Just finished watching the New York Red Bulls play their game and and overwhelm a Galaxy squad that had a poor game plan.
It was that simple as the New Ark Red Bulls handled the home side, 2-0, at Home Depot Center this evening.
Looking for the key to this game, it’s just as simple.
In central midfield Juninho and Dema Kovalenko (who has an absolutely atrocious game) played just a nudge above the Galaxy’s duckling central defensive pairing, failing to come out and challenge the Red Bulls’ central midfield attackers.
Conversely Tony Tchiani and Rafa Marquez were omnipresent–as we predicted in our preview–forcefully meeting each of their opponent’s counterpart central midfield attacker and shutting down passing lanes.
Admittedly the latter task of disrupting the Galaxy’s passes was made easier by an extremely stagnant Galaxy midfield.
If you didn’t know any better you would’ve guessed that the Home Depot Center locals were fatigued by multiple games in multiple days. Wasn’t the case though.
LA Coach Bruce Arena certainly should shoulder the bulk of the blame, maybe not for his player selection, but because he failed to counsel his team on how to move against the Red Bull defense and worse he failed to adjust when the stagnation issue was apparent in the early going and never overcome.
The result of the Galaxy defensively playing well behind the ball and the Red Bulls challenging each possession was evident as soon as the ball changed hands.
Upon a turnover, the Galaxy players were know well behind the play and the Red Bulls were allowed to organize and set-up shop on defense.
Conversely, upon a turnover, the Red Bull attackers–already up on their men–could break and create scoring opportunities.
It wasn’t until nearly the 80th minute that Bruce Arena finally made a minor adjustment, sending David Beckham to play more in the interior, attempting to create some possession and flow. By that point, it was too little too late.
Some things that the Galaxy could have done better to create flow is send an extra forward-attacker (Jovan Kirovski) back centrally to receive balls, help link play and draw out the central defense.
Instead, Arena and L.A. puzzlingly had Kirovski make runs to the wing where he lacked the speed to create and frequently was overmatched by Carlos Mendes or Tim Ream.
Landon Donovan is also capable of moving the ball under duress, but this is the type of game that a Donovan in the interior sometimes disappears in…as he did tonight.
It’s funny, I’ve seen a number of folks in the media lately suggest the Galaxy probably don’t need David Beckham.
David Beckham may be the only player–if he can find better short-range range passing touch that failed him this evening–who can capably create opportunities under pressure in the middle of the field. Juninho needs more space and Mike Stephens (who frequently came back and helped move the ball in the early going) seems to have hit the rookie wall.
Mind you, Beckham centrally was just such a move last year by Bruce Arena that helped ignite the Galaxy’s last season play and championship game run.
• Is Dane Richard Luis Boa Morte re-incarnate? It’s always painful to watch a player that possesses the physical goods to be dominant, but lacks the feel for the game.
• New York fans, is Joel Lindpere really that good. If you’d asked me a player that would make a difference by moving off the ball offensively and tracking back defensively in this one, I would have said Donovan. That man was Lindpere tonight.
• Mehdi Ballouchy is a player. I didn’t get a chance to see enough of him in Colorado. Ballouchy possesses a wide breadth of offensive skills and has the enviable ability to drift in possession with the ball while effortlessly holding off defenders.
Seems like in the early going, the Red Bulls got the better of that deal.
• Can someone tell me precisely how Donovan Ricketts is an all-star? I’ve watched probably 10 Galaxy games this year and see the same pattern with Ricketts: He makes one or two tremendous saves, but he reacts like he just pounded three pale ales before the game (slow) and is absolutely horrendous at marshalling his backline.
Leonardo may have been guilty on the first goal, but a good keeper is shouting at his novice defenders well before that play developers.
• A difficult task tonight for Todd Dunivant, but he performed admirably in letting Dane Richards threaten but typically author a give away instead of an opportunity.