For the second consecutive year, DC United has gone into their match with the Los Angeles Galaxy into the 81st minute with a lead. For the second consecutive year, United sits and watches the Galaxy score twice to turn a sure win into a loss.
Although United did manage a 2-2 draw in the season opener last season, tonight’s 2-1 loss was especially painful considering the trials and tribulations of the team all season long. United midfielder Clyde Simms hesitated on a seemingly easy defensive clearance in the 82nd minute and watched Landon Donovan swoop in and go around Troy Perkins with ease for the first of his two goals in 6 minutes as Los Angeles defeated D.C. United 2-1 last night at the Home Depot Center.
Donovan, who scored both goals in last years season opener, got the game-winner in the 87th minute when Tristan Bowen’s cross bounded through the goal mouth and Donovan redirected his header to the far post giving Troy Perkins no chance and the Galaxy leapt past Real Salt Lake to the top of the table with the win. With the win, United is now officially eliminated from the playoff race, though everyone knew this months ago with United getting off to such a poor start to the season.
While most of the season has been about United’s inefficiency in front of goal, and trust me it did play a small part in the loss, tonight’s loss was on the defense. United had played just about their most complete match of the season until the defensive blunder in the 82nd minute by Simms. United were on their way to their first back-to-back wins of the season.
Andy Najar put United in the lead in the 60th minute on a scramble inside the Galaxy penalty area. The play started when Pablo Hernandez flicked on a ball to Danny Allsopp. Allsopp then let Najar jet in and take the ball towards goal. Najar put a diagonal pass onto the foot of Santino Quaranta who cut the ball back into the path of Branko Boskovic. Boskovic did well to slide and get a shot into the gut of the onrushing Donovan Ricketts. The ball spun out towards the top of the box where Najar calmly slotted a left-footed shot into the empty net.
Pablo Hernandez had an opportunity in the 79th minute to double the lead but his left-footed curling shot was telegraphed and easily palmed away by Ricketts. Even with the dagger equalizer by Donovan, United again had a chance to go back into the lead when Quaranta’s pass sent Boskovic in on goal. Again, the left-footed shot from the Montenegran seemed telegraphed and it ended up being a routine save for the big Jamaican goalkeeper. Seconds later though the Galaxy got the game-winner and put a final hammer blow to United and put the Black-and-Red officially out of their misery.