Thebecame the latest team to snatch all three points from a trip to RFK Stadium on Sunday night, as strikes from and gave the Californians a 2-1 victory over luckless .
Paced by the hard running of teenagerand new striker Pablo Hernandez, United fought gamely but could not overcome the gulf in quality between themselves and the league’s frontrunners, who now own an impressive 6-2-2 record away from the Home Depot Center.
Donovan and Buddle were given a far friendlier welcome than usual by the RFK crowd, as the home fans saluted their World Cup efforts with rousing applause during pregame introductions.
It didn’t take long for Donovan to threaten’ goal. In the first 60 seconds, LA’s No. 10 curled an instinctive shot over the crossbar after the D.C. goalkeeper muffed his take of a Galaxy cross.
United’screated havoc in the Galaxy penalty box with an in-swinging free kick a few minutes later, but no one in a black jersey could apply the final touch. That opportunity marked one of the home side’s few dangerous forays forward in the early going as the Galaxy edged the midfield battle and kept the ball well.
Buddle looked sure to score in the 22nd minute, when he beat a diving Perkins to’s low near-post cross. The striker, however, could not corral the deflected ball in time as Julius Jones tracked back to block Buddle’s angled shot towards the empty net.
United came close moments later whenblocked a Galaxy clearance and chased the loose ball into the L.A. box, clipping his half-volley high and wide of ’ goal.
The visitors broke through seven minutes before halftime on a strike that was well-earned by Buddle, albeit with a healthy dollop of luck.
Franklin hit a centering pass behind his teammate’s run, allowing a backtrackingto arrive first. King’s clearance, though, was perfectly read by Buddle and the LA man took it back into his own path and advanced into the United box. slid in to block the U.S. international’s first shot but couldn’t rise quickly enough to keep him from striking the rebound through Perkins’ legs for a 1-0 Galaxy advantage.
Quaranta quickly earned a dangerous set piece as the Black-and-Red tried to respond, but Ricketts gloved Hernández’s bending free kick.
That triggered a furious D.C. rally in the final seconds of the half as Quaranta and King saw on-target efforts blocked or saved and LA were fortunate to carry their lead into intermission.
The Galaxy nearly doubled their lead in the opening minutes of the second half thanks to the quick feet of Donovan. Dribbling atdown the left channel, the U.S. star swiveled onto his left and served a great diagonal ball to the far post, but Alan Gordan was barely late.
That miss was soon punished as D.C. equalized on a quality free-kick goal in the 54th minute. The left-footed Hernández curled in a delivery from the right flank and, when Buddle mistimed his leap, young Andy Najar took full advantage to thump a firm header past Ricketts.
The deadlock proved short-lived, however. Franklin seized a United turnover and lined up to take a crack from 20 yards out. James raced over to block, but he did so with his hands and referee Jasen Anno whistled for a penalty kick and awarded James a yellow card.
Donovan stepped up to the spot and rifled his finish inside the right post beyond Perkins’ outstretched fingers.
D.C. coach Curt Onalfo made two late changes ashad to replace a hamstrung Jakovic in central defense and Branko Boskevic came on for King. But with the exception of a few late set pieces, miscommunication and missed passes handicapped United’s offensive chemistry and Los Angeles rode out the final sequences to earn their 12th victory of the season.
LA -- Edson Buddle 11 (unassisted) 38
DC -- Andy Najar 3 (Pablo Hernandez 1) 54
LA -- Landon Donovan 2 (penalty kick) 58
DC -- Carey Talley (caution; Reckless Foul) 84
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Donovan Ricketts,, , , , Sean Franklin, , Juninho ( 62), Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle ( 77), ( 89).
D.C. United -- Troy Perkins, Devon McTavish, Dejan Jakovic (Carey Talley 69), Julius James,, Andy Najar, Stephen King (Branko Boskovic 73), Clyde Simms, ( 46), Santino Quaranta, Pablo Hernandez.
Referee: Jasen Anno
Referee's Assistants: Paul Scott; Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Andrew Chapin
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 92 degrees