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Edson Buddle’s 10’ goal proved to be the match for the Los Angeles Galaxy, as they held on to win 1-0. “When you’re on the road its pretty critical if you can get the first goal,” said Galaxy coach Dave Sarachan. “It takes the wind out of their sails a little bit, takes the crowd out of it a little bit.”
Edson Buddle had two other shots this game, both of them off-target, but proved a great target for Landon Donovan and Juninho, who did a great job getting the ball upfield in transition. “I thought Edson (Buddle), besides the goal, had a great night,” said coach Sarachan. “He was just a handful for them.”
Omar Gonzalez is rapidly emerging as a leader in the back for the Galaxy, closing space quickly and not allowing New York to break away. He and his partner in the back Gregg Berhalter deserve a ton of credit reestablishing a Galaxy defense which began the season to great accolades but had been subject to criticism lately. “Tonight, me and Gregg were just talking about being really aggressive,” said Gonzalez. “I think that me and Gregg did really well to just get under their skin and make sure they didn’t get too many touches on the ball.” One improvement in the back from recent weeks was management of the offsides line. A few of the many goals given up the last four weeks were on close plays in the back, but tonight the Galaxy were on top of who was behind them, luring New York into 8 offsides calls.
Rafael Marquez’ turnover led to the Galaxy goal, but his coach was quick to defend him after the match, “It’s happens in football today, if you’re in the middle of the park and make some mistakes or side passes, on the highest levels, you will pay a price.” Marquez himself wasn’t too up on his performance, “I am not happy at all. I need more time to perform to be at my best level. We had many chances to tie the game, but we had no luck to achieve that.”
One of the unfortunate side effects of MLS’ summer based schedule is that designated players from overseas often come in at pre-season form, which is the case with both Thierry Henry and Marquez. By the time they’re in shape, the MLS is heading to its postseason. Landon Donovan was up on the increase of DPs in the league, “It was great, we need that in our league. We want the opportunity to play in full stadiums and I guess now with (Thierry) Henry and (Rafa) Márquez here, they’re going to have a lot more fans. For us it makes the game a little more intense, a little more real, and it’s fun to play them.”
After weeks of facing teams content to wait for the Galaxy to make a mistake, the Galaxy have looked confident against a team looking to press as much as the Galaxy will. The Galaxy back four were able to withstand early New York pressure, keeping the Galaxy from giving up the early goal that has plagued them in the last six weeks.
The Galaxy countered that early pressure with a fantastic ball from Juninho to Edson Buddle, which Buddle stuck neatly in the back of the net. Juninho, with Landon Donovan has made the field feel small, getting the ball forward quickly in transition. Buddle’s finish shows a precision he lacked against Chicago in the Galaxy’s last MLS league match, where he struck two early chances right at the keeper.
New York has had chances, but rebounds aren’t landing at the feet of support players in the box, as was happening the last few weeks.
Toward the end of the half, New York was able to stretch the field, with Marquez working further and further from the midfield line, but Omar Gonzalez showed great closing speed, preventing anything from breaking through the back.
New York’s best chance came off a free kick in stoppage time, a header which clanged safely off the crossbar.
Los Angeles Galaxy
GK Donovan Ricketts
DEF Alex DeLaGarza
DEF Gregg Berhalter
DEF Omar Gonzalez
DEF Sean Franklin
MID Chris Birchall
MID Landon Donovan – Captain
MID Michael Stephens
FWD Edson Buddle
FWD Tristan Bowen
Subs: Saunders, Leonardo, Jordan, Lewis, Klein, Kirovski, Magee
New York Red Bulls
GK Bouna Coundoul
DEF Roy Miller
DEF Tim Ream
DEF Carlos Mendes
DEF Chris Albright
MID Joel Lindpere
MID Tony Tchani
MID Rafael Marquez
MID Dane Richards
FWD Thierry Henry
FWD Juan Pablo Angel
bench: Sutton, Petke, Borman, Sinisa, Robinson, Stammler, Kandji
Coach Bruce Arena will not be on the bench for tonight’s game in New Jersey, per a statement released by the Galaxy:
After consulting with club physicians and those in the New York area, it has been decided that Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena will not be on the bench for the club tonight when they take on the New York Red Bulls. Arena was taken ill on Wednesday and was hospitalized over night on Thursday at the Hoboken Medical Center. He was diagnosed with viral complications and remained in the hospital on Friday night before rejoining the club on Saturday morning. Arena is expected to make a full recovery and will be in attendance for tonight’s game but will watch from a private box. He will return to Los Angeles with the club on Sunday. In his absence, Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan and Assistant Coach Cobi Jones will coach the team on Saturday.
3:00 pm PDT, TV: FSC, Radio: AM 1150, 1330 Esp.
Harrison, NJ - Tonight, in front of a sold out crowd, the Los Angeles Galaxy (12-3-4, 6-2-2 road, 40 pts.) will attempt to return to their winning ways against the New York Red Bulls (9-6-4, 6-2-1 home, 31 pts.). The two teams have split the all time series at 14 wins a piece, with 5 ties, although last year the Galaxy swept the Season series (1-0, 3-1) with star Landon Donovan scoring a goal in each game. The big news out of New York is the recent acquisition of former French national team star Thierry Henry. New York has also shored up its backfield with Mexican defender Rafael Marquez. Defender Omar Gonzalez of the Galaxy has stayed in the headlines this week with great showing against Real Madrid and in his first cap for the US national team against Brazil. So even without David Beckham, who was added back on the roster this week, albeit on the disabled list, there will be a wealth of international level talent on the pitch.
Most important for the Galaxy is to come out strong in the first minutes. The last few weeks have seen the Galaxy allowing early goals and playing from behind almost all game. Not since the July 4th game against the Seattle Sounders have the Galaxy scored the first goal, a scenario in which the Galaxy are undefeated this season (12-0-0). Not surprisingly, the Galaxy have yet to win a game in which they've given up the first goal (0-3-1). New York hasn't fared much better with only one win after giving up the first goal (1-6-1) but show the same ability to close games in which they chalk one up first (8-0-1). Both teams play a version of the 4-1-3-2, and will likely be pressing from the opening kickoff.
New York Red Bulls Notes:
New York and Los Angeles both had four players each on international duty Mid-week, but all are expect to be available for the match tonight. Alpine Village in Torrance is the site of the viewing party, where yours truly will be catching the game.