WASHINGTON – They may be the worst team in MLS, but D.C. United showed plenty of fight, coming back twice to tie the defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy 2-2 at RFK Stadium.
United netted a late 84th-minute equalizer on a header by substitute Kyle Porter and it came just three minutes after the Galaxy looked to have sealed an important three points through a Michael Stephens finish.
Stephens beat DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid with a perfectly-placed shot for his first goal of the season on a set-up by Galaxy captain Robbie Keane. But Porter would reply with his second goal of the season, heading home a cross by Perry Kitchen. It was only the third time in 2013 that DC scored two or more goals in a game.
Last-place D.C. (3-19-6, 15 points) also snapped a two-match losing skid, while the Galaxy (13-10-5, 44 points) maintained their third-place standing in the Western Conference playoff hunt behind the Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake.
LA looked to be in for an easy afternoon when Keane opened the scoring in the 7th minute for a full-strength Galaxy side, which started Keane, Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and Jaime Penedo after all returned from international team duty. It was Donovan who fed Keane with a clever back-heel pass for the Irishman's 13th goal of the season.
But in the 39th minute, Chris Pontius leveled the match for an equally full-strength United side that managed to salvage only their second point this season after conceding the first goal.
After the strong initial burst from LA, United eventually found their footing and capitalized on a poor turnover by Gonzalez on the Galaxy back line. Pontius, starting for the first time in eight matches, stripped Gonzalez and sidestepped Penedo before chipping in his second tally of the season. It was also Pontius’ first goal during the run of play since Sept. 15, 2012.
The Galaxy will leave RFK Stadium with two injury concerns as Donovan was subbed off at halftime with what the club called a "left ankle problem." Meanwhile, defender A.J. DeLaGarza left the match in the 10th minute after a nasty fall near the end line that resulted in a dislocated elbow. DeLaGarza was replaced by regular right back Sean Franklin.
Both teams traded chances in a fluid second half, which included two shots by Conor Doyle that were saved by Penedo, before the wild final 10 minutes.
United will next travel to New England to face the Revolution on Saturday while the Galaxy have a huge match looming the same day when the play host to league-leading Seattle.