It’s been a wild one, as the New York Red Bulls has been trying to battle back against LA, but remain where they started with the score 1-1. The Los Angeles Galaxy lead the aggregate series 2-1. The Galaxy have outshot New York 3-9, with shots on goal 2-5. This after a slow start which saw the Galaxy with just one shot on goal through 35 minutes.
New York got their goal early, as a nine pass build up in the 4’ lead to Luke Rodgers with the ball in the box all alone with only Saunders to beat. Rodgers angled it around Saunders hard to put New York up 1-0 within five minutes. He then promptly received a yellow card for unsporting behavior, slide tackling David Beckham studs raised as the Galaxy restarted the match on the kickoff.
The Home Depot Center has booed Rodgers’ ever touch, as he has been quite the explosive presence on the pitch. The momentum started to shift around the twenty minute mark, when New York’s Teemu Tainio went out with right hamstring tightness. Now down two starting midfielders, the Galaxy have turned it over less in the midfield. In the opening fifteen, the Galaxy sorely felt the absence of Juninho.
New York has the advantage on corners 3-2, but it;s the Galaxy that covered on one. In the 42’, David Beckham’s corner kick went near post right at Mike Magee who headed it in to put the Galaxy ahead again on aggregate. Away goals do not count extra in MLS Cup playoffs.
Beckham’s presence on the pitch was in doubt, as after going for a header and coming down fairly hard, he stayed down long enough to cause the ref to stop play. He looked shaky when he got back up, and collapsed again after walking twenty yards. He went over to the sideline, allegedly used smelling salts, and continued on. When the goal celebration came over to him, he backed out of the group hug. He’s obviously playing at less than full capacity.
Robbie Keane had two excellent chances in the first half, both within spitting distance of goalkeeper Frank Rost, and both requiring excellent Rost saves. He’ll certainly be hungry for a goal in the second half.
Possession was even, though the Red Bulls were better at completing their passes again. The Galaxy will look to find a series sealing goal in the second half, and baring that, to park the bus on New York’s chances. The crowd may have been truncated, but they’ve been loud in their desire for a favorable result.