Charlie Davies 90th minute penalty kick conversion gained D.C. United a valuable early season point at home in their 1-1 draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy tonight at raucous RFK Stadium. The controversial call from referee Abby Okulaja to award United the spot kick was the culmination of a very tense and physical match that saw the Black-and-Red reduced to 10 men when Santino Quaranta was sent off for his second yellow card offense in the 84th minute. Second half substitute Jovan Kirovski was shown a straight red after the final whistle was blown, no doubt arguing the call that got United the equalizer.
The visiting Galaxy however jumped into the lead in the 12th minute. David Beckham’s laser precise corner kick was nodded home by Mike Magee as he was moving away from the goal giving Bill Hamid no chance in goal for United. Hamid, making his MLS season debut, had little to do the rest of the match as both teams struggled to put many good opportunities together. United didn’t even register their first shot on goal until the 32nd minute of the game. Before that however the Galaxy were twice fortunate not to have players sent off. Todd Dunivant’s reckless challenge on United defender Chris Korb’s overlapping run in the 29th minute should have seen red for the severity of the collision. The Galaxy escaped even further harm when Beckham’s viscious scissor tackle from behind on Josh Wolff was inexplicably only given a yellow card in the 41st minute. Most people would agree had it been any other player besides the world-renowned Beckham, it would have been a straight red with no arguments from anyone.
United continued to battle against the stingy Galaxy defense and just when it seemed that United were heading for their third straight loss of the young season, Branko Boskovic, making his first appearance at RFK this season, sent Charlie Davies into the left side of the penalty area. Davies juked and then pushed the ball past ex-Maryland Terp defender Omar Gonzalez. As Davies appeared to turn the corner, the Galaxy defender got in his way and Davies went down and the penalty was awarded. The Galaxy immediately surrounded referee Okulaja and for once this season, United were perhaps beneficiaries of a loose call.
Davies stepped up and calmly and cheekily chipped the ball dead straight ahead as Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts dove to his right in vain to send the crowd of 26, 622 into delirium. While United did well to battle back and gain the draw, not everyone was happy with the result. “I’m glad we battled back and got the draw, but honestly, it wasn’t good enough tonight and that is my fault,” said United head coach Ben Olsen after the match. “We were fortunate to get the result.”
- defender Perry Kitchen was scheduled to start tonight’s match but fell violently ill overnight and was replaced by fellow rookie Ethan White. “He was a stud,” said Olsen “he’s a gamer, a type of player that you know will rise to the occasion, he did very well tonight.”
- Landon Donovan was not listed on the 18-man roster tonight as he was rested ahead of a 3-games in 7 day road trip for the Galaxy