Kyle Porter’s 84th minute headed goal earned D.C. United a well deserved but still unsatisfying 2-2 draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy this afternoon at sunny RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
Twice United fell behind the star studded Galaxy lineup but unlike any other time this season, United found the equalizing goal. Robbie Keane (above right; Photo Tony Quinn.) put the Galaxy up in just the 7th minute finishing off a nice sequence after Landon Donovan’s back heel. Keane faked out the United defense and slipped a shot towards goal that United goalkeeper Bill Hamid somehow managed to get a hand on but only slowed it down before settling into the net.
The usual response for United this season after allowing an early goal would be a game-long search that usually comes to nothing. Today was different however and United managed to take the play to the visitors and were rewarded for their efforts in the 39th minute due to a combination of good hustle from Chris Pontius and lazy defending from Omar Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, fresh off his 90-minute stint in defense for the United States during their 2014 World Cup clinching win against Mexico on Wednesday, seemed to make the wrong choice defensively by chesting a ball too casually and Pontius ghosted in and took the ball right off his foot. Pontius glided in all alone on Penedo and rounded the keeper and tucked his second goal of the season away to draw the match level at 1-1. Pontius was making his first start in nearly two months and scored his first goal from the run of play in nearly a whole calendar year.
After the break, Landon Donovan was subbed out with a minor ankle injury that could have been seen as an eye towards a crucial Tuesday night CONCACAF Champions league match for the Galaxy. In fact, considering how poorly United has played this season in combination with four of the Galaxy’s top players just coming off International World Cup qualifying duty, it was a bit of a surprise that head coach Bruce Arena decided to play essentially his top X1.
With United dictating the tempo since the opening Galaxy goal, seemingly their night was ruined when the Galaxy scored against the run of play in 81st minute. Rookie midfielder Gyasi Zardes’ quick switch of field pass over the United defense set Keane and midfielder Michael Stephens into a 2-v-1 advantage at the far side of the penalty area. With United scrambling back to try to defend, Keane slipped a pass to Stephens who calmly placed a shot to the left of Hamid and into the corner of the far side of goal for a 2-1 lead.
Under normal circumstances, this would have been the end of the game based on United’s terrible form this season. However, the Black-and-Red managed to pull out the equalizer through some nice work of their own deep in Galaxy territory. With United pushing players into attack, Perry Kitchen found himself at the corner of the penalty area and his deft chip over the defense found a wide-open Kyle Porter who’s one-time header easily beat Penedo to give United a much deserved share of the spoils.
United managed to put a scare into the Galaxy in stoppage time when team captain Dwayne De Rosario’s turn and chip to the far post nearly connected with Porter that would have given United a surprise come-from-behind win. But in a season that was over long ago, that would have been asking too much of a team that has been on the wrong end of the scoreline too many times.
United will now hit the road for two of their final three road matches of the season when they take on New England and Toronto FC starting next weekend in Foxborough, MA