By ADAM SERRANO
CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez made his return to action, but the Los Angeles Galaxy were unable to get a victory as a stoppage time goal by Michael Farfan gave the Philadelphia Union, a 2-1 victory over the Galaxy.
Making his first appearance for the Galaxy since tearing his ACL in January, Gonzalez was solid throughout his 45 minutes of action, but ultimately could not stop the Union from stealing a victory.
"We didn't play our best, but for the guys in our locker room to fight as hard as they fought and really make plays, that's fantastic," Philadelphia coach John Hackworth said of his club's performance. "These kinds of games can define a team."
The contest began with the Galaxy pressing from the outset as Los Angeles nearly tallied in the fourth minute of play when Robbie Keane sliced through the Philadelphia defense, but his shot was cleared off the line by Union defender Carlos Valdes. Keane had a second opportunity in the 11th minute as he once again he broke through the Union back four, but saw his shot cleared off the the shoulder of Gabriel Farfan.
Despite the pressure from the Galaxy, the Union struck first in first half stoppage time as Michael Farfan sprinted to the endline beating David Junior Lopes before whipping a ball to McInerney, who coolly backheeled a shot into the Galaxy net and providing a sour ending to Gonzalez's return.
"I was pretty nervous the whole day, but once the ref blew the whistle, I was ready to go," Gonzalez said. "Even though it's my first game back, it's unacceptable to give up a goal that late (in the first half)."
At the start of the second half, the Galaxy removed Gonzalez, inserting Sean Franklin. Down a goal, the Galaxy controlled possession and came close to equalizing in the 61st minute. The flurry of chances began off a Juninho corner kick with Todd Dunivant’s header glancing the post, the ball falling to Marcelo Sarvas’ whose own shot at goal ricocheted off the cross bar. Los Angeles would have one more opportunity as Juninho had an opportunity that sailed over MacMath’s net.
"It's frustrating, no doubt about it," Landon Donovan said of the club's inability to finish. "It's hard to be upset, because almost everyone played pretty well, but you don't score, you make a mistake, and you're on the bad end of another result."
After their initial flurry, the chances came quick as Sarvas forced a diving save from MacMath in the 70th minute. The equalizer finally came in the 73rd minute when a Dunivant cross into the found Barrett, who tapped in his first goal of the season.
Philadelphia nearly issued an immediate response in the 74th minute when second-half substitute Antoine Hoppenot capitalized on a Juninho giveaway that put him alone on the Galaxy frame, however the teenager’s strike was stopped by a Josh Saunders’ save. With the Galaxy pressing forward, the Union ultimately broke through in the fifth minute of stoppage as a backheel pass by Lionard Pajoy found Michael Farfan, who fired a shot past Saunders.
"For Michael, the work he did the whole game, he was Superman," Hackworth said. "And then to be able to have that late finish was amazing."
Gonzalez's return was not the only event that made headlines as Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard watched the game with David Beckham from a suite at the Home Depot Center, adding fuel to rumors that surfaced earlier in the week, which linked Lampard to the Galaxy.
But this was of little concern to the Galaxy, who have lost two straight matches snapping a three-game winning streak and must look ahead to Sunday's match against the Chicago Fire, having to once again, put a few difficult of results behind them.
"The reality is, we should be five wins in a row right now, now we find ourselves behind the eight ball again and it's difficult to take, but the reality is that it's over," said Donovan. "We can either moan about it or we can wake up tomorrow morning and get ready for Chicago and that's what we're going to do."
Meanwhile, the Union also return to action on Sunday when they host Toronto FC.
Lopes is an unmitigated disaster. Dunivant looks done and gets lit up 1v1 every game multiple times–it was one way traffic at Stanford straight up his ally. Rogondino was right when he said this team also misses Berhalter; all the new faces in the back have yet to gel. Keane has GOT to play better, which for him means finishing his chances more becasue he gets many in each game
it was free from his body in front of his body; free from the body does not mean only free to the sides
and that was on the line…PK
Yeah well, that “Philly Sports Fan” Mentality is legendary for its positivity, right? It’s true, in LA we favor winners. Maybe watching your Phillies stink up the joint this year after so many seasons of dominance, you can relate.
No ref worth anthing would have called that a hand ball in the goal. G. Farfan turned from the ball an it hit his elbow held to his body; to put it another way the ball played his arm on his body not the other way. If his arm had been free from his body and be the stopping point it woudl be a different story. To call what actually happened a hand ball would have been a terrible call. You need to review what is a hand ball.
Boy, you’re the type of fan every team needs. We are still showing up for the Union games after all the crap Nowak put this team through. Must be that LA sports mentality.
Grim. Just grim. Two extra time goals to fail in front of a 4th of July home crowd? To the freaking Philly Union? The nausea keeps rising to my mouth. Whatever deal the Galaxy made with the Devil to be so good last year, they obviously broke it; they’ve played one good week of soccer in the last four months and at this rate, fans are gonna stop showing up, and the LAG front office will have to resort to Frank Lampard Bobblehead Night to convince anyone it’s worth it.
and yet there were calls that went the Galaxy’s way that shouldn’t. Landon got two calls for himself that should have been fouls against. He should have received a card for Simulation on that Gomez foul. The elbow to Gabe Farfan should have resulted in a free kick for the Union instead of a free kick dangerously close for the Galaxy, and he was begging for Gabe to get carded for it. If he didn’t connect with his elbow, don’t think it was intentional, Farfan doesn’t fall into him.
because nowak was the worst coach in the league. good talent identifier but no sense for tactics or consistency.
Really impressed with Michael Farfan at CAM. He really is starting to blossom under Hackworth.
Farfan may find himself getting called into the January Camp if he keeps on playing like this.
Jack Mack’s gola was awesome.
Another LA game, another missed hand ball.
2 things …
1) Nowak comes from the “old school”. He’d be hard pressed to ever rely on a youngster. There are countless examples throughout his coaching career.
2) Adu is becoming more and more irrelevant for the Union. He certainly is not worth the wages he’s been earning.
With that win the Union have just as may wins at The Home Depot Center as they do at PPL Park this year.
Really? I only caught the highlights this morning online. Thanks for that.
It was Pajoy who backheeled it to Marfan for the winner.
Goood Lawwwwwd. The back heels from Williams and Jack Mack were exquisite. Finish from Farfan was class. Encouraging.
It was hard to watch the galaxy come so close to scoring without finishing in the opening of the game.
LA Galaxy are really in trouble. I don’t know what the problem is, but they need to change something! Frank Lampard can definitely help LA, no matter which DP he replaces.
Two great goals from Philly in this one… how come Nowak never played McInerney? I assumed he was a bust given that he only got garbage time minutes over the last 18 months.