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Galaxy snatches a tie from the jaws of victory

L.A. begins three-game MLS trip by dominating D.C. United for 89 minutes, but a late penalty-kick goal Charlie Davies gives United a 1-1 draw.

April 09, 2011|By Grahame L. Jones
  • Mike Magee scores on a header in the 12th minute to give the Galaxy a 1-0 lead, a tally that would stand until the 89th minute of the eventual 1-1 tie with DC United on Saturday.
Mike Magee scores on a header in the 12th minute to give the Galaxy a 1-0 lead,… (Chuck Myers / MCT )

Before setting out on their three-game trip Thursday, Galaxy players and coaches talked about how being on the road for 10 days or so would be a positive.

"It'll be tough, but from our standpoint we'd rather have this kind of a road swing than having to go back and forth logging all those miles," said defender Todd Dunivant.

"It could be a good thing," said midfielder David Beckham. "We're together as a team and you bond when you're away together for so long."

For Coach Bruce Arena the games at Washington, Toronto and Chicago were a matter of business as usual, nothing more.

"It's never easy but we've been through it before," he said. "We understand the challenges and we'll get after it."

The Galaxy started to "get after it" Saturday afternoon at RFK Stadium and things went well for 89 minutes. Then the team fell apart as D.C. United scored on a last-minute penalty kick by Charlie Davies to snatch a 1-1 tie.

Compounding the late meltdown, Galaxy midfielder Jovan Kirovski was red-carded by referee Abbey Okulaja after the final whistle for something he said while complaining about the penalty kick call.

That call came when Davies sprinted into the Galaxy's penalty area, where defender Omar Gonzalez fended him off with one hand. Davies went down as soon as he was touched. No foul was readily apparent, although there was contact.

The late goal denied the Galaxy the three points for the win and left Arena's team with a 2-1-2 record. D.C. United improved to 1-2-1.

The Galaxy, playing without starters Landon Donovan, out with a bruised knee, and Chris Birchall, serving a suspension, dominated the match.

It took the lead in the 12th minute when Mike Magee headed in a Beckham corner kick and, although the team created few additional scoring chances, its defense kept the game in the Galaxy's favor.

Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts made two key interventions in the second half to thwart D.C. United. First, he rushed out of his area to clear the ball with forward Josh Wolff threatening. Then, Ricketts made a snap save on his goal line when Chris Pontius headed a corner kick toward the net from close range.

The Galaxy seemed poised to win, but Davies' goal, his third of the season, changed that outcome.

grahame.jones@latimes.com

Jones reported from Los Angeles.

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