MLS- LA Galaxy

Dubious Davies PK salvages D.C. draw vs. LA


Photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIphotos.com


WASHINGTON – With each passing game, Charlie Davies makes it harder and harder for D.C. United coach Ben Olsen to keep him on the bench.

Davies'  remarkable comeback story saw another notable chapter written Saturday, as the D.C. striker earned and converted a 90th-minute penalty kick to help his side steal a 1-1 draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy at RFK Stadium.

Davies collected a pass inside the penalty area from fellow substitute Branko Boskovic and took on Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez. After doing a step-over and touching the ball toward the end line, Davies tried to push past Gonzalez and tumbled to the turf after some mild contact with the centerback's forearm.

Referee Abiodun Okulaja pointed to the spot, and Davies calmly placed his penalty kick down the middle as goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts dived to his right, knotting the score for United (1-2-1) and giving himself a league-leading four goals (three PKs) on the young MLS season.

"I knew I was going down the middle the whole time," Davies said. "Ricketts is a big guy. I know he's pretty quick and he's going to get to a corner. I knew down the middle, he's going to be vulnerable, and it worked out."

The questionable call split opinions between the two locker rooms, as one would expect, and Galaxy midfielder Jovan Kirovski was ejected at the final whistle as he continued to share words with Okulaja.

"Every time I'm one on one, I'm going to go at you," Davies said. "I was able to take a good step-over and get by Omar, but he put his arm up and knocked me off balance. That's a penalty."

Said Galaxy coach Bruce Arena: "Well, the officiating in this league is what it is. Unfortunately, we're all conditioned to it now anyway and accept it."

One thing is for certain: Davies, who missed a league match last weekend and a U.S. Open Cup tilt Wednesday with a groin injury, isn't going to retain his role as a supersub much longer.

The 24-year-old has entered at halftime or shortly thereafter and scored in each of his three appearances for United this season, his first top-flight matches since suffering major injuries in an October 2009 car accident. At this point, his emergence in the starting 11 seems eminent.

"I know he's chomping at the bit to get the start," Olsen said. "It's great. I wouldn't be happy either if I wasn't starting. Give him credit — he came in and he gave us a big play. And that's what he has been doing for us off the bench."

Davies' tally came with United down a man, as midfielder Santino Quaranta saw his second yellow card for a challenge on Gonzalez minutes before.

The Galaxy (2-1-2) took its lead in the 12th minute. Mike Magee, an active force on the left flank throughout the contest, skied to connect with an exquisite corner from midfielder David Beckham and nod his shot past United goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who saw his first minutes of the season after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

It was an eventful match for Beckham, who slid into central midfield to fill in for the suspended Chris Birchall. In addition to serving in dangerous set pieces to relentless boos from the D.C. faithful, Beckham also went in for several hard challenges and picked up his fourth yellow card of the season for an ugly tackle on United forward Josh Wolff late in the first half.

And his presence had a noticeable effect on the D.C. attendance: 26,622, an increase of more than 8,000 from United's home opener against the Columbus Crew.

Some of those fans were disappointed, however, that the Galaxy played without captain Landon Donovan, who was held out as a precautionary measure with a bruised knee. Despite his absence, the Galaxy was in good position to enjoy a tough road victory.

"I felt we deserved the game," Beckham said. "There's no reason why we shouldn't be walking away from this stadium tonight with three points."

After replacing rookie Blake Brettschneider in the 53rd minute, Davies almost immediately began harassing the well-organized Los Angeles back line with his pace. He nearly broke through in the 67th minute when he accelerated past Galaxy defender Leonardo and advanced in on goal, but his touch was a heavy one and Ricketts charged from his net to beat him to the ball.

"I'll go 95 [minutes]," Davies said of his fitness. "I'm ready. I want to play every minute. That's why I came to D.C. United — to play and get all the time I can. Coming off the bench is OK in the beginning. Of course, I haven't played in a year and a half, so you want to ease me in. But at this point, I feel I'm ready to go. I think I can really help this team if I get more minutes."

Although Davies' last-gasp equalizer might make the draw seem like a favorable result for the home side, Olsen wasn't satisfied with his team's play, fingering a poor possession game for United's needing a late goal just to get a result.

"I'm happy we battled back and found a way to get a tie, but overall it's not good enough," Olsen said. "And that starts with me. I think we may be fortunate tonight. And I'll take the blame for that. That's it — that's how I look at it. We've got some work to do."

  • Eurosnob

    I agree. The call was not nearly as bad as three calls in New England that cost DCU 3 points – (missed handball on the first goal, questionable PK on the second goal, and the questionable red card after a minor contact with the goalkeeper which at most merited a yellow card.


  • Smash famous

    all I can say is….Disgusting!!!
    Davies totally dove not a question, we know it am he knows it.
    Unfortunately it is part of the game. He did what he had to do.
    The Ref DIDNT do what he had to do… Award a yellow for diving!
    Not Davies fault really, it’s the poor officiating!!!!!


  • NIcole

    Charlie, you took a dive. Don’t try to explain it away that he pushed you off balance. You know he didn’t.

    Not hating on you or badmouthing, because sadly, diving is a part of the game. Just don’t offer lame explanations/excuses for what happened.


  • Ian

    Hahaha, most ridiculous post I’ve read on here in a while. Davies did what everyone is coached to do, and for a legit reason. Get over it.


  • Grant

    actually that would be 75% and considering what he came back from, being on the field is memorable much less making significant contributions.


  • MOUF

    Charlie Davies will now be called Seedy9. Ives not calling a dive a dive is comical, but he has been a poster boy on this blog since coming on loan.


  • MOUF

    you can lightly touch a player with your arm. what is “properly”, seriously just stop


  • Buckwheat

    Define diving? The real question is was there a push? If so, is that a foul? To me, a dive is when the player falls to ground without contact–none. Now that is a dive. Did CD go down to draw/force a call, yes. Is that part of the game-as of now it is. The defender was going to be beat(was beat), that is why he stuck out his arm. You try to slow him down. This call may or may not be called, defenders/players apply how the ref has been calling the game. This too is part of the game. To me, it was a 50/50 call. DC got the call. Enough said.


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