The Galaxy’s quest for the Community Shield will have to be put on hold as the team lost 2-0 to the Red Bulls in MLS’s marquee matchup. Goals by Luke Rodgers and Thierry Henry proved to be the difference as LA looked like a team at the end of a long season.
The New York Red Bulls took the lead in the 32nd minute after Donovan Ricketts made a great save on a header from a corner kick. However, Luke Rodgers was right on the doorstep to slam home the rebound. Rodgers almost had another after a lackadaisical Beckham pass let Joel Lindpere get down the wing, Henry unselfishly left it off for Rodgers seven yards from goal who pounded the ball off the goal post.
Thierry Henry doubled the lead in the 60th minute after a careless Galaxy giveaway in midfield let Rafa Marquez send Henry in on goal. Henry coolly converted to give the Red Bulls the 2-0 lead. Henry almost had his second goal after Bryan Jordan left a ball short for Beckham who did not make much of an effort, Henry deflected the pass and was in on goal by himself. His shot to the back post hit the post saving the Galaxy from a larger defeat.
Donovan Ricketts returned to action for his second game since June. He was out after breaking his arm, then returned and hurt his quadriceps in training. Josh Saunders has been filling in for Ricketts in goal, and in a credit to both the keepers and the defense, Ricketts and Saunders are 1st and 2nd in the league in Goals Against Average.
The first half flowed back and forth with end to end action, but neither team really able to grab hold of the game with the decisive pass, even though the Red Bulls scored in the opening stanza it did not seem as though they controlled the play or if they were playing like a team who needed a win to stay in the playoff picture, which they were. However, that changed drastically in the second half, where the Red Bulls played with much more energy as the Galaxy looked slow and tired.
Landon Donovan missed the game and pulled out of the US National Team Camp after injuring himself in the Galaxy’s game against Real Salt Lake. Robbie Keane missed the game, because he is in Ireland with the Irish national team preparing for European qualifying. Sean Franklin and Mike Magee also missed the game due to injury. David Beckham was questionable coming into the match due to back spasms, seeming to reinjure himself at the end of the Real Salt Lake match.
The game was the Galaxy’s ninth game in the last 30 days, a large amount of games even for a deep squad like the Galaxy. CONCACAF Champions League and MLS play have combined so that the Galaxy have played two games every week during the time period. The Galaxy now have 12 days before their next game against fellow Home Depot Center tenants, Chivas USA. The Galaxy need to use the 12 days to kick start the final push of the season. They still can clinch the Community Shield, for best record in the league with a win in either of their last two games. They can use the time to allow a lot of key players to get back to fitness. After the superclasico against Chivas they have an important group game against CD Motagua in CONCACAF Champions League, and the MLS playoffs start shortly afterward as well.