KANSAS CITY, KS. (May 1, 2016) – It was a bit of a defensive struggle throughout the match, especially after a 70th minute second yellow card to left back Ashley Cole. But it worked. The LA Galaxy drew Sporting KC on the road on Sunday, 1-1.
10-Man LA Galaxy Draw Sporting KC 1-1
Head coach Bruce Arena had to jumble the lineup with Steven Gerrard getting injured earlier in the week. Mike Magee moved to a deep-lying midfielder role next to Baggio Husidic. Fortunately, Sebastian Lletget made his return to the starting lineup after suffering a groin injury. Emmanuel Boateng started at left midfielder for the second straight game.
Sporting KC were able to start their core despite playing a midweek game in Vancouver. Dom Dwyer was fresh, having sat out of Wednesday’s game. Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, and Benny Feilhaber were all in the lineup as well.
The game got off to a rapid start, getting forward and taking chances. Sporting were the better side early on, dominating possession and winning more corners. Magee and Husidic were having trouble with their spacing and distribution. This opened up holes for Brad Davis and Zusi. The Galaxy defense was bending, but not breaking. Jelle Van Damme was very active in the defensive third.
The home side opened the scoring in the 30th minute. Cole missed the chance to play a long ball. Davis was able to get to it off the bounce and worked his way around Boateng. He set up his shot and delivered a fabulous left-footed curler past goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
Sporting continued to throw numbers forward to get a second goal. The Galaxy absorbed pressure and were able to create a chance. Gyazi Zardes was able to corral a clearance and turn up field, shaking a defender in the process in the 42nd minute. Zardes picked his head up and fired a long pass up field. Gionvani dos Santos was able to get the ball in stride (and on side). He blazed past Matt Besler and Ike Opara and chipped the ball over goalkeeper Tim Melia.
Kansas City tried to respond before the end of the half. Their best chance came off a shot from Feilhaber that was wide of goal. The half ended 1-1.
The Galaxy looked better in the second half. The spacing in the midfield was better and Boateng appeared committed to using his speed to force Zusi to defend. Boateng was able to win two corners for the Galaxy.
As the game appeared to be balancing out in the 70th minute, everything turned on a dime. Cole was given a yellow card for time wasting on a throw in as Lletget and A.J. DeLaGarza were stretching out cramps. Just seconds after the throw in, the ball was turned over and Cole went in for a sliding challenge on Feilhaber. Cole got the ball but his leading foot landed studs up into Feilhaber’s leg.
Cole was given a second yellow card and sent off in less than a minute and sent off. The Galaxy proceeded to park the bus, subbing in Robbie Rogers for Mike Magee to sure up the backline.
Sporting continued to push for the go-ahead goal up a man. Their best chance came in the second minute of stoppage time when Davis fired in a curler that Van Damme deflected out for a corner. The Galaxy were able to outlast the clock and the match ended 1-1.
Kansas City out-posed the Galaxy with over 66% of the ball. They outshot them 17-4, but had only one shot on goal, Davis’s 30th minute goal.
Sporting travel to Houston next Saturday, with kickoff set for 5:30 pm PST. The Galaxy host New England Revolution next Sunday at 12:30 pm PST.