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Galaxy still can't get a victory

L.A. rallies for a 2-2 tie with Real Salt Lake in an entertaining game, but its winless streak is extended to 11.

September 07, 2008|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

You know the evening isn't going to go well when . . .

Your hotshot Argentine forward heads the ball into the back of the net five minutes into the game and then runs to midfield to perform a celebratory somersault only to find that the referee has denied his goal on an offside call. Worse yet, the hotshot sprains his ankle on landing and has to be taken out of the game.

Such was Real Salt Lake Coach Jason Kreis' introduction to Saturday night's game against the Galaxy at the Home Depot Center, a pulsating match that ended in a 2-2 tie.

Fabian Espindola was the luckless striker. He was clearly offside when he deflected midfielder Kyle Beckerman's blistering shot past Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Wicks, but he celebrated anyway -- and paid the price, leaving the field on crutches at halftime.

Let off the hook, the Galaxy took the lead 8:14 into the match when Edson Buddle got past a defender inside the Salt Lake penalty area and fired a diagonal shot that was going wide before Bryan Jordan showed up and redirected it into the net.

If Jordan sounds like an unfamiliar name, it should. The forward from Pasadena by way of Oregon State was making his first start for the Galaxy and only his second appearance, his first having been a seven-minute cameo way back on May 10.

Jordan's goal reaction was as enthusiastic as Espindola's, as he did a somersault and then leapt over the advertising boards to be hugged by fans.

Real Salt Lake got back on even terms in the 21st minute when the Galaxy's defense was caught asleep.

A ball played into the penalty area by Chris Wingert was headed out to the left by Kenny Deuchar and an unmarked Yura Movsisyan latched onto it and drove a shot past Wicks to knot the score at 1-1.

Movsisyan, a 2006 first-round draft pick from Pasadena City College, then helped create Real's go-ahead goal.

It came just over seven minutes into the second half, again when a player was left unmarked on the left. Midfielder Will Johnson passed the ball inside to Movsisyan, then ran into open space to accept the return pass before firing the ball in off the right post.

The game was an entertaining, wide-open affair, and it was odds-on that Los Angeles would tie it up.

It did so in the 69th minute, generating a roar from the sellout crowd of 27,000 -- a surprisingly large attendance considering that David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Eddie Lewis and Ante Jazic were all away playing World Cup qualifiers for their national teams.

Jordan created the goal, dancing past Salt Lake defender Ian Joy and crossing the ball for Buddle to stab past two defenders and goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

Both teams created other chances, but the tie held up, which was better news for Real Salt Lake (8-8-7, 31 points) than it was for the Galaxy (6-9-8, 26 points).

The tie left the Galaxy without a win in a club-record 11 games and Coach Bruce Arena with a loss and two ties in his three games in charge.

The streak was enough by Saturday night to leave the Galaxy in last place not only in the West but in the league as a whole, with the playoffs looking ever more distant with seven games to play.

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grahame.jones@latimes.com

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