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LA Galaxy 1 – DC United 1: Chippy Game Ends in Controversy


Photo by Lil' El

Yesterday’s LA Galaxy/DC United match had everything that MLS could want from a match.  A full house of passionate fans yelling and chanting the entire match as two possible playoff teams, one with one of the world’s most famous players and the other with a potential U.S. star, played an almost even and intense match.  This is the kind of match that garners MLS attention and makes the sporting world take notice of the league.

And of course it was only on Direct Kick.

Regardless, yesterday’s match between two of the league’s premier franchises was a good one, with a little bit of something for everyone.  But the defining feature was the physical play, as players were not afraid to make challenges on and off the ball.  It was odd in retrospect that only four cards were given out because of the repeated challenges, especially late in the first half.  DCU used the “foul Beckham to make him mad” strategy, never missing an opportunity for a small clip or shove off the ball.  Beckham, as he does, retaliated and earned a yellow on a tackle on Josh Wolff that arguably could have been a red, leading to him saying words that he may have learned from Wayne Rooney.  We’ll get back to that in a minute.

But it was Beckham and his much less celebrated teammate (but almost equally critical) Mike Magee would got the scoring started early in this one on a 14th minute corner kick.  Becks did his thing, sending in a perfect ball that a poorly marked Magee headed past Bill Hamid, who was starting for the first time this year in MLS play.  From that point, while DCU probed on occasion, LA did a good job controlling the tempo.  Despite having Juan Pablo Angel, LA played conservatively in the second half, similar to what they did in Seattle a few weeks ago.  They relied on their defense to stonewall the other team’s attack, even adjusting their formation, then hitting on the counter using Beckham, Angel and Magee.  DCU, as a note, did not start Davies or Najar, both of whom came on in the second half to spur the home team’s attack.

Controversy ensued very late in the second half.   Santino Quaranta was sent off in the 84th minute with a second yellow on a weak tackle, reducing United to ten men.  But it was Davies’ speed that kept the home team in the match and what led to their first goal.  In the 89th minute, Davies made a run into the box and, upon making contact with Omar Gonzalez, fell to the ground and was awarded a penalty.  I never like to accuse players of flopping and I won’t in this case, but it was very weak contact.  Davies converted his third PK and the match would end in a draw.  After the final whistle Jovan Kirovski was given a straight red for dissent, so I can only imagine what he said that drew a red card after Beckham’s words did not.  The anger, however, was understandable.

While the result had to be a disappointment for the Galaxy, their play should be encouraging: they played well enough to get a tough win on the road.  For United it was the exact opposite: the result was encouraging but the play was a disappointment.  On this night, however, both teams could take home one point.

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  1. Juan-John

    April 11, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Remember that Najar played a full 120 minutes during DCU’s USOC play-in game against Philly last Wednesday. I’d love to have seen a fully rested 19-year-old play the full 90 against LA.

  2. Charles

    April 11, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    MLS needs to grow a pair and break with FIFA.
    One ref for 22 players on a field bigger than any NFL field, where they have what 5 officials ? 7 ?

    I don’t know but not ONE….that would be moronic…and is moronic.

    In addition, they film every game in High Def. Video review plays after the game. Clear cut dive ? Kick ’em out of the league. Let them go play somewhere else, I don’t want them in my league anyway.
    No one would even go down easy at that point for fear he doesn’t get touched and is booted.

    ps. MLS hater trolls, give me a break, the Euro refs are no better. Don’t bother you will just look stupid now that I pre-empted it.

    • Sancho

      April 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      Rugby Union has one ref and two assistants also.

      FIFA is testing two more assistants behind the end lines.

    • Dave C

      April 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm

      Football in general needs to do something to modernize refereeing. But for MLS to break from FIFA would pretty much be suicidal for soccer in the US – I’m pretty sure that countries without FIFA-approved leagues are banned from participating in international events such as the WC. I can’t imagine MLS every growing (or even surviving) in such a scenario.

  3. alaboston

    April 10, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I’ll give it to the ref, the game could have gotten absolutely out of control. While the Davies penalty was questionable at best, the fact that he was able to keep these two sides from murdering each other actually speaks pretty highly of him. Either way, US Soccer and CONCACAF in general need better game officials.

  4. TFCRegina

    April 10, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Someone send the memo to Davis…don’t drink and dive!

  5. MadFan

    April 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Great writing! Well spot on and truly based on facts. Keep it up!

    p/s: You should post the post-interview where Beckham rated his own 6 years old son i.e. Little Cruz as knowing the rule of the game better than the ref himself! Haha! So far I’ve only read the quote but never saw the interview clip yet. 😉

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