Carson, CA – The LA Galaxy pulled a little miracle out of their hat and scored two goals in the final ten minutes of the game to come back to tie the game 2-2 with the New York Red Bulls. And while the Galaxy should feel good about the ultimate result, they also should’ve never been in that position to begin with.
With Gyasi Zardes missing another game due to a chest muscle injury, Bruce Arena dropped Emmanuel Boateng to the bench and gave Sebastian Lletget the green light for the start against New York. But other than that it was a starting lineup that should’ve matched up well with New York.
The first half ended with seven minutes of stoppage time as the Red Bulls were forced to make two subs in the 30th and 32nd minutes. Jeff Larentowicz tackled Damien Perrinelle just inside of his attacking half. Perrinelle went down hard but Larentowicz dodged an easy yellow card. He was late getting to the ball, but the tackle didn’t look malicious. Some have suggested it was a red card. I just don’t see it.
Just two minutes later, in the 32nd minute, Connor Lade initiated contact with Sebastian Lletget. The two players bumped knees and Lade was forced to come off as well.
The Galaxy for their part continued to break through the up-front pressure of the New York Red Bulls but had little to show for it. Half chances came and went, but nothing could get through the ridiculously stout, Red Bull defense.
The only blatant chances for the LA Galaxy came when Steven Gerrard was brought down inside the box – looked like a penalty – and when Giovani dos Santos intercepted a back pass toward Luis Robles but his shot was expertly saved.
A 0-0 halftime score seemed unfair to the Galaxy who held a slight advantage on possession but also seemed to never get to the part where they actually scored a goal. Plenty of half chances and full on chances but no finishing.
The second half started with neither team making any changes, but for a side that was forced into making two early substitutions, they were very dismayed when Bradley Wright-Phillips went down for the second time in the game (both non-contact). He was quickly replaced by Gonzalo Verón and the game continued much like it had to begin with.
But New York had been good all night at creating half chances here and there and would occasionally catch the LA Galaxy’s backline, and Daniel Steres in particular, out of position. And that’s what happened in the 68th minute when Sacha Kljestan found Verón with a pass that saw him run right by Steres. Verón looped a good shoot over Brian Rowe and into the back of the net.
Six minutes later it was Sean Davis’ chance on goal as he gathered a good pass from Felipe that took Steres away from the play and then slid horizontally in the box to finish past Rowe.
The goals weren’t exactly against the run of play, but they were two of the best chances New York had all night and in this particular case it was enough to have the Red Bulls up by two goals with 16 minutes left to play.
Arena subbed on Mike Magee and Emmanuel Boateng for Sebastian Lletget and Nigel De Jong and tried to put in an offense that would be capable of breaking down a tiring Red Bull defense.
Magee was first on the board as he got a header from Steven Gerrard who received a big looping cross from Giovani dos Santos. The header somehow found it’s way to Magee who was able to left foot the ball into the back of the net. Magee later joked that “Even the (LA Galaxy) Insider could’ve finished that one.” Which I find to be a highly questionable statement on it’s face, but we’ll allow it for now.
“To get some goals. Score, help create. We were obviously losing, so that’s what we needed. [Giovani dos Santos] played [Steven Gerrard] a great ball, and I think every goal I’ve scored this year has been from Steven [Gerrard], so I was happy he was out there.” Mike Magee, LA Galaxy Striker
Then it was Ashley Cole’s turn to turn this match on it’s head. It was Giovani dos Santos again who started the play with a cross in toward Robbie Keane. Keane may’ve gotten a touch on the ball and it headed right toward Ashley Cole who finished the shot with his preferred left foot and so it go past goalkeeper Luis Robles and into the back of the net for a 89th minute tying goal.
It was an electric night at StubHub Center. The Galaxy may not have deserved the draw but they also didn’t deserve to lose. They were the better team for large stretches and only capitulated thanks to outstanding individual effort from New York.
“Two teams that are trying to play the game. It was pretty good. I think it would have been a shame if we walked off that field losing because over 90 minutes we played pretty well. We certainly made mistakes that cost us, but I think on the night we played well. And we deserved to at least get a point out of that game.” Bruce Arena, LA Galaxy Head Coach
The LA Galaxy will play their second game of the week on Wednesday night when they face FC Dallas on Wednesday night in the Semi-final of the US Open Cup before finishing out their three game week with a match against Colorado on Saturday.
NYRB – Gonzalo Verón (Assisted by Sacha Kljestan, Felipe) 68’
NYRB – Sean Davis (Assisted by Felipe, Mike Grella) 74’
LA – Mike Magee (Assisted by Steven Gerrard, Giovani dos Santos) 80’