Late Bravo goal ties Sporting, Galaxy
Aurelien Collin thought he had given Sporting Kansas City a hard-earned draw with the hottest team in Major League Soccer. Omar Bravo ultimately did it.
Bravo scored on a penalty kick in the second minute of stoppage time, just a few minutes after Collin's goal was disallowed by the referees, and Sporting Kansas City walked away with a 2-2 tie with the Los Angeles Galaxy on Monday night before a record crowd at Livestrong Sporting Park.
Bravo earned the penalty kick when Frankie Hejduk was called for a handball in the box. He got Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders diving to his right and deftly punched the ball into the open net.
''I was a little bit unlucky, to be honest,'' Hejduk said. ''It wasn't like I was trying to do a handball.''
The equalizer came after David Beckham got a yellow card for arguing the spot of the kick.
''Not to take anything away from Los Angeles, they're a very good team - they're the best team in the league right now - but we had more at the end than them,'' said Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes, whose club is on quite a roll of its own. ''We deserved the point.''
They may have deserved more than just one.
Collin appeared to tie the game when he leaped into the air and headed home a pass from just in front of the Galaxy net. Collin took off in a sprint to celebrate the goal and didn't realize it had been disallowed until the crowd started booing. The referees had ruled him offside.
''Everybody saw the video. There was no offside,'' Collin said. ''What do you want me to tell you? It was another mistake by the referees. ... They're human, you know? We have to live with it.''
The late drama overshadowed a stellar game by Sean Franklin, who scored both goals for the Galaxy (14-3-10). Julio Cesar had the other goal for Sporting Kansas City (9-8-10).
''We had the majority of the play in the game, had the majority of the chances,'' Beckham said. ''But we also gave too many balls away, gave too many restarts. When you do that against a team that's pretty good in the air, it causes problems.''
Franklin gave Los Angeles the lead in the 25th minute when he punched home a header from Omar Gonzalez to hush the record crowd of 20,512 at the new Livestrong Sporting Park.
Cesar equalized for Sporting Kansas City in the 72nd minute, but Beckham found Franklin on the wing just two minutes later. Franklin barely took a dribble before unloading a low, hard shot past Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen to regain the lead.
Short-lived as it may have been.
''We did a lousy job over the last 15 minutes of the game. No excuses,'' Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. ''Our most experienced players were making lousy plays and we almost lost the game.''
It was a testy affair between teams fighting for playoff positioning.
Landon Donovan, who came on as a second-half substitute, Hejduk and Beckham were shown yellow cards for the Western Division-leading Galaxy. Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi and Collin each received a yellow card for Sporting Kansas City, which remains second in the Eastern Division.
Davy Arnaud came on for Espinoza in the 64th minute for the first time since undergoing sports hernia surgery. The longtime Sporting Kansas City captain made the most of his first appearance on the pitch at the team's new stadium, helping to set up Cesar's goal in the second half.
''It was good to have him back,'' Vermes said.