The LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls are set to kick off Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California with kickoff scheduled for 5:30. The Galaxy will be getting back David Beckham and Robbie Keane, while the Red Bulls will be without Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez. It's a significant matchup, being broadcast in primetime on ESPN.
The match was billed as a duel of the greats, as it has been since mid-2010. Since joining the New York Red Bulls and Major League Soccer in 2010, Thierry Henry has scored two goals in three matches against the Galaxy. David Beckham hasn't had the same level off success, having never scored against New York.
New York now are expected to be without Thierry Henry for 2-4 weeks after he suffered a hamstring injury shortly after scoring his league leading ninth goal of the season in a 1-0 victory over New England. The Red Bulls are also going to be without Rafa Marquez who is serving a suspension for his actions against San Jose in a match on April 14th.
The Galaxy are in a different boat, with David Beckham, Robbie Keane, and Todd Dunivant returning to the club after sitting out the trip to Seattle midweek. The Red Bulls and Galaxy feature the five highest payed players in MLS, with Landon Donovan rounding out the group. Over their careers, these five have collected a combined 23 titles across MLS, the EPL, La Liga, and Ligue 1.
With the Red Bulls stars out, the focus will likely be on how the young Red Bulls back line can handle the Galaxy's experienced offense. While the Red Bulls lead MLS with 18 goals scored (half scored by Henry), the club has also surrendered 14 goals in that span. The back line that NY trotted out against New England consisted of Brandon Barklage, Markus Holgersson, Tyler Ruthven, and Connor Lade, and they entered the match with 23 matches of MLS experience between them. With a rookie in goal in Ryan Maera, they were still able to earn Maera's first MLS shutout.
Clearly the resume of the Galaxy attack is much more prestigious. The club features the US Men's National Team all time leading scorer, Ireland's National Team all time leading scorer, the 2010 MLS Golden Boot runner up, and arguably still the world's most popular soccer player.
Will the Red Bulls cave under all this prestige, or will the Galaxy vets show tired legs once again this year. Time will tell.