Landon Donovan scored two goals in the final 10 minutes to give the Los Angeles Galaxy a 2-2 tie with D.C. United on Sunday in the MLS opener for both teams. Christian Gomez and Chris Pontius scored for D.C. United, which built a 2-0 lead after 62 minutes before Donovan brought his team all the way back.
“Landon is going to get better,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “His fitness has to get better and he has to get a little sharper on the ball. But over the next month or so, we expect Landon really to get into good form.”
Donovan, who led Major League Soccer with 20 goals last year, broke the shutout with a penalty kick in the 80th minute. United’s Rodney Wallace committed a handball in the penalty area to give the Galaxy the kick.
Then in the 86th minute, Donovan tied the score by beating three defenders and heading Kyle Patterson’s left-wing crossing pass from six yards.
“On the second goal, I took a chance and made a run into a good spot,” said Donovan, who added that playing with Germany’s Bayern Munich for two months helped him anticipate plays. When the right service comes, a ball gets knocked down or a play breaks up, I’m ready for it. I’ve been sharper in trying to take advantage of opportunities that aren’t necessarily great chances but can become good.”
Gomez made a penalty kick in the 44th minute after being fouled in the penalty area by the Galaxy’s Dema Kovalenko. Pontius, a rookie from UC Santa Barbara, scored his first goal in the 62nd minute on a curving 18-yard shot.
“I think the second goal actually woke us up,” Donovan said of Pontius’ score. “At the beginning of the second half, we came out a little bit timid and unsure.”
D.C. United’s Ben Olsen played his first game since June 29. Olsen, who was replaced in the 72nd minute, missed all but one game last season because of slow recovery from ankle surgery.