Omar Gonzalez scored a last-second equalizer as the LA Galaxy stole three points at the death, beating Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Saturday night before 20,018 at the StubHub Center.
The Galaxy were forced to field a makeshift squad with LA recovering from injuries and national team call-ups. Omar Gonzalez was rested in favor of Tommy Meyer, and Rafael Garcia made his second consecutive start in the center of midfield. Alan Gordon and Bradford Jamieson IV started up top in place of Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes.
Two minutes in, Alan Gordon was agonizingly close to a first goal. Bradford Jamieson IV found Alan Gordon wide open inside the six-yard box, but his attempt to poke the ball home with his left boot missed by inches.
It didn't take the Galaxy long to get on the scoreboard. In the 9th minute, Stefan Ishizaki fired a low shot from the corner of the box that goalkeeper Luis Marin saved, but the rebound went straight to a waiting Baggio Husidic who calmly slotted home.
With both teams' defenses pressing high, the game was back and forth with plenty of space to exploit. Jamieson IV was lively early, skinning center back Kevin Ellis and racing 50 yards down the field before his chip attempt was blocked. Stefan Ishizaki was another positive, causing havoc with his service.
Despite the Galaxy's pressure, Sporting Kansas City equalized in the 22nd minute. Dom Dwyer possessed the ball deep in LA's end, drawing several defenders before finding a floating Benny Feilhaber who one-timed to forward Krisztian Nemeth, and Nemeth chipped the ball over an onrushing Penedo and into the net.
Encouraged by the goal, Sporting KC continued to press. A SKC restart almost bore fruit, with Feilhaber's swerving delivery finding Nemeth's head but the header was high.
In the 35th minute, Jaime Penedo had to react quickly as a Marcel de Jong blast from outside the box ricocheted high but Penedo made the acrobatic save to paw the deflection away. Soon afterwards, an errant clearance by Baggio Husidic put Graham Zusi alone on goal but Penedo smartly read the play and quickly sprinted off his line to beat Zusi to the ball.
The second half was a disjointed affair as the Galaxy and Sporting were able to generate half chances but neither side looked poised to score.
In the 54th minute, a Marcel De Jong sent a swerving cross from the left flank dangerously careening towards Dom Dwyer but Penedo was able to deflect the ball away from his path. Roger Espinoza also found success on the left, finding Dom Dwyer inside the box who should have done better but hopelessly skied his effort over the bar.
Late in the match, the Galaxy subbed in Gyasi Zardes to try and bring life to the LA attack, and the move almost paid off immediately. Getting behind the LA defense, Gyasi was one on one vs. the keeper from a difficult angle, but whiffed on the shot.
In the 76th, Gyasi again beat the Sporting back four and squared a perfect ball for Bradford Jamieson IV, but his audacious backheel attempt trickled wide of the post.
Finally with the game about to come to an uninspiring conclusion, the Galaxy claimed all three points. A LA corner kick sailed to Omar Gonzalez, who's stab at the ball bounced off Sporting substitute Bernardor Anor and into the net to send the Galaxy crowd into pandemonium.