Carson, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Galaxy scored two goals in a late rally Sunday night to salvage a 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls.
The Red Bulls came into town to face off with the Galaxy in front of 25,671 fans at the StubHub Center with both teams sitting in fourth place in their respective conferences. The Galaxy returned home following a 1-1 draw in Seattle last weekend, and were without Gyasi Zardes, who is still recovering from an injury.
In the first half there were tough tackles called by head referee Hilario Grajeda, and missed chances on goal. Early on it appeared that New York scored in the 17th minute when Bradley Wright Phillips shot on goal with Brian Rowe out of the net, but Ashley Cole headed it out as Grajeda called offside.
In the 30th and 32nd minutes, New York had to sub in Aurelien Collin and Sal Zizzo for Damien Perrinelle and Connor Lade due to injuries from tackles on the ball.
LA had their share of chances in the first half, but none was greater than Giovani dos Santos' opportunity in the 35th minute after he lost two defenders in the box and shot on goal, only to have it blocked out.
The first half ended with New York and LA playing seven minutes of stoppage time, however neither side could get a goal. Jelle Van Damme received a cross from dos Santos and scored, but he was correctly called offside.
New York had much of the same trouble in the second half with Bradley Wright Phillips falling to injury and then subsequently yelling at Grajeda while he was being subbed out.
Early in the second half, Van Damme had another opportunity near goal with a header from a free-kick, but Luis Robles of New York was in position to save the shot. Then in the 65th minute, Steven Gerrard played the ball from the wing and found Jeff Larentowicz with a cross. Larentowicz headed it to dos Santos in front of goal, but he wasn’t able to connect with a shot.
In the 68th minute, New York finally brought the game’s first goal when the ball was played ahead for Gonzalo Veron. LA’s Brian Rowe charged and Veron chipped it over Rowe before the Galaxy defense could catch up to him.
The Red Bulls seemingly put the game away in the 74th minute when Sean Davis got the ball in the box and lost the LA defense. Davis’ shot scored in the right corner past Rowe giving New York a 2-0 lead and a commanding position in the match.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made substitutions and LA answered in the 81st minute when dos Santos’ cross found Gerrard, who headed it down to the feet of Mike Magee for the redirection into goal.
The game’s last minutes were dramatic, and included two shots from New York in the 82nd minute that would have sealed the match for the Red Bulls, but Rowe was able to charge and make saves on both. Rowe, one of four MLS ‘keepers with a GAA below 1.00, was also involved in a play that some believed should have been a penalty-kick call in the 85th minute, as he made contact with Alex Muyl.
The match’s excitement hit its peak in the 89th minute when dos Santos played the ball to Gerrard and he crossed it into the box. The cross was intended for Robbie Keane, but it was deflected over him and made its way to Ashley Cole at the back-post. Cole stayed composed, settled the ball at his feet, and then scored with a strong left-footed shot past Robles to tie the game at 2-2.
Throughout the game, Jesse Marsch and his team were constantly arguing with the referees, and in stoppage time after Rowe made a diving attempt for the ball and a New York player fell, the Red Bulls erupted and Marsch was thrown out of the game, making a scene while leaving the pitch.
The draw put LA in a tie with Real Salt Lake for third place in the West. The Galaxy will host Colorado next Saturday at the StubHub Center.
By Brian Kowalski
Reporter for TheDailySportsHerald.com