Tampa Bay Sports Day

DC United steal a point from the Galaxy

Charlie Davies scored another second half penalty kick after a debatable decision to award the kick in the first place, to bring DC United to level terms with the Los Angeles Galaxy 1-1 before an energetic crow of 26,622 at RFK Stadium.

Mike Magee nodded home a David Beckham corner kick in the 12th minute and that looked to be the only goal of the match until Davies equalized with his third penalty kick and fourth overall goal of the season in the 89th minute.

After some quick and crafty dribbling got Davies past Omar Gonzalez in the penalty area, the big defender stuck his left arm out and made slight contact with Davies; slight contact.

Davies fell to the turf and referee Abiodun Okulaja took the bait and pointed immediately to the spot, causing him to be bum-rushed by at least three Galaxy players including David Beckham and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.

The young star stepped up and took his own kick, beating Ricketts with a cheeky chip down the middle.

“My job is to come in and change the game – to bring energy and use my skills to get a goal, whether scoring or creating (a goal),” said Davies, who leads the league in goals scored despite not starting a game.

“I saw an opportunity to get the ball and go against the defense. I saw Omar Gonzalez and I was one-on-one with him, and I thought this is my bread and butter, I have to go at him. I did a step over and was able to get by him, but he put his hands on me and I was able to get a penalty.”

At the time of the equalizer, United were a man down after Santino Quaranta was ejected for his second yellow card for two reckless challenges in the 85th minute. The Galaxy’s Jovan Kirovsky was also shown a red card at full time for arguing with Okulaja.

Los Angeles played without star Landon Donovan who stayed at home after not training for most of the week with a knee injury. Though hardly a fair exchange, United were without Perry Kitchen who came down with flu-like symptoms earlier in the day after recently returning from the U-20 World Cup Qualifying in Guatemala.

Despite the seemingly favorable result, United coach Ben Olsen was less than happy with the overall quality of his team’s performance. United were ineffective in moving the ball into dangerous areas as the Galaxy sat in and looked for opportunities to counter after taking the lead.

“I’m happy we battled back and found a way to get a tie, but overall it’s not good enough and that starts with me and I think we may be fortunate tonight and I will take the blame for that,” said Olsen. “Overall I thought we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be tonight, I thought the energy was there but we just weren’t a good enough soccer team. We need to become a better passing team.”

United’s inexperience showed repeatedly. Not only did they let the diminutive Magee score basically an uncontested goal off a set piece, they let two long balls bounce cleanly in front of their own goal, including a long throw that bounced nearly in the middle of the 6-yard box in the 26th minute.

“That is unacceptable at any level whether you are a young team, old team. We’ve got enough guys out there that are not young that we’ve got to take more accountability on these plays,” added United forward Josh Wolff.

“It doesn’t matter. We have a handful of guys that don’t have the years that others do, but they have years, they’ve got experience. You can only use the young card so long. We’ve got to grow and mature as a group and we can look at the video so much but we’ve got to start making the plays on Saturdays when it counts.”

Los Angeles pressured United near the center stripe, forcing numerous back passes to Hamid or a defender which led to 50/50 balls coming back the other way that the Galaxy repeatedly won.

“We didn’t give up a lot but on the flip side we didn’t create any clear cut chances in the final third,” Wolff said. “Most of it just has to do with just having some patience.

“We obviously gave up a goal in a disappointing fashion-on a set piece. It is something we have harped on the last two weeks and the smallest guy on the field gets free inside the six (yard box) and nods one in so it’s not the way we want to start the game.”

“At that point we understand what they are going to do-they are gonna sit back a little more and take their chances on the counters thus we should have more of the ball and at that point we don’t do well enough with the ball and creating the advantages around the field and that comes from making soccer plays; moving it and getting the advantages,” Wolff continued.

“We were just a little stagnant, a little slow at interpreting plays and it wasn’t good enough going forward and we got caught a couple of times in the back as well,”

As the intensity of play picked after the first quarter hour, so did the physicality.

The Galaxy’s Todd Dunivant earned himself a yellow card sliding well late into a challenge on a Dax McCarty ball played wide to the right, hammering Chris Korb in the process with a major collision that left both players weary in the 29th minute.

Quaranta took down Juninho with a hard, and late, shoulder challenge earning his first yellow card in the 39th minute. Apparently still a little charged up 2-minutes later, Quaranta exchanged some heated words with Beckham and had to be restrained after the superstar clipped Wolff from behind with a scissor-like tackle earning a caution as well. Quaranta’s second yellow came after a reckless stab at a loose ball caught Gonzalez squarely on the top of his foot.

On the ensuing McCarty free kick, Dejan Jakovic snuck into the back post and found a fortunate deflection but his left footed shot on a bouncing ball missed wide.

After Hamid slid out to deflect away a Galaxy cross from the right flank, the deflection found a wide open Magee but his shot toward the open goal was cleared off the goal line at the near post by an alert Ethan White in the 35th minute.

Magee nearly had the game winning assist in stoppage time, but his low ball across the face of the goal from the left side of the penalty area was just out of the reach of a sliding Sean Franklin near the back post.

D.C. UNITED: Hamid; Korb (Najar 72′), Jakovic, White, Burch; Quaranta, Simms, McCarty (Boskovic 80′), Pontius; Wolff, Brettschneider (Davies 53′)

Unused substitutes: Ngwenya, Fred, Woolard, Onstad

LA GALAXY: Ricketts; Dunivant, Leonardo, Gonzalez, DeLaGarza; Magee, Beckham (Kirovski 80′), Juninho, Franklin; Lopez (Cardozo 75′), Angel (Barrett 89′)

Unused substitutes: Saunders, Hejduk, Stephens, Jordan

LA Galaxy – Mike Magee 12′ (Beckham)
D.C. United – Charlie Davies 90′ (PK) | Video

Todd Dunivant – caution 29′
Santino Quaranta – caution 39′
David Beckham – caution 41′
Santino Quaranta – second caution/ejection 84′

Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Assistants: Chris Strickland, Adam Garner
4th official: John McCloskey