HARRISON, N.J. — The LA Galaxy lost for just the second time all season on the road to the New York Red Bulls as they fell 3-2 in Harrison, New Jersey.
The LA Galaxy lost for just the second time all season on the road to the New York Red Bulls as they fell 3-2 in Harrison, New Jersey.
The Galaxy (7-2-1) also snapped their seven-game unbeaten streak at the start of a busy May where they’ll play another five games before the month closes down.
But in a game full of beautiful scoring chances and goals, it was the ugliest of those chances, and an overturned offside call, that ultimately made the difference in a poor performance from both teams.
Derrick Etienne scored the game-winning goal in the 67th minute. But it was the positioning of Brian White that was called into question. The clearly-offside white made contact with Galaxy defender Rolf Feltscher before falling in front of, but beside, Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham.
The shot from Etienne glanced ever so slightly off of Feltscher and caught the screened Bingham diving in the other direction.
The nearside Assistant Referee raised his flag, and the call was thrown to VAR Silviu Petrescu. From there it eventually was sent to, center referee Nima Saghafi for an on-field review.
The call was overturned, and it gave the Red Bulls (3-4-2) the advantage they needed to close out the Galaxy.
The game started poorly for the Galaxy regardless of where the final goal came eventually was scored.
Amro Tarek scored in the 15th minute as New York looked to punish the choppy passing from the back of the Galaxy’s formation and made easy work of a backline that was disconnected from the midfield.
But the Galaxy would close out the first half leading the game as Galaxy defender Diego Polenta would play two perfect balls behind the Red Bulls defense to get his team on the board.
The first happened in the 39th minute when Polenta lobbed a long ball to Zlatan Ibrahimovic towards the right edge of the penalty box. The ball was controlled and passed to a streaking Uriel Antuna who scored from six-yards out, beating Red Bull’s goalkeeper Luis Robles to the wide side.
It was Antuna’s second goal in as many games as the 21-year-old Manchester City loanee has upped his presence on the offensive side of the ball.
Just four minutes later, Polenta would again find an open pass as he dished the ball to Galaxy midfielder Chris Pontius. Pontius would pass across the box to Zlatan Ibrahimovic who would lay out for the header and bury his ninth goal of the season for the club.
But it would be some poor defending from the Galaxy, and a lazy approach to the start of the second half that would let them down. That’s when New York would score in the 59th minute on a wide-open look from Marc Rzatkowski. The Galaxy defense, sucked in deep to follow Connor Lade, would leave the middle of the box open for Rzatkowski who would fire into the back of the net.
And down the road by about eight minutes, would eventually lead to Etienne’s game-winner.
In this game, despite the controversial VAR call, the Galaxy can’t blame anyone but themselves. In crucial moments the defense found themselves stretched, and the midfield, pressing high to try to trap the Red Bull’s midfield, was not there to break up counter attacks or long direct balls into the box.
But that didn’t mean they rolled over for New York.
Pontius would find the post in the dying minutes of the match, but Antuna’s rebound would miss wide. And even on the other end, Bingham was forced to make a couple of big saves from the four total saves he made during the match.
The three goals the Galaxy allowed was their most on the season, and the loss is their first since losing to FC Dallas, in Dallas, at the beginning of March.
The club will stay in New Jersey for the next couple of days before flying directly to Columbus for a Wednesday night matchup at Mapfre Stadium (4:30 p.m. PT; Spectrum SN).
The Galaxy won’t be happy with the result, but with all the games still to be played in May, they’d be keen not to let it affect their overall mindset.