By Alex Baker
(Carson, CA) – They say revenge is sweet. Just ask Alan Gordon. Less than a year ago the striker was deemed surplus to requirements at the LA Galaxy and shuffled off to Chivas USA for half a season before eventually moving on to Toronto FC. (2-5-8).
On Saturday night Gordon returned to face his former club and twice scored drawing his side level on both occasions and notching a spectacular equalizer in the dying seconds of the match.
“It was special cause I don’t score goals like that,” said Gordon. “So to get it against my former team in the 94th minute, yeah of course it was special.”
It was Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall who opened the scoring with his first goal for the club in just the second minute of play. The match had barely settled when Miguel Lopez broke inside and made an in the box cross to Birchall, who slotted it past keeper Stefan Frei to make it 1-0 Galaxy.
However despite scoring the early goal, the Galaxy (8-2-7) seemed to lack cohesion in midfield with key creative players Landon Donovan away on international duty and Juninho out with an injury.
“I think that we played a different system in the first half,” explained David Beckham. “We played kind of a diamond formation and I think we were just getting in each other’s way at times.”
Lopez nearly doubled the Galaxy’s lead in the 10th minute when he got off a shot from outside the 18. However his shot rebounded off the post. Then in the 21st Beckham launched in a free kick from the corner to Michael Stephens whose top of the 18 blast went just wide of the far post.
As the first half wore on the Galaxy failed to score the all-important second goal that would have most likely put the game out of Toronto’s reach.
Then in the 41st minute Jacob Peterson was taken down on the edge of the Galaxy penalty area. No foul was called but the midfielder had to be helped off the pitch to make way for the man who would alter the complexion of the match so dramatically as Alan Gordon was introduced in his place.
Perhaps emboldened by the Galaxy’s inability to consolidate their lead, TFC came out strong in the second half. Right on the hour mark Mikael Yourassowsky had a crack from edge of 18. But Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders was alert to the danger and made the save.
Then in the 68th Gordon made the Galaxy pay for their inability to notch the second goal. The striker was lurking inside the six when he was set up by Yourassowsky and connected with a powerful header, driving the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-1.
“At halftime we got together and we needed to come out with some pride and some heart and some fight,” said Gordon. “It’s something that we haven’t been doing a lot of lately and we really did it today in the second half. “
A minute later the striker shot again from 20 yards out but only succeeded in hitting the crossbar this time.
As the match ticked into the final stretch it seemed to be showing all the signs of ending in a 1-1 draw. Then in the 90th minute of play Galaxy striker Juan Pablo Angel pounced on a loose ball at the edge of the box and coolly drove in what for all the world looked like the match winning goal.
But Alan Gordon had other ideas.
Late into four minutes of stoppage time, Galaxy defender AJ DeLaGarza made a poor clearance and lost possession of the ball to Maicon Santos. The TFC forward passed the ball to Gordon at the edge of the six. The former Galaxy man wasted no time connecting with an improbably angled shot to the far corner that settled the score at 2-2 seconds before the final whistle was blown.
“We kept going, you gotta give us credit,” said Gordon. “We could’ve put our heads down but we kept going we got one last push it was fortunate we got a goal.”
While the Galaxy remain undefeated in their last eight matches, half those results are draws, many of which should arguably have been wins. LA will look to improve their form next week as they go on the road to face Colorado.
“We played better than we did last week but we still didn’t finish the game off,” said Beckham. “So we’re disappointed obviously, just two points from the last two games especially being at home. We have to pick it up.”