The Los Angeles Galaxy began their longest road trip of the season on Saturday, April 9, with a 1-1 tie against D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Mike Magee scored in the 12th minute off a David Beckham corner kick to put the Galaxy in the lead, 1-0. The Galaxy continued to press their advantage in for the rest of the first half, but failed to get another past the United defense.
In the second half, the Galaxy were content to just maintain their 1-0 lead and only attacked on counters. The strategy worked despite the pressure that United put on the Galaxy backline in the last 45 minutes. When Quaranta received his second yellow card of the match and was ejected in the 82nd minute, it appeared as though the game was over for United. However, despite being down a man, D.C. continued to pressure the Galaxy. In the 89th minute, United forward Charlie Davies was fouled in the Los Angeles box by Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez. Davies was granted a penalty kick, which he converted for the tying goal.
It’s always nice to pick up points on the road, but this loss hurts. The Galaxy had this game in the bag and gave it away. Here are five thoughts on the match:
Galaxy set pieces are their keys to victory
The Galaxy’s last three goals have been off set pieces. It’s comforting to see that the Galaxy can depend on free kicks to generate offense, but it’s concerning that they aren’t finding other ways to score.
Second straight physical game
Last weekend’s match against Philadelphia yielded 10 cards between the two teams. There weren’t nearly as many cards on Saturday, but there was still plenty of physical play in this match. At the center of much of the physicality was Beckham. He was yellow-carded for the fourth time this season. Beckham’s card issues are something the team needs to address. The Galaxy will need him active if they are going to challenge for the championship this season.
Donovan Ricketts is the best goalkeeper in the league
There are plenty of talented goalkeepers in the league right now, but none is better than Donovan Ricketts. The Galaxy defense was constantly pressured in the second half, but Ricketts was everywhere. They are a different team with him in the lineup.
The Galaxy did not play to win
Los Angeles had United on the ropes going into halftime. United’s attacks on the Galaxy box were often sloppy and ineffective in the first half, and as long as the Galaxy pressed forward in the second half, they should have been able to hold on for the win. However, the Galaxy came out in the second half and just played defense; they didn’t pressure United at all. Instead they sat back and allowed D.C. to take their shots. It almost worked, but in the end, Los Angeles’ conservative game plan failed. I have never understood why teams settle for one-goal wins. I’d rather see the Galaxy try to seal the game instead of risking a tie or loss. The Galaxy should have won this game.
Penalty kick warranted
Many Galaxy fans are going to disagree, but the replay is clear: Gonzalez fouled Davies in the box, and there was no one in front of him. There wasn’t that much contact and the referee didn’t need to give a penalty, but it was warranted. Davie was at an angle far to the right of Ricketts. Davies wasn’t going to score. There was no need for Gonzalez to foul Davies.
The Galaxy travels to Toronto for the second game in their road trip on Wednesday, April 13.