raced towards the LA goal where he juked Penedo and easily slid the ball into the net.

Michael Stephens scored his 1st goal of the season and his 2nd of his career in the 81st minute when he took a shot at the top of the box that caught DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid by surprise. It looked like LA would leave DC with the 3 points but that was not the case.

Leonardo tried the offside trap the whole game and did not have very good luck doing so as Luis Silva and Conor Doyle burned him a few times. This lead to DC’s 2nd goal in the 84th minute when he stepped up as Perry Kitchen played the ball over the top. Kyle Porter stayed onside as he took off and headed the ball in for the equalizer.

Both of United’s goals came off of defensive errors that could have been prevented if they were more aware of the situation. Gonzalez should have been more aware of who was around him and even he didn’t, he should have headed the ball out instead of pulling it down with the possibility of having a bad touch. And Leonardo shouldn’t have used the offside trap as much if it was leading to fast breaks and counters for DC.

When asked about Gonzalez’s mistake after the game, LA manager Bruce Arena said, “If it was a teaching moment, he failed – he got a bad grade, then. He’s experienced enough as a player now, he shouldn’t be in that position. Hopefully, he continues to grow from his experiences.”

“We were playing a lot of long ball—I wanted to start playing the ball on the ground and connecting some passes in the midfield, but on that certain play, I took a little bit too much time and [Chris] Pontius was good to be right on my heels. I didn’t see him there, and I just happened to lose the ball and give up the goal,” Gonzalez also said after the match.

As if that weren’t enough, LA lost 2 players due to injury during the game. Center back AJ DeLaGarza took a rough tumble and landed awkwardly on his left arm in the 10th minute and suffered a dislocated elbow and could be out up to one month. This is crucial because with DeLaGarza at rightback, Arena would probably to recall Sean Franklin who have been playing at the right midfield position the last few weeks and insert him in DeLaGarza’s place.

Donovan also had to leave the game at the beginning of the 2nd half due to a left ankle sprain when got tangled with Luis Silva at the end of 1st half.  He was still on the sidelines stretching it out so it looks like he was taken out precautionary reasons because of the condense schedule coming up the rest of the month. Arena said after the game that his “rolled” his ankle and it wasn’t “serious.”

Chalk it up to fatigue for Donovan, who could only play 1 half of the game, Gonzalez for making a crucial mistake that lead to a goal and Penedo allowing 2 goals in a must-win game. Whatever the reason may be, the Galaxy cannot let any more points go to waste as they have a very condensed schedule coming up that includes 4 games in 11 days (2 MLS and 2 CCL).

They must turn to their bench again for these strings of game to balance out playing time for the starters as they take on Isidro Metapan from El Salvador on Wednesday and then the red-hot Seattle Sounders this Saturday.

Hopefully, Stephens can use his performance on Saturday as motivation and rookie center back Kofi Opare as they will be definitely be called upon come Wednesday night.

NEXT UP: September 21 – CCL: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Isidro Metapan, StubHub Center, Carson, Calif. 10 p.m. EST, TBD.

Jamie PHAM

Pasadena City College
Club Domestic:
LA Galaxy
Club Foreign:
Former tour manager turned sports blogger, Jamie spends loads of time reviewing the Los Angeles sports scene and is a big MLS and USMNT supporter.