Charlie Davies was the hero again for DC United, scoring a 90th-minute penalty as D.C. United battled back to secure a 1-1 draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy Saturday night at RFK Stadium. It seemed that United would go down to their third consecutive defeat before Davies, a 53rd-minute substitution, slinked into the penalty area before going down under a challenge from Omar Gonzalez. Referee Abbey Okulaja ruled that Davies had been pulled back illegally, awarded the spot kick, and it was Davies himself who did the honors, chipping the ball right in the middle of the net to secure a well-earned point for United and notch his fourth goal in three United appearances.
"Any time I'm one-on-one [with a defender], I'm going to attack," Davies said. "Omar stepped up and put his arm in my chest, and that's a foul." The Galaxy didn't quite see matters that way, surrounding and remonstrating with Okulaja both immediately following his call and after the game. Jovan Kirovski, who came on for Beckham in the 81st minute, went too far in the course of his debate and received a post-match red card.
The crowd of 26,622 at RFK Stadium, the largest crowd for a United league game in three years, saw the Galaxy take a 12th-minute lead after Mike Magee outjumped United's rookie defender Chris Korb to head David Beckham's corner past Bill Hamid, who was making his first league start of the season for the home side. The well-placed dead ball gave Beckham his third assist in five appearances for the Galaxy. From there United labored to find an equalizer, but were often stymied by Los Angeles' defense. In fact, the Galaxy should have been 2-0 at halftime, but Magee's 41st minute shot was cleared off the line brilliantly by rookie defender Ethan White, who was handed a full MLS debut by Ben Olsen when it became clear this afternoon that Perry Kitchen was going to miss the game with the flu.
United's best chance to equalize prior to Davies' penalty came in the 75th minute, when Chris Pontius' low, powerful header was well stopped by Los Angeles goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, who moments earlier had come racing off his line to deny Josh Wolff when it appeared that the veteran forward put himself clear through on goal in the 68th minute.
United ultimately finished the game with 10 men after Santino Quaranta was sent off for a second bookable offense in the 84th minute after committing a hard foul on Gonzalez. Baltimore native Quaranta had previously received a yellow card in the 39th minute after Okulaja judged that the D.C. United man had hit Los Angeles' Brazilian midfielder Juninho in the head with his forearm in the midst of an aerial challenge. In truth, Quaranta was lucky to escape with a verbal warning shortly after his initial yellow card, when he got in the face of Beckham after the former England captain executed a rash tackle from behind against Josh Wolff that on might have seen the former Manchester United and Real Madrid man sent off on a different day, but only earned him a caution tonight..
D.C. United return to the road next Saturday as they travel north of the border to face Toronto FC at 4:00 p.m. That game can be seen on Fox Soccer Channel.
Full analysis of this game -- including quotes from Ben Olsen and others, as well as my player ratings -- is coming up soon.