Six goals. Five after the 45th minute. Three equalizers. A legend’s explosion, an assistant referee’s horrible night, and the continuing frailty of the two-time defending champions. This match had a little of everything, and as it concerns Landon Donovan goals and blown offside calls, it had a lot.
FC Dallas and LA Galaxy played to a 3-3 draw Sunday night, a result that leaves each team outside the Western Conference’s playoff spot. But in a game that saw both teams trail and each side have to fight back, the point could be see as a good thing for both. Los Angeles made a mid-summer trip to Dallas and came away with a result – an objectively decent result. FCD was able to counter a Landon Donovan hat trick, something that would normally put Bruce Arena’s team in the win column.
And this wasn’t one of those hat tricks players sometimes stumble onto. A defense-splitting run in first half stoppage time allowed Donovan to convert a Robbie Keane ball behind Dallas’s high line. His first time blast from inside the arc doubled his haul in the 73rd minute, while a marksman’s finish into the bottom right-hand corner completed his hat trick nine minutes later. If this were radio, the morning drive producer would have used the NBA Jam “He’s on fire” drop.
Ultimately, a couple of terrible calls and LA’s season-long foibles cancelled out Donovan’s hat trick. Matt Hedges opened the scoring from some pretty basic corner kick execution. In the second half, a restart saw LA’s defense exploited again, though the assistant referee’s flag should have end up for offside. And four minutes after Donovan’s third goal, more poor defending and assistant referee mistakes helped Dallas pull even.
The linesman has to be better with the calls on Dallas’s last two goals (below). There’s just no excuse for missing calls off a restart. At the same time, LA has to be better at defending these situations, from the goalkeeper forward.
Once that problem gets solved, you’d think LA’s tendency to give away late goals also disappears. They’ve got to solve this anti-Goonies thing at some point.
Landon’s goals are up top. Dallas’s goals? Right here: