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LA Galaxy and DC United Play To Scoreless Tie

Jonathan Kendrick |
June 3, 2011 | 11:44 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer


With Landon Donovan on national team duty, the Galaxy's offense sputtered. (Parke Brewer via Wikimedia Commons)
With Landon Donovan on national team duty, the Galaxy's offense sputtered. (Parke Brewer via Wikimedia Commons)
With captain and leading goal scorer Landon Donovan away with the United States national team, the question before the match was obvious: Where would the Galaxy goals come from?

The question remained unanswered Friday night as Los Angeles sputtered to a 0-0 draw with D.C. United before 20,036 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

"I think our performance tonight was totally poor," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said, adding that Donovan's absence had "nothing to do with" the team’s poor display.

The Galaxy defense did its job once again though, posting the team’s fourth consecutive shutout and earning a point for the MLS leaders (8-2-6, 30 points).

"Shutting them out was probably the only positive tonight," Los Angeles midfielder David Beckham said.

D.C. United came out eager to test Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders, who is filling in as the starter while usual starter Donovan Ricketts is away on Jamaican national team duty for the Gold Cup.

United midfielder Chris Pontius fired two long shots on frame in the 10th and 24th minutes, prompting routine saves from the backup keeper.

Landon Donovan’s replacement in the midfield, Chris Birchall, nearly grabbed an early goal for the Galaxy. Birchall lined up for a cross from the right flank in the 13th minute before firing a shot at the near post. D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, anticipating a cross into the center, had to dive to his left and push the ball wide for a corner kick.

The visitors had their best chance of the half in the 25th minute, when midfielder Andy Najar's cross from the right flank was redirected just wide of the far post by a charging Josh Wolff.

Najar and Pontius created most of the danger on the evening for D.C. United, linking up well with forward Wolff.

The Galaxy's Brazilian midfielder Juninho was subbed out at half time and diagnosed with a left ankle sprain. He had injured the ankle late in last Saturday's match against the New England Revolution.

"You could see [that] after 30 minutes, he struggled," Arena said about his midfielder.

Galaxy forward Chad Barrett beat the offside trap in the 57th minute but couldn't redirect a Beckham free kick onto frame.

"We have to forget this performance," Beckham said. “It was a disappointing performance, no matter who's not playing."

With Galaxy forward Juan Pablo Angel out for the match with a calf strain, Barrett and fellow striker Miguel Lopez were expected to carry the offensive load. The two failed to create very many goal-scoring opportunities, however, and were both substituted for in the second half.

A lax Galaxy defense almost cost the home team in the 67th minute. Several Galaxy players failed to clear a long D.C. throw in, which found its way to an open Wolff at the far post. The former US national team striker, though, put his shot wide of the near post.

United States national team forward Charlie Davies came on in the 67th minute for D.C. and nearly stole the headlines. Davies's remarkable recovery from a serious car crash that occurred in October 2009 has seen him score a team-leading six goals on the season.

Davies nearly took his total to seven in the 81st minute, when he broke through the Galaxy defense and rounded a diving Saunders. With an open goal mouth staring at him, Davies put his shot wide of the near post.

"I rushed the chance," said Davies, who sat out D.C. United’s previous match with a hamstring injury. "That's part of the process of coming back [from the car crash]. That’s just part of the rust."

The last ten minutes were the most open of the match, with both teams pushing for a late goal.

Saunders's save on an 86th minute Najar shot was his fourth of the night and earned him the praise of his manager.

"He had a couple good saves. I think Josh certainly did well," Arena said, pointing out at least one positive on what was a mostly uninspiring night for the Galaxy.

News and Notes


  • Friday night sightings at the Home Depot Center: Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder watched the match with his wife. Sneijder is on vacation in the United States after leading his club team, Inter Milan, to the Coppa Italia title last month. Sneijder was named the second-best player at last summer’s FIFA World Cup, where his Netherlands squad reached the final.
  • Davies said that we was disappointed to have not received a national team call up for the Gold Cup, but was pleased that coach Bob Bradley called him before naming the squad to explain his reasoning. Davies said Bradley was impressed with his comeback and that he was very close to making the team. "I'm not gonna feel too good until I get back on that side," Davies said about missing the U.S. roster.
  • Donovan was named the MLS Player of the Month for his efforts in the month of May. The Galaxy captain scored six goals in seven games as the Galaxy posted a 4-1-2 record during the month.
  • Arena said Angel picked up "a minor knock on Wednesday" and didn’t recover in time to play in the match. Angel will be ready for Saturday's game against Toronto FC, according to Arena.
  • The team will host Toronto FC Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Reds' recent 6-2 pummeling at the hands of the Philadelphia Union has turned up the pressure on new manager Aron Winter. Toronto is winless in five road games so far this season.
  • The Galaxy announced Friday that they will debut a new third jersey for their July 4th match against Seattle Sounders FC at the Home Depot Center. The new uniform will be unveiled July 1st at a VIP event in downtown Los Angeles



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