By ADAM SERRANO
CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez made his return to action, but the Los Angeles Galaxy were unable to get a victory as a stoppage time goal by Michael Farfan gave the Philadelphia Union, a 2-1 victory over the Galaxy.
Making his first appearance for the Galaxy since tearing his ACL in January, Gonzalez was solid throughout his 45 minutes of action, but ultimately could not stop the Union from stealing a victory.
"We didn't play our best, but for the guys in our locker room to fight as hard as they fought and really make plays, that's fantastic," Philadelphia coach John Hackworth said of his club's performance. "These kinds of games can define a team."
The contest began with the Galaxy pressing from the outset as Los Angeles nearly tallied in the fourth minute of play when Robbie Keane sliced through the Philadelphia defense, but his shot was cleared off the line by Union defender Carlos Valdes. Keane had a second opportunity in the 11th minute as he once again he broke through the Union back four, but saw his shot cleared off the the shoulder of Gabriel Farfan.
Despite the pressure from the Galaxy, the Union struck first in first half stoppage time as Michael Farfan sprinted to the endline beating David Junior Lopes before whipping a ball to McInerney, who coolly backheeled a shot into the Galaxy net and providing a sour ending to Gonzalez's return.
"I was pretty nervous the whole day, but once the ref blew the whistle, I was ready to go," Gonzalez said. "Even though it's my first game back, it's unacceptable to give up a goal that late (in the first half)."
At the start of the second half, the Galaxy removed Gonzalez, inserting Sean Franklin. Down a goal, the Galaxy controlled possession and came close to equalizing in the 61st minute. The flurry of chances began off a Juninho corner kick with Todd Dunivant’s header glancing the post, the ball falling to Marcelo Sarvas’ whose own shot at goal ricocheted off the cross bar. Los Angeles would have one more opportunity as Juninho had an opportunity that sailed over MacMath’s net.
"It's frustrating, no doubt about it," Landon Donovan said of the club's inability to finish. "It's hard to be upset, because almost everyone played pretty well, but you don't score, you make a mistake, and you're on the bad end of another result."
After their initial flurry, the chances came quick as Sarvas forced a diving save from MacMath in the 70th minute. The equalizer finally came in the 73rd minute when a Dunivant cross into the found Barrett, who tapped in his first goal of the season.
Philadelphia nearly issued an immediate response in the 74th minute when second-half substitute Antoine Hoppenot capitalized on a Juninho giveaway that put him alone on the Galaxy frame, however the teenager’s strike was stopped by a Josh Saunders’ save. With the Galaxy pressing forward, the Union ultimately broke through in the fifth minute of stoppage as a backheel pass by Lionard Pajoy found Michael Farfan, who fired a shot past Saunders.
"For Michael, the work he did the whole game, he was Superman," Hackworth said. "And then to be able to have that late finish was amazing."
Gonzalez's return was not the only event that made headlines as Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard watched the game with David Beckham from a suite at the Home Depot Center, adding fuel to rumors that surfaced earlier in the week, which linked Lampard to the Galaxy.
But this was of little concern to the Galaxy, who have lost two straight matches snapping a three-game winning streak and must look ahead to Sunday's match against the Chicago Fire, having to once again, put a few difficult of results behind them.
"The reality is, we should be five wins in a row right now, now we find ourselves behind the eight ball again and it's difficult to take, but the reality is that it's over," said Donovan. "We can either moan about it or we can wake up tomorrow morning and get ready for Chicago and that's what we're going to do."
Meanwhile, the Union also return to action on Sunday when they host Toronto FC.