Without protest, Los Angeles Galaxy defender Daniel Steres walked off the field in what would have been a game-changer for any other MLS team.
Steres was shown a red card in the sixth minute for a tackle against the visiting Sounders FC. Down a man matters, unless Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the players who remains.
The forward scored twice to help the Galaxy keep pace for a 2-2 draw at Dignity Health Sports Park.
L.A. (13-11-2) was the obvious heavyweight against Seattle (11-8-7). Ibrahimovic is one of the most dynamic players in the league with 20 goals while goalkeeper David Bingham had collected 104 saves and eight shutouts entering the nationally televised match.
But the odds shifted when Steres chased down and tackled Sounders striker Raul Ruidiaz, who otherwise would’ve broken free for a score.
It took time for Ruidiaz to maneuver another attempt. In the 42nd minute, off a first effort from teammate Jordan Morris, winger Harry Shipp tapped an assist to Ruidiaz for the opening goal.
Ibrahimovic nailed the equalizer off a feed from Sebastian Lletget three minutes later. And had the go-ahead score in the 65th minute on a penalty kick. Sounders defender Kim Kee-hee had trouble marking the 6-foot-5 Ibrahimovic throughout the match and was called for a hard tackle inside the box to setup the kick against Sounders keeper Stefan Frei.
The Galaxy couldn’t seal the win, however, giving up an own goal with Bingham about 30-yards from the net. He came off his line to catch a save and missed, the ball deflecting off teammate Jorgen Skjelvik. The later was unable to chase down the loose ball as it rolled in to the chorus of Morris’ laughter.
Seattle remains fifth in the Western Conference with the draw. It plays at Portland on Friday.
Defensive midfielder Gustav Svensson returned to the Sounders starting lineup for the first time since the team’s home loss against the Timbers on July 21.
The Sounders were without left winger Victor Rodriguez (hamstring) and left back Brad Smith (adductor). The first-choice players are expected to be in Friday’s lineup against Portland.
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