In their first playoff game, the New York Red Bulls was in a “one and done” situation, needing only a victory to advance. Winning that game meant two more matches in the MLS playoffs as they host the Los Angeles Galaxy today at Red Bull Arena.
On Saturday morning, a big snowstorm dumped about a good five inches or more, but that didn’t stop the Red Bulls from playing another training session of keep away.
You could see the tall German keeper Frank Rost in a long sleeved sweatshirt but wearing shorts! He was enjoying this weather along with Teemu Tainio and Joel Lindpere. Some of the players who reside in Central America and the Caribbean were trying to get back to the warm locker room.
But once again the main focus is the Los Angeles Galaxy. As the best side of the 2011 regular season, the Galaxy are making their second visit to Red Bull Arena this year.
“It’s been the outstanding team this year, the Galaxy picking up 67 points,” said Hans Backe, “We like playing against them. All four games these past two years have been quality games, not hectic games more like quality football.”
And who should the club worry about on the pitch to make that killer pass to the strikers?
“Both Juninho and Beckham are quality guys for final passes and the wide players like Magee and Donovan are dangerous.”
After putting in the first MLS Cup Playoff goal, Thierry Henry just wasn’t fazed by it. He acted like it was another game in the season and he already moved his focus to the Galaxy for the first leg match this Sunday. “We do match up well against them,” said Henry, “The best team in the league, the best team this season and we will try to cause an upset.”
A big relief is that Luke Rodgers is fully fit and ready to go. He was unavailable on Wednesday due to a knee injury. He was thankful that it was only fluid that built up in his right knee and not an infection.
But the big problem might be the one game suspension that Jan Gunnar Solli earned with his left leg sweep from behind on Daniel Hernandez, so Carlos Mendes who has played as right full back before will be called on to handle those duties.
“I’ve played there a bit this year, left and right. I think we have a good chance to play our style and win,” said Mendes, “We know we have a lot of work to do and they are a good team with guys like Beckham and Donovan. If we play our game we should get a result.”
So for those of you enjoying a mid-afternoon start time or on the west coast a lunch time watch party, these two teams from both sides of the coast will be putting on a show that starts in Red Bull Arena. Hopefully for the Arena crew they can remove the snow quickly before the clubs get there.