Omar Gonzalez leaped up to be the hero in Chicago as his 90th minute header equalized for the Galaxy. After Landon Donovan missed a penalty kick to put the G’s ahead in the first half, Collins John made sure to capitalize as he put the Fire on top late in the game. Playing with 10 men Chicago almost came away with all three points, but as luck would have it Omar showed his strength and character getting the goal in the dying minutes.
The game started off with a bang as a rogue elbow from Gonzalo Segares sent Leonardo to the ground on a free kick situation. Referee Mark Geiger immediately pulled the Red Card and awarded the Galaxy a penalty, and their first real chance to go ahead in the game. ‘Captain America’ Landon Donovan would step up to take it, but 22 year old keeper Sean Johnson would guess right and hit the ball away. It’s another unlucky bounce for the Galaxy, but they would keep on pressing to get that goal.
Tristen Bowen responded immediately with a nice low shot that went just wide of the post. A few minutes later Edson Buddle showed his ball control and lack of passing skils, choosing not to lay the ball off to an open Todd Dunivant, and instead faking every which way allowing defenders to get back in the box. He finally found Donovan in a sea of Red, but the captain could not complete his shot off. Donovan would have one more chance to equalize before the half ended as Alex sent in a perfect cross to the open striker. Donovan met the ball unchallenged, but as he tried to head the ball to the far corner it came off too hard and went flying way wide.
As the second half started the 10-man Fire looked strong, taking it to the Galaxy physically in an attempt to keep their lead in tact. It was only a matter of minutes, but Chicago got good looks from Brian McBride and William Conde which both went wide.
Landon almost provided that spark for the G’s when his back heel got the ball to a streaking Sean Franklin. The defender met the ball with great pace, but he hit it too hard and Johnson saw it speed just past the goal.
The man advantage would start to play a role in the final ten minutes as Los Angeles pressed hard to break down the Chicago defense. Against the run of play Gonzalez committed a foul just outside the left corner of the box. Collins John stepped up to take the free kick and spun a curving bullet into net in the 88th. It was low, and curved right around the box to tuck neatly into the net right behind the far post. It was devastating for the G’s, as they looked sure to lose another one in a game where they dominated long stretches.
The breakthrough would finally come in the 90th from a corner kick delivered by Donovan. Last seasons Rookie of the Year Omar Gonzalez would track the flight of the corner superbly, jumping leaping perfectly to head the ball into the back of the net. It was a wondrous moment for the 21 year old, knocking in his second goal of the season to break the G’s 2 game losing streak.
After the game he told the media “They just put everyone behind the ball and did really well to shut us down and kudos to them for scoring again so I am happy that we just got the tie and getting a point here is great for us coming off a two-game losing streak so hopefully we can go home and get a win.”
The next home game he was referring to is against the East leading Columbus Crew on Saturday (9/11) at the Home Depot Center. The Crew are now level on points with the Galaxy for the top spot in the league and Supporters Shield race. Tickets are still available as we will hopefully see our first glimpse of David Beckham this season.
LAGalaxy.com Game Review
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.