MONTREAL – The Landon Donovan Farewell Tour can’t be just blowout after blowout.
Donovan picked up his 132nd career assist on Wednesday night at Stade Saputo, but the LA Galaxy had to fight back to draw 2-2 against the Montreal Impact. Donovan is now three assists shy of Steve Ralston’s all-time MLS record, but he also saw yellow in the first half and will miss this weekend’s California Clasico in San Jose through caution accumulation – as will Dan Gargan.
The Galaxy (14-5-8, 50 pts) are now one point behind the Seattle Sounders in second place in the Western Conference. Montreal (5-16-6, 21 pts) remain bottom of the East, eight points from ninth-place Chicago Fire.
The injury-laden Galaxy started with a back three of Leonardo, Omar Gonzalez and Gargan, with Baggio Husidic and Stefan Ishizaki playing as wing-backs. But what worked against 10-man Colorado Rapids last Friday didn’t against a full-strength Montreal side, who tore the back three to shreds on the counter in the first half.
Montreal took the lead in the 28th minute. Felipe’s improbable curling pass from midfield foundIgnacio Piatti wide left. Piatti cut in and slipped it forward to Dilly Duka, who squared forMarco Di Vaio. The Italian finished from close range for his sixth of the season, then ran back to the bench to hug the Impact’s Karl W. Ouimette.
It was an emotional night for defender Ouimette, who lost his sister Julie to cancer last week. Stade Saputo observed an impeccable moment of silence for Julie – as well as fpr Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza’s late son Luca – before the game. The crowd also applauded during minute 34 – Ouimette’s jersey number –, and Ouimette eventually entered the game in the 59th minute. He replaced Hassoun Camara, who left after injuring his shoulder.
The Impact added their second in the 43rd minute. Duka released Felipe down the left, Piatti and Di Vaio racing through with him. The Galaxy defenders tracked back to prevent the 3-on-1 opportunity, but Felipe moved inside and cut the ball back to Piatti, who faked a shot in front of Leonardo before finishing low with his left.
Robbie Rogers replaced Ishizaki at the half as LA shifted to a back four. They kept pushing the game and got a reward in the 59th minute. Juninho blasted a low diagonal pass from the right into the box. No one got a touch on it until it reached Gyasi Zardes at the far post, who coolly tapped it home.
Alan Gordon entered the game in the 62nd minute and pulled the Galaxy level two minutes into his shift. From the edge of the area, Donovan managed to slip the ball through to Robbie Keane on the left. Keane’s low cross found a sliding Gordon, who squeezed in his third of the season.
Both teams are on the road this weekend, with Montreal traveling to New England to face the Revolution on Saturday and LA taking on the Earthquakes on Sunday.
LA Galaxy 2, Montreal Impact 2
Wednesday, Sept. 10 – 4:30 p.m. PT
MLS Regular Season
Stade Saputo, Montreal, Canada
MTL – Marco Di Vaio (Assisted by Dilly Duka, Ignacio Piatti) 28’
MTL – Ignacio Piatti (Assisted by Felipe Martins, Dilly Duka) 43’
LA – Gyasi Zardes (Assisted by Juninho) 59’
LA – Alan Gordon (Assisted by Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan) 64’
LA – Dan Gargan (caution) 37’
LA – Landon Donovan (caution) 44’
MTL – Ignacio Piatti (caution) 53’
MTL – Felipe Martins (caution) 80’
MTL – Calum Mallace (caution) 87’
LA Galaxy: Brian Rowe; Dan Gargan, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo; Stefan Ishizaki (Robbie Rogers 45’), Baggio Husidic (Alan Gordon 62’), Juninho, Marcelo Sarvas, Landon Donovan ©; Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes (Jose Villarreal 90’).
Substitutes Not Used: Brian Perk, James Riley, Tommy Meyer, Rafael Garcia.
TOTAL SHOTS: 16; SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 FOULS: 11; OFFSIDE: 2; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 3.
Montreal Impact: Evan Bush; Hassoun Camara (Karl Ouimette 59’), Matteo Ferrari (Wandrille Lefevre 45’), Heath Pearce, Eric Miller; Felipe Martins, Calum Mallace, Andrés Romero, Dilly Duka (Maxim Tissot 73’), Ignacio Piatti; Marco Di Vaio.
Substitutes Not Used: Troy Perkins, Mamadou Danso, Jack McInerney, Anthony Jackson-Hamel.
TOTAL SHOTS:8; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 11; OFFSIDE: 2; CORNER KICKS: 3; SAVES: 3.
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee’s Assistants: Phill Briere and Richard Gamache
4th Official: Mathieu Bourdeau