This matchup was originally scheduled for August 28th, and back then the LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls were at the top of their respective divisions and had the stars to make this a match of International renown. Hurricane Irene washed that game out, and the rescheduled matchup MLS fans are treated to instead doesn't have the same luster.
Landon Donovan is in Los Angeles, Robbie Keane is in Ireland, and it'll be just David Beckham taking on Thierry Henry as Rafa Marquez has seemingly quit on a Red Bulls squad that's now fighting for the last MLS postseason spot. Should the Galaxy win tonight, they would clinch the Supporter's Shield; should NY win, they would eliminate Chivas USA from post-season contention.
LA only has six wins all time away against New York, including last year's 1-0 victory at the new Red Bulls Arena in Harrison, NJ. Edson Buddle had the long goal in the match, a native to the area. Now Buddle is back in the states for a bit, taking Landon Donovan's spot on the US national team roster.
Juan Pablo Angel, Buddle's biggest competitor for the Golden Boot last year (until Chris Wondolowski's hat trick), is now plying his trade for Chivas USA, after floundering for the Galaxy. Angel also bears the distinction of being New York's leading goal scorer in this tilt with six against LA. Cobi Jones is LA's all time goal leader with seven, but even he now is in the New York Cosmo's front office and announcing games on Fox Soccer. It almost seems like every star this matchup has had or should have has something else on their mind.
When these two clubs met earlier in the season, it was quite the marquee matchup. Thierry Henry scored an early goal and seemed to be toying with the Galaxy back line. Landon Donovan equalized just before halftime, and that's how the match ended. The home team has not won in this series going back to the second matchup in 2009, David Beckham's return from a loan to AC Milan.
Of course, the biggest ever rendition of this matchup was David Beckham in 2007 traveling to Giants Stadium to play in front of 66,237 fans. The turf field resulted in a crazy fast paced match that ended 5-4. Lets be honest though, MLS marketing this matchup is an attempt at short memories. Sure since LA rebranded and brought in Beckham, and since NY brought in Henry and built a new stadium, this has been a sexy matchup. But the once NY/NJ Metrostars have won no major competitions in their 16 year history. This year isn't exactly a sign of great things to come for New York. Still, it could well be that NY is where LA was in 2007, and we're just a year away from a renaissance.
I'll believe it when I see some New York trophy hoisting.