CARSON, Calif -- The LA Galaxy drew against FC Dallas at The Home Depot Center tonight by virtue of a stoppage time equalizer by Pat Noonan. FC Dallas failed to clear a ball sitting in the box, and Chad Barrett was able to get it to Pat Noonan who converted for his first Galaxy goal. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, as the slow match built up to a red hot finish.
Dallas was up 0-1 by virtue of Brek Shea converting a penalty kick while Robbie Keane missed the one awarded to the Galaxy. 23, 249 fans were on hand for this pivotal match, where both teams were without their usual starting keeper. Surprisingly, that didn't lead to a flurry of goals despite a fast passed match.
Bill Gaudette made his first MLS start since September 30th, 2006 with Josh Saunders out for personal reasons. He was on point for most of the match, keeping the team in it as David Junior Lopes made a few crucial mistakes in the back. Lopes also made a gaffe on the play at the 60' mark that led to Gaudette picking up a yellow card and giving up a penalty kick. Break Shea converted the kick to put Dallas up.
The Galaxy had a PK of their own awarded when Jair Benitez took down Landon Donovan in the box. David Beckham found Landon Donovan with a brilliant long forward ball, curving over the back line. With Donovan the one suffering the foul, Robbie Keane stepped up to the mark to take the penalty.
This was the first time since June 23rd, 2007 that Donovan did not take a penalty he was available to take. From that moment Donovan took twenty penalties, scoring 18 of them. Kyle Martino took that kick in 2007.
Keane was unsuccessful in his attempt, going well wide right. This left the door open for Dallas, who then later converted their penalty chance. It was the turning point in the match that was talked about as being an early season defining moment for both clubs.
Not that Donovan didn't have his own important missed opportunity. In the first half, he was able to dribble around Chris Seitz after resisting the challenge from his marker. Unfortunately, his attempt with an open goal clanged off the right post and harmlessly over the end line.
Late in the match, Bruce Arena made a tactical decision to go 3-4-3 with Chad Barrett and Adam Cristman up top with Robbie Keane, and Pat Noonan in for Mike Magee (Buddle and Lopes were the others removed) as the Galaxy scrambled to try and get three points. It didn't pay off until Dallas was unable to clear the ball after stoppage time.
Ultimately, the Galaxy looked uncoordinated out on the pitch. Not that FC Dallas deserved the three points tonight, a draw is probably the fairest result for both sides. Still, Landon Donovan not stepping up to the spot will be talked about all week, as the controversy about this LA club after their cup win continues to mount.