By: Alex Baker
Carson, CA – League leaders, LA Galaxy, lost 2-0 at home to a Thierry Henry-less New York Red Bulls last night. Henry was out with an injury and didn’t make the trip but his former Barcelona teammate Rafa Marquez got the start for Red Bulls, as did David Beckham and Landon Donovan for the Galaxy.
The game kicked off in front of a sold out crowd in excess of 27,000. The home side started well enough but failed to create any real danger. A defensive error from NY gifted them an immediate corner, which was taken badly by Beckham and didn’t amount to anything. Then in the 8th minute, Galaxy’s Brazilian midfielder Juninho fired a woeful long distance effort that sailed off to nowhere.
Ten minutes into the match and the midfield looked lively with both sides in good form but neither able to mount a credible threat on goal. In the 12th minute, Todd Dunivant fired a good ball into the area for Edson Buddle but NY keeper Bouna Coundoul defused the situation.
In the 14th minute NY’s Mehdi Ballouchy fired a shot on target from outside the 18 that forced LA Keeper Donovan Rickets into his first save of the night.
In the 19th minute Beckham crossed in the ball for Buddle who shot on target, forcing a save from Coundoul that resulted in a Galaxy corner. The corner is played short and fired in by Beckham again but the danger is cleared.
In the 26th minute Beckham fired a long ball in for Buddle who lost the first of many foot races he would lose to Coundoul.
In the 28th minute NY went on the attack through Joel Lindpere who made a penetrating run in from the left and got a shot off that went only slightly wide of the far post.
New York did grab the lead in the 36th minute through Dane Richards who beat Todd Dunivant to a rebound that had come off the post after Lindpere had shot, making it 1-0 for NY.
As the first half wound down, the LA Riot Squad and the Angel City Brigade were in full voice, trying to will LA to snatch an equalizer before the break. However NY’s defense held strong and after 45 minutes plus one for stoppage time, the score remained 1-0 in favor of the Red Bulls.
LA started aggressively and in the 46th minute Beckham fired a ball in that forced Coundoul off his line. Good pressure in the opening two minutes won the Galaxy a 47th minute corner. Beckham played it in; it was cleared, played in again by Beckham and nearly slotted home by Yohance Marshall who had his shot stopped by Coundoul.
Rafa Marquez had a somewhat low profile during the match. His main contribution was a 53rd minute free kick that sailed straight into the arms of Rickets.
In the 58th minute Juan Pablo Angel, NY’s other designated player, receives the ball inside the 18 and fired a header just over the crossbar.
Moments later a penalty kick was awarded to Red Bulls after Richards is brought down inside the box by Marshall. Juan Pablo Angel stepped up to the mark and sent Rickets the wrong way, making it 2-0 Red Bulls.
LA could have gotten back into the game when they were awarded a free kick in the 65th minute. Beckham took the kick from about 30 yards out and put the ball on target only to have his shot saved by Coundoul who was by now having a bit of a good night.
In the 67th minute the Galaxy subbed Eddie Lewis in for Jovan Kirovski. Lewis immediately impacted the match, crossing the ball in from the left and forcing Coundoul to come off his line and intervene.
Marquez was subbed off in the 69th minute to make way for Carl Robinson.
NY could have made put the game to bed in the 71st minute when Lindpere fired the ball across goal from the left for Angel who just barely missed getting a boot to it.
With fifteen minutes left on the clock the Galaxy sub Tristan Bowen in for Dema Kovalenko who has come up injured.
In the 81st minute a good ball was sent in from Lewis that Landon Donovan missed getting a hold of. Then in the 85th Tristan Bowen got a shot off on target that elicited another decent save from Coundoul.
David Beckham was yellow carded in 86th minute for studs up challenge on substitute Salou Ibrahim.
Galaxy’s final opportunity to score came in extra time when Donovan got a shot off from close range that went straight into the arms of Coundoul. Seconds later the whistle was blown and the score remained at 2-0 in favor of the visitors.