A penalty kick goal by Carlos Ruiz put the Guatemalan striker back on top of Major League Soccer’s scoring charts on Saturday evening and extended the Galaxy’s unbeaten streak to five games as Los Angeles tied D.C. United, 1-1, in front of 17,671 at RFK Stadium in Washington.
Ruiz’s goal, his 10th of the season, came in the 66th minute after D.C. United defender Brandon Prideaux had blocked Ruiz’s initial shot with his arm.
Galaxy defender Paul Broome, an influential figure throughout the match, had sprinted into the D.C. United penalty area before passing to Ruiz, whose shot from about 15 yards was knocked down by Prideaux.
Ruiz had been tied in the league scoring race earlier in the day when San Jose forward Brian Ching, a former Galaxy player, scored twice in the Earthquakes’ 3-1 home victory over the Colorado Rapids. Each had nine goals.
But Ruiz reclaimed the lead by firing his penalty kick into the bottom left corner of goalkeeper Troy Perkins’ net to earn the Galaxy a share of the points in a rough and occasionally ill-tempered game played on a surface made slippery and suspect by a pregame rainstorm.
Referee Kevin Stott was kept busy throughout the match and ended up issuing five yellow cards to D.C. United, including three in the first 26 minutes, and one to the Galaxy, which improved its record to 9-5-5.
Ruiz and fellow forward Alejandro Moreno, who had scored three goals against D.C. United in a 4-2 Galaxy victory in May, bore the brunt of the 19 fouls committed by the home team, which had a 14-5 edge in shots.
But it was Galaxy defender Tyrone Marshall who had to leave the game in the 34th minute after a hard tackle left him writhing in pain. Midfielder Marcelo Saragosa also was reduced to a hobble for the last 15 minutes by a cramp in his right calf. He had to stay on the field because the Galaxy had made its three allowed substitutions.
D.C. United (5-6-6) took the lead in stoppage time at the end of the first half when its captain, defender Ryan Nelsen of New Zealand, scored from close range, latching on to a cross from Dema Kovalenko that had deflected off Jaime Moreno in front of the Galaxy net.
Nelsen got to the loose ball seconds before Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who made several first-class saves to keep his team in the game until Ruiz salvaged a point from the match.
Jones reported from Los Angeles.