The LA Galaxy gave up another stoppage time goal, succumbing to a Chris Pontius header in the 93rd minute Saturday night at RFK Stadium.
D.C. United winger Nick DeLeon charged into the box and looped the ball over a flat Robbie Rogers before clipping a delicate cross to Chris Pontius, who outmuscled Dan Gargan and drove a diving header into the left corner to send the freezing crowd into pandemonium.
The action was back and forth early on, with the game surprisingly open for two teams decimated by injuries and international call ups. Right off the bat, a Steve Birnbaum header from a D.C. corner kick beat goalkeeper Brian Rowe, but Mika Vayrenen headed off the line before the ref blew the whistle. Birnbaum suffered a left ankle injury on the play and had to be replaced by former Galaxy defender Kofi Opare.
In the 8th minute, Jose Villarreal earned a restart from 24 yards out. On the free kick, Vayrenen knuckled a dipping shot that just eluded the near post and D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
Playing into a biting wind affected some of the Galaxy players in the first half, with subpar service from the wings and Rowe dropping the ball on several occasions. Disaster almost struck when Rowe inadvertently bounced a cross off Omar Gonzalez's leg, but he smothered the loose ball in time.
United almost scored when a weighed Davy Arnaud long ball found DeLeon cutting inside Robbie Rogers. DeLeon rounded Rowe but Rogers recovered in time to block off the angle and kill the play's momentum.
LA had a major opportunity when a curving Ishizaki ball sailed to a wide open Alan Gordon, but Hamid was there for the reflex stop. A moment later, Gordon raced to the endline and crossed into Hamid who deflected the rebound to a waiting Jose Villarreal, but he couldn't keep the ball down and it sailed high. Finally, a low Baggio Husidic shot was easily saved by Hamid.
The Galaxy started strong in the second half, with Mika Vayrenen firing wide early. In the 53rd minute, a crazy scramble inside the D.C. box ended with Leonardo slicing just wide. Leo stayed on the ground with a left leg injury and walked straight to the locker room, making way for Dan Gargan.
After a shaky first half, Rowe was much more composed, active off his line to collect crosses and punch away when needed. He came up huge in the 63rd minute, stoning a Chris Rolfe header from close range.
LA was inches away when Husidic fed Ishizaki alone on the top of the box, who curved the ball past Hamid but it slammed off the right post.
In the 72nd minute, Edson Buddle came on for Vayrenen and moved up top while Jose Villarreal dropped back to the left midfield.
The action didn't let up as LA and D.C. continued to trade blows in search of a goal. A dangerous Villarreal cross cleared by D.C. fell to Juninho, but he shot wide. Soon afterwards, a low Villarreal free kick was saved by Hamid.
In injury time, both teams had chances before Pontius' late winner.
LA heads to Vancouver next Saturday to take on the Whitecaps. As of now, there's no news on the Leonardo injury.