The LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls played a sluggish match at the Home Depot Center, with neither club grabbing the match by the horns, and the Red Bulls winning the match 0-1 on essentially their only real attempt of the match. For the Galaxy, it means they go 0-2-0 on the week with many unanswered questions about their performance. The sellout crowd on hand had little to celebrate.
"They played a 4-1-4-1," said manager Bruce Arena. "Basically for the night they played with nine players behind the ball. Spaced themselves properly all over the field...Our width was much better in the second half which increased our chances and allowed us to get more crosses in. From minute one in the game, it was pretty obvious tactically what they were doing. We did not come up with enough solutions technically, in terms of the cross and the finishing."
Ryan Meara, rookie goalkeeper for the Red Bulls, earned his second straight clean sheet in just his ninth MLS appearance. His decision making on the line was crucial for NY, as Beckham sent ball after ball into the box. In total the Galaxy sent in 32 open play crosses, 25 in the second half. That means the Galaxy sent a ball in every other minute.
So certainly the Galaxy were able to get their crosses in, which is a situation where Omar Gonzalez is certainly missed as a target. However, Edson Buddle was also known to get a head to the ball in the past. The Galaxy are yet to find the man in the box this year for these types of matches. They're certainly better running in the center of the pitch, which plays to Donovan and Keane's strength. The effect of this, is the team looks disjointed out on the pitch.
The opening goal came in the 19th minute. Jan Gunnar Solli was playing a left wing position and he was able to walk through the back line to find Joel Lindpere in that center of the box. Lindpere's left footed shot crossed up Bill Gaudette and ended up in the top right corner.
The Galaxy had their chances, first in the 13'. Sean Franklin on the right side, just past the midfield line, sent a ball into Robbie Keane. With the bounce of the ball, all Robbie Keane could do was chip it over the NY keeper. It got over Ryan Meara, but was cleared off the line by Markus Holgersson.
The next solid attempt came in the 82'. Juninho found himself alone just outside the box, and let one rip that was destined for the top center of the goal. Meara was able to get a hand to it, stopping the sure equalizer.
David Beckham sent plenty of crosses into the box, as the Galaxy's only move this match seemed to be the hopeful long ball in, hoping the young Red Bulls back line would make a mistake. Unfortunately the opposite happened, the young players flocked to every ball played in like it was their most prized possession.
The Galaxy had 545 total passes to the Red Bulls' 176. The Red Bulls only had one shot on target the whole match, and only one off target shot the entire second half. The Galaxy controlled the lion's share of possession. However, the rookie goalkeeper and inexperienced back line proved quite effective for the second match in a row.