The game was there for the taking. Even playing without injured captain Landon Donovan, the LA Galaxy appeared to have done enough to take all three points from RFK Stadium. That D.C. United were down to 10 men made the outcome all the more likely.
However, United’s Charlie Davies had other thoughts. Davies darted into the penalty area in the 89th minute, drew a penalty and converted the ensuing spot kick as the Galaxy were denied points at the death and settled for a 1-1 draw.
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: D.C. United 1, LA Galaxy 1
The result did not sit well with Galaxy midfielder David Beckham.
“Disappointed, disgusted,” Beckham said. “I felt we deserved the game. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be walking away from this stadium tonight with three points.”
On the play that led to the penalty, United’s Branko Boskovic slipped a through ball to Davies, who found himself one on one with Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez. Davies juked toward the endline, to which Gonzalez reacted by reaching out his arm. The United striker, upon feeling the slight contact, took a tumble.
Referee Abbey Okulaja pointed to the spot and United had the opportunity they’d hoped for.
It might have been a different situation if the Galaxy had been at full strength. Despite coach Bruce Arena’s midweek assessment that Donovan needed rest, it seems a knee injury kept Donovan from traveling with the team.
Still, the visitors did well to work together, to play as a unit and that play, Beckham said, should have been rewarded with more than just a point.
“I don’t think there’s much to improve on because I think that we played well,” Beckham said. “We passed the ball around well, we worked well, we defended well, so we just need to continue that. There’s not much that we need to work on, but we need to just work on obviously playing like that again and hopefully winning.”
The Galaxy needed to fill two voids. Along from Donovan, Chris Birchall was out, forced to sit due to a suspension from last week’s red card. To compensate, Arena started Sean Franklin at right midfield and inserted A.J. DeLaGarza in defense. Also, Mike Magee earned his second start of the season.
Magee responded by knocking in his first goal of the season. Early in the match, Beckham swung a corner kick from the left corner to the near post and Magee leapt up and hammered the ball past United ‘keeper Bill Hamid.
“When you come on the road you try to weather their storm, especially in DC,” Magee said. “They like to come out fast so to get a goal, that definitely played to our advantage.”
However, Magee said he should have done better to extend the Galaxy’s lead.
“Personally, I think that I had some good chances that I kind of squandered and I think on a better day I could have had two,” he said. “But we fought hard tonight on the road. We deserve two points and we felt we were robbed of it.”