It started off badly. Just seven minutes into the game, D.C. United were down a goal at home against the LA Galaxy, one of the best defenses in the league. And LA played like they knew it, backing off the high pressure that kept the home side pinned into their own end to that point and allowing the Black-and-Red more time on the ball. It made sense as a strategy - United has proved time and again that it's unable to break down a competent defense, no matter how much possession you concede. Only that's not how it went this time, as United would equalize twice, enough to secure the surprising draw against a Galaxy side welcoming all three of its designated players back into the lineup.
The first leveler came late in the first half, as Chris Pontius dispossessed an unaware Omar Gonzalez after the U.S. international center back took down a long Bill Hamid clearance. Pontius outraced the entire LA defense and rounded 'keeper Jaime Penedo before passing the ball into the empty net.
The score would hold level through most of the second half, until Michael Stephens surprised Bill Hamid, putting a quick shot past the United homegrown GK to the far post to put LA ahead 1-2 against the run of play. Again, though, D.C. would find an equalizer, this time through second-half sub Kyle Porter, whose 84th minute free header converted Perry Kitchen's cross after a Galaxy half-clearance.
If we look past the opening several minutes, which looked more like a Galaxy pressing/attacking drill than a game in a famously parity-driven league, United actually looked like they belonged on the field. Robbie Keane was dangerous, as he is against everybody, but the home side created their share of chances, too, registering 7 shots on target to the visitors' 3 while hoarding nearly 60% of possession. It feels weird to say, but United may just have been the better team on the day, even if they never really looked like winning.
Ultimately, with nothing tangible to play for this afternoon, for United the day was really about Jaime Moreno, who was inducted into the club's Hall of Tradition at halftime. He was joined by the head coaches of both teams, as Bruce Arena and Ben Olsen joined the all-time great on the field, along with guys like Jeff Agoos and John Harkes.