LA Galaxy 2, Sporting Kansas City 1 | MLS Match Recap
CARSON, Calif – In what was an anticipated battle of the last two MLS Cup champions, the LA Galaxy nabbed a goal at the death to beat Sporting Kansas City 2-1 at StubHub Center.
After Baggio Husidic and Krisztian Nemeth exchanged goals in the first half, second-half substitute Omar Gonzalez scored off a corner kick to give the home team the victory in dramatic fashion, as Juninho’s corner kick deep in second-half stoppage time flashed through the box before Gonzalez redirected the ball into the net.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made two main changes to his lineup from last week’s win over the Seattle Sounders. Although reigning MLS MVP Robbie Keane sat out his second game in a row due to a groin injury, Bradford Jamieson IV and Tommy Meyer replaced Gyasi Zardes and Gonzalez, respectively, as the US national team pair played midweek in the Americans’ friendly win over Mexico.
Meanwhile, Sporting made two changes to their lineup, with Kevin Ellis replacing the injured Ike Opara in the back, and Graham Zusi returning to the lineup after sitting out last week’s draw against Real Salt Lake.
Sporting got out of the gates quickly, with a long pass from left back Marcel de Jong finding Dom Dwyer streaking into the box in the first minute, only for his effort to miss the mark. Just a minute later, Alan Gordon missed on the stretch off a cross by inches on the other end for the hosts.
The Galaxy took the lead in the ninth minute, as Stefan Ishizaki sent a sharp shot from inside the box on goal that was blocked by SKC goalkeeper Luis Marin. Husidic followed up the rebound with a simple tap in the open net for his first goal of the season.
Ellis prevented a second LA goal three minutes later, as he recovered on a speedy run by Jamieson to block the Homegrown attacker’s shot before it could reach Marin.
But Sporting came roaring back, and in the 22nd minute, Dom Dwyer sent a pass between a group of defenders to Benny Feilhaber, who sent a one-touch pass to spring Nemeth, and the Hungarian finished past Jaime Penedo to tie it up.
Kansas City then had a decent look to take the lead off a free kick five minutes later, but Nemeth’s header off Feilhaber’s service sailed over the crossbar.
The teams came out of the break with far less rhythm to their games, and the play was often sloppy. LA had a series of corner kicks in the first few minutes of the second half, but could not convert any of them.
SKC linked up for a decent chance in the 68th minute, as Roger Espinoza created some separation on the left flank from Jamieson and sent a dangerous cross into the box, but Dwyer’s shot was well off target.
Juninho managed to get a stinging shot on goal in the 72nd minute, but Marin managed to stop it. Seconds later, Zardes, who came off the bench in the second half, had the ball in on goal but got it tangled under his feet and could not test SKC’s ‘keeper a second time.
Marin made what was then the play of the game in the 76th minute, as Zardes linked up with Jamieson, whose flashy effort was somehow kept out of the goal by the ‘keeper to keep the game level.
LA will head cross-country for a showdown against the New York Red Bulls next Sunday, while Sporting are on the road again next week, taking on fellow Western Conference migrants Houston Dynamo on Saturday.