BRIDGEVIEW Ill. – Omar Gonzalez scored in the 91st minute, earning the visiting Los Angeles Galaxy a dramatic 1-1 draw with the 10-man Chicago Fire in front of a sellout crowd of 21,068 at Toyota Park on Saturday afternoon.
Gonzalez rose over Fire defender Wilman Conde to head home Landon Donovan’s corner kick from eight yards out. The finish was made all the more dramatic by the fact that that the Fire had taken the lead merely minutes before.
Substitute forward Collins John gave Chicago the lead in the 88th minute. The Dutch forward – who had come on for midfielder Patrick Nyarko in the 82nd minute – curled a 19-yard free kick from the left side of the field around the Galaxy wall and into the back of the net.
The Fire's rookie goalkeeper Sean Johnson made a couple of crucial saves to help earn the hosts a point, including one from Donovan's first-half penalty kick.
The PK was awarded after Gonzalo Segares appeared to elbow LA defender Leonardo in the box. The referee showed the left back a straight red card and awarded the Galaxy a spot kick in the 23rd minute.
Donovan – who finished two PKs against the Fire on Aug. 1 – seemed poised to give the Galaxy the lead, but his low shot didn’t beat Johnson, who dove to his left to smother the tame effort.
Fire head coach Carlos de los Cobos made a pair of adjustments after Segares’ ejection. Mike Banner moved from left midfield to left back and Nery Castillo dropped to left midfield from his forward position.
The alterations didn’t do much to slow down the Galaxy, who nearly scored in the 29th minute. Galaxy forward Edson Buddle made a mazy run through the box, weaving his way past several Fire defenders before finding Donovan near the penalty spot. The LA captain looked toward the right post, but Fire forward Brian McBride made a sliding tackle, knocking the ball away before Donovan could shoot.
Donovan missed another chance in the 40th minute. Winger Alex Cazumba found the World Cup vet in the right side box with a cross from the left corner, but Donovan failed to capitalize, putting his eight-yard header wide of the far post.
McBride should have put Chicago ahead in the 70th minute. Fire midfielder John Thorrington found McBride with a looping free kick to the back post from the right wing. Although he was relatively unmarked, McBride couldn’t take advantage, sending his five-yard header over the bar.
LA Galaxy 1, at Chicago Fire 1
Los Angeles Galaxy (13-5-5)
Chicago Fire (6-7-7)
CHI -- Collins John 3 (unassisted) 88
LA -- Omar Gonzalez 2 (Landon Donovan 12) 91+
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant (Mike Magee 82), Tristan Bowen (Bryan Jordan 61), Dema Kovalenko, Jovan Kirovski, Alex Cazumba (Eddie Lewis 71), Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle.
Substitutes Not Used: A.J. DeLaGarza, Chris Klein, Michael Stephens, Josh Saunders.
Chicago Fire -- Sean Johnson, Steven Kinney, C.J. Brown, Wilman Conde, Gonzalo Segares, Patrick Nyarko (Collins John 82), John Thorrington, Logan Pause, Mike Banner, Nery Castillo (Calen Carr 69), Brian McBride (Krzysztof Krol 77).
Substitutes Not Used: Corben Bone, Baggio Husidic, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Andrew Dykstra.
CHI -- Gonzalo Segares (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 21
CHI -- Logan Pause (caution; Reckless Tackle) 63
LA -- Omar Gonzalez (caution; Tactical Foul) 87
CHI -- Collins John (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 88
Referee: Mark Geiger
Referee's Assistants: -Anthony Vasoli; Steven Taylor
4th Official: Peter Manikowski
Time of Game: 2:01
NOTE: Chicago Fire Rookie Goalkeeper Sean Johnson saves a penalty kick taken by Galaxy captain Landon Donovan in the 23rd minute.