Any other considerations aside, tonight's match at Home Depot Center between the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls, set to kick off at 8pm PST, is a match between the top two teams in their respective conferences. Tonight on ESPN2, the likes of David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Landon Donovan, Juan Agudelo, and Juan Pablo Angel; the latter playing his former team for the first time tonight. The Galaxy's unbeaten stream ended last Sunday, as they fell to FC Dallas 2-1. The Red Bulls are on a three game win streak, including a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City at home last week. New York hasn't allowed a goal in any of those three victories.
The all-time head to head between NY and LA is tied at 15 wins a piece, and 5 ties. The last three matches in the series have, peculiarly, gone to the visiting team, with the Galaxy winning 0-1 in New York last year and New York returning the favor winning 0-2 at Home Depot Center. Bruce Arena has overseen sixteen matches against his former employer, winning ten of them. This is just Hans Backe's second season in MLS.
Bruce Arena made jut one change to the team between their 3-0 victory over Portland and the 2-1 loss to FC Dallas, and that was reinserting Juan Pablo Angel into the lineup. Angel played with the reserve squad the Sunday after the Portland victory, but Arena had to replace Miguel Lopez as Lopez went on the injured list with a knee contusion. The Lopez and Chad Barrett pairing up top had lead to the Galaxy's first two multi-goal games of the season. It's likely Juan Pablo Angel will start again, with Lopez listed as questionable, and Angel's former team in town.
The reemergence of Landon Donovan, the goal scorer, has been the theme of the last two games. With three goals over the last two matches, Landon has been responsible for much of the Galaxy's offense, picking up player of the week honors after the Portland match for his efforts.