D.C. United put the ball in the net twice. The Galaxy did so five times.
But for the Galaxy, only the first two counted.
The Galaxy failed to preserve a lead for the second consecutive game, tying 2-2 on Wednesday night at Stubhub Center with the team that has the worst record in MLS. But with three goals nullified because of offside calls, coach Sigi Schmid was critical of the officials.
“I didn’t think the referee had one of his better games today,” Schmid said.
In the opening five minutes, Zlatan Ibrahimovic started the scoring in his trademark style. After Dave Romney received a pass from Ashley Cole and sent in a looping cross from the left wing, Ibrahimovic cut back toward goal and took the ball on the volley, sending it past goalkeeper David Ousted.
“If you’re serving it to him, he’s going to finish it,” Romney said.
But 20 minutes later, Chris Pontius one-upped Ibrahimovic.
Pontius controlled Jorgen Skjelvik’s crossfield pass near the corner of the box and cut inside with a single touch. With the move leaving defender Oniel Fisher scrambling to recover, Pontius used his next touch to fire past Ousted and into the far side of the goal from 20 yards.
One minute later, the Galaxy’s lead was down to one goal. Luciano Acosta beat Cole and his run drew Romney, who didn’t notice Zoltan Stieber sneaking behind him until it was too late, and Stieber slotted the ball into the bottom corner with his first touch.
The Galaxy thought they had a third goal in the 29th minute, but the linesman ruled Michael Ciani offside in a goalmouth scramble before Pontius put the ball in the net. Perry Kitchen’s calls to invoke the replay system led only to a yellow card.
“[The referee] said he didn’t go to review because he blew the whistle before Pontius put it in, which is a nice way to avoid a review,” Schmid said.
The Galaxy believed they had doubled the lead in the 82nd minute after Pontius sent a pass toward Ibrahimovic, whose dummy left Ola Kamara open in front of the goal. Kamara finished but the officials ruled Ibrahimovic did not touch the ball and Kamara was offside.
Three minutes later, that decision proved crucial.
Darren Mattocks slipped between Kitchen and Baggio Husidic and shot high into the goal. Kamara would put the ball in the net once more during stoppage time, but again the linesman’s flag was raised.
“The last two games feel like losses,” Pontius said. “It’s frustrating.”