Returning from a broken back, Aurelien Collin's equalizer in the 84th minute was disallowed Monday as Sporting Kansas City desperately tried to draw even against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
But eight minutes later, Omar Bravo delivered a 2-2 draw against the MLS points leader, converting a penalty kick in stoppage time after Galaxy defender Frankie Hejduk was whistled for a hand ball in the box near the end of regulation.
The late goal on a ball ticketed for Davy Arnaud at the far post provided another in a string of fantastic last-minute finishes in Livestrong Sporting Park's inaugural summer and prevented a second straight home loss for Sporting KC.
Yet neither team seemed happy with the result.
“We did a lousy job over the last 15 minutes of that game,” Galaxy manager Bruce Arena said. “Our most experienced players are making bad plays and it could have cost us the game.”
Meanwhile, Sporting KC, 9-8-10, felt like a poor decision by the referee did cost it a victory and two all-important points in the chase to stay among the top three in the Eastern Conference.
Chance Myers, who moved into the midfield from right back to accommodate Collin's return to the lineup, served a short free kick into the box and the 25-year-old Frenchman.
After heading it back to the far post for a brilliant goal, Collin went to celebrate with teammates in the Cauldron before realizing it had been disallowed.
“Everybody saw the video and I wasn't offside,” Collin said. “I danced a little bit, but when I saw the referee I wasn't surprised,” Collin said. “I don't know if you saw my reaction, but I'm used to that in this league. The referees are like that in this league and we have to play with them. We have to allow them to make mistakes. They are human, even if here they make more mistakes than in the rest of the world.”
Asked what the explanation for waving off Collin's goal was, Vermes responded, “You mean the world-class finish that he had? Offsides. And there's absolutely no chance that he's offsides. To take away a world-class goal like that is unacceptable.”
To their credit, Sporting KC didn't pout but instead notched the equalizer in the 92nd minute to snag a point. But the club still feels a bit snake-bit after a season of close calls deciding game after game.
“It's us against everybody, because nothing is going to go our way and we realize that,” Vermes said. “The guys keep fighting back and showed unbelievable determination to get back in the game.”
The Galaxy, 14-3-10, took the lead in the 25th minute on a controversial goal by Sean Franklin, which fans in the Cauldron thought was offside.
Replays showed that Collin actually kept Franklin onside, but the man he was marking, Adam Cristman, was offside. But since he didn't attempt to play the ball, the goal was allowed to stand.
Sporting KC, 9-8-10, drew even in the 72nd minute off a Graham Zusi corner kick, which pinballed in the box — including off Arnaud's sports-hernia scar — and eventually fell to defender Julio Cesar for the equalizer.
“My goal was technically perfect,” Cesar said. “The space was very small, but it was a perfect kick. It was an amazing goal.”
Only two minutes later, however, David Beckham slipped a ball wide for Franklin, whose second goal looked as if it would stand as the winner before Hejduk's hand ball on a long cross intended for Davy Arnaud at the back post helped Sporting KC draw even again.SPORTING KANSAS CITY NOTEBOOK Arnaud returns:
Midfielder Davy Arnaud didn't start, but after missing 11 straight games Sporting Kansas City's captain came on in the 64th minute.
Arnaud, who is in his 10th season with the franchise, was diagnosed in June with a sports hernia and missed the last several months.
He played Sporting KC's first few games at Livestrong Sporting Park but missed much of the team-record 14-game unbeaten.
“It was tough watching,” Arnaud said. “Obviously, you always want to be out there playing and this is the first time I've had to do this basically in my whole career.”Sporting KC plays shorthanded:
Defender Aurelien Collin and midfielder Jeferson also returned to the line up Monday, but manager Peter Vermes was still shorthanded.
Leading scorer Kei Kamara, who has a team-best eight goals, was unavailable due to international duty with the Sierra Leone national team.
Meanwhile, forward Teal Bunbury, who played for the U.S Men's National Team against Costa Rica, was suspended for a game after picking up two yellow cards against FC Dallas.
Defender Daneil Cyrus remains sidelined with a fractured foot and Luke Sassano was out again with a knee sprain, while Craig Rocastle and Birahim Diop were too dinged up for the game-day roster.Field conditions receive failing grade:
Chunks of sod came up in footlong swaths throughout the game and drew heavy post-game criticism, especially from the visiting Galaxy.
“The field was embarrassing to be honest and it was dangerous,” Los Angeles forward Landon Donovan said. “It made for a lot of sloppy play, a lot of plays that would come off cleanly were sloppy instead. That led to a lot of competition and a lot of fouling. I hope for their sake and the rest of the league's sake that they get that sorted out.”
David Beckham was less marked in his comments, but also believed the rugged field conditions had undue influence on the game.
“Every time you went to kick the ball, (the turf) gave way,” Beckham said. “Obviously, it wasn't just for us, but it was like playing in sand. It made for a tough game.”