CARSON, Calif. The road has been unkind to Real Salt Lake all season, but Saturday the club took their road despair to new lows.
Real Salt Lake's Fabian Espindola broke his leg celebrating a goal that was eventually waved off and RSL eventually squandered a late lead as the club tied a depleted Galaxy squad 2-2 at Home Depot Center on Saturday night.
David Beckham and Landon Donovan were among the quartet of Galaxy players missing due to international duty. Even without the league's glitzy duo, Real Salt Lake could not capitalize.
"We're a bit disappointed in that result," Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis said. "We came into the game knowing that they were missing a lot of key players, a lot of important players and we were confident enough to come here and think we could take away the full three points. Having said that, we haven't been very good on the road this season so I think we have to take some positive stuff out of the game."
RSL had to make do without Jamaican Andy Williams, but it seemed a bit of a fair trade for the visitors.
Los Angeles was forced to start two defenders in the midfield to compensate for the absences and Real Salt Lake nearly capitalized from the start.
However, an early flurry that appeared to have resulted in a Real Salt Lake goal instead turned out rather costly for the visitors. In the sixth minute Kyle Beckerman unleashed a 30-yard shot that Fabian Espindola headed into the back of the Galaxy goal. Espindola glanced at the referee's assistant, who initially did not signal for an offside call, and raced back toward the center stripe to celebrate the apparent goal.
Espindola, who scored twice in a 2-0 win over Colorado on Aug. 29, did several backflips to punctuate his goal. Except, there was no goal after all. And to make matters worse, Espindola hurt his ankle during his celebration.
"This has never happened to me. I don't know why it happened," Espindola said. "I've done it thousands of times before. I guess it had to happen sooner or later."
The hosts capitalized on Espindola's gaffe. With Real Salt Lake left with 10 men, Edson Buddle stole a ball from Jamison Olave, dribbled into the area and ripped a shot that RSL 'keeper Nick Rimando pushed wide. Bryan Jordan, however, was there and easily tapped in the rebound and the Galaxy led 1-0 after nine minutes.
Still, the league's worst defense eventually folded. Yura Movsisyan, who replaced Espindola in the ninth minute, leveled terms in the 21st minute. A loose ball fell to Movsisyan on the left side of the penalty area. With Wicks charging at him, Movsisyan tucked a ball underneath the diving 'keeper and into the back of the net.
Will Johnson put Real Salt Lake ahead in the 52nd minute when he combined with Movsisyan on a well-executed give-and-go. Johnson found Movsisyan near the top of the penalty with his back to the goal. Johnson fed Movsisyan and darted into the penalty area, where Movsisyan had placed the ball. Johnson collected the pass and banged a shot off the right post and into the inside netting.
Buddle tied the score, however, as the Galaxy pulled even in the 68th minute. Jordan placed a ball in front of Rimando. The ball deflected off Alan Gordon and fell to Buddle who slipped the ball into an empty net.
"A result on the road is something that has been hard for us this year and we were feeling that we were going to win that one so sure it gets us a little bit in the gut," Rimando said. "It's still a point, we're still in second place and I guess we've just go keep our confidence up."