United gains 2-2 draw in season opener in Los Angeles

DC United gave up two late goals this afternoon and had to slump back to RFK with only one point after going up 2-0 early in the second half on the Los Angeles Galaxy. Christian Gomez marked his return to the Black and Red with a penalty kick conversion in the 44th minute to give the visitors the lead. The play was set up by midfielder Rodney Wallace who headed on a Josh Wicks punt into the box for Gomez to run on to. Gomez beat former United midfielder Dema Kovalenko to the ball and he was dragged down.  The Argentine midfield calmly slotted into the left side netting for a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.

After the break it was all United. Slick combinations and timely passing displays allowed numerous chances for Clyde Simms and rookie Chris Pontius. It was the rookie however who made the play of the day. Rodney Wallace drifted down the left flank with Pontius just behind him. Wallace held the ball long enough to dump off to Pontius who drifted towards the middle of the field. When Pontius failed to have anyone follow him he continued towards the top of the box and curled a beautiful 20 yarder into the far side netting and gave what United felt was a commanding 2-0 lead in the 62nd minute.

It was not to be. A clash of heads from defenders Greg Janicki and Devon McTavish turned the game against United. While they were off the field receiving treatment, Los Angeles was wrongly awarded a penalty. Rodney Wallace was deemed to have handled the ball in the box but replays clearly showed the ball hitting the underside of his leg. Landon Donovan easily beat Wicks to halve the deficit. Los Angeles continued to pour forward and got the equalizer from what is quickly becoming a disturbing trend. Terrible marking in the back. Donovan was left all alone on the six yard box and easily headed in a non-contested cross from substitute Randy Paterson and United fended off a few more dangerous chances before the final whistle blew.

DC United played this match with four of their regular starters out of the lineup. Louis Crayton, Santino Quaranta and Fred didn’t even make the trip to California while Jaime Moreno did not get into the match basically because of the late game injuries to McTavish (who eventually subbed out) and Janicki.

United will play their home opener next Saturday evening against the Chicago Fire at RFK. The game will begin at 7:30 pm. Chicago defeated FC Dallas 3-1 in their season opener last night.