D.C. United had a man advantage for the entire second half Saturday — and needed almost all of it to earn a 1-1 draw against Los Angeles FC.
Darren Mattocks scored the equalizer in the 84th minute as United (2-5-3) completed a two-game swing through California with four points.
The Jamaican striker was left alone in the six-yard box for a simple header after Paul Arriola won an aerial battle with two defenders on Joseph Mora’s cross.
United threatened to take all three points at sold-out Banc of California Stadium, but in stoppage time, Frederic Brillant’s 12-yard header hit the far post.
Diego Rossi had scored late in the first half for expansion LAFC (6-3-3), which is winless in three straight.
LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller’s handiwork prevented United from extending its run of strong starts this spring. Last weekend, D.C. scored three before intermission at San Jose en route to a 3-1 victory.
LAFC’s Mark-Anthony Kaye threatened to shatter the deadlock in the 22nd minute but hit the near post with a 10-yard header.
United lost left back Nick DeLeon to a knee injury in the 26th minute. Mora, back in uniform after serving a red-card suspension, filled the void. DeLeon had started each of the previous nine matches and played every minute. There was no immediate word on the extent of the injury.
LAFC went ahead in the 39th minute, infiltrating D.C.’s central resistance before Rossi pumped a 13-yard one-timer past David Ousted for his fifth goal of the year.
Just before halftime, United gained a man advantage when Dejan Jakovic, a former D.C. defender, was red-carded for a hard challenge on Arriola in midfield.
The personnel difference did not translate, however, as United labored to set the terms and struggled to unlock LAFC’s compact defense.
Video replay came into play at both ends during a chaotic stretch. United howled for a penalty kick when, under pressure from Matthocks, LAFC defender Laurent Ciman appeared to take a dive and handle the ball in the box. After being alerted by the video assistant, referee Ismail Elfath checked the monitor but declined to award a penalty kick or caution Ciman for embellishment.
Moments later, Elfath awarded a penalty kick to LAFC when Jordan Harvey’s cross struck Zoltan Stieber. However, Stieber’s arm was in a natural position and, after checking the video, Elfath changed the call.
Later, United made another claim for a penalty but video assistant Alex Chilowicz did not deem the play worthy of review.
During seven minutes of stoppage time, Ousted made a superb save on Eduard Atuesta’s rocket from the top of the penalty area and Brillant nearly struck the match-winner.
“It was a wild game,” United Coach Ben Olsen said. “It’s hard to process that game.”
United notes: Attacker Bruno Miranda, who entered in the 73rd minute, will join the Bolivian national team for Monday’s friendly against the United States in Chester, Pa. … Midfielder Junior Moreno returned from a hamstring injury by replacing Chris Durkin in the 58th. … United is off until June 5 for a U.S. Open Cup fourth-round match against second-tier North Carolina FC at Maryland SoccerPlex. The next league game is June 9 at Seattle.