Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
It had the makings of yet another match where the Los Angeles Galaxy played well enough to win, but didn’t. After more than 70 minutes of domination, the Galaxy had yet to find the net.
When Bernardo Anor headed home the first goal of the match, and gave the Columbus Crew a 1-0 lead on the Galaxy, Bruce Arena’s side looked destined for another disappointing night.
Things changed quickly though, as a pair of penalty calls against Columbus allowed Robbie Keane to finish off a pair of PK attempts to help give the Galaxy a 2-1 victory at StubHub Stadium.
Keane’s first penalty came after Jose Villarreal drew a PK, then Keane drew a penalty of his own in stoppage time. That controversial penalty, which appeared to come off a Keane dive, set up the eventual winning goal.
The Crew looked like they might pull the road upset when Bernardo Anor beat A.J. De La Garza to a Federico Higuain free kick, heading home the opening goal from the top of the penalty area.
The Galaxy kept the pressure on even after surrendering the goal though, and equalized just seven minutes later when Jose Villarreal drew the first penalty after being taken down by Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.
Keane stepped up and converted the penalty with a perfect low right shot he repeated in stoppage time.
The Galaxy’s second penalty shout came in stoppage time, when Keane went down after what the referee determined to be a push from Anor on Keane. Replays showed there wasn’t much contact from Anor, but referee Sorin Stoica still pointed to the spot. Keane delivered a perfect penalty to secure the victory.
As much as the Crew can argue the validity of the penalty calls, particularly the one drawn by Keane for the game-winning goal, the match itself was one dominated by the Galaxy for much of the night.
As much as the three points are a welcome relief to the Galaxy, Bruce Arena will have to come away from the match feeling like he is team once again failed to play to their full capability. Playing without Landon Donovan, who was away with the U.S. Men’s National Team, the Galaxy controlled the play for much of the evening, and out-shot the Crew 23-8 and held a 60-40 possession edge on the Crew.
What did you think of the match? Think the penalty calls were legitimate, or did you think Keane dove on the winning PK call?
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