What happens when you are missing several key defenders and one of the world’s greatest strikers in this game of soccer and you have to face you’re next opponent at their home. Oh and of course they are the defending MLS Cup Champions. Well if you’re the New York Red Bulls, you would steal a goal and three points.
A bad start to this season for Estonian international Joel Lindpere, but has shown to get back to that level which made him so loved since his arrival. He was slotted in the middle of the field and in the nineteenth minute he converted his first of the season.
A wonderful well worked goal at the far side as Connor Lade brought the ball up the field. Jan Gunnar Solli told him to put it in an open spot, and then Solli finds Lindpere who walks in with a defender on him and beats Bill Gaudette inside the near post for the only goal of the match.
But it was all defense in this game. Defense that wins you games when you’re shorthanded with quality talent. Who remembers that fantastic goal line save by Tim Ream last year at the Home Depot Center against this same side, well Markus Holgersson repeated the feat.
Robbie Keane in the thirteenth minute is currently on a scoring slump and caught Ryan Meara well off his line and chipped the ball over the Irish American from Yonkers, NY. But Holgersson on his horse followed the ball and cleared it away from the goal line.
After a solid first half from the Red Bulls, it was all Meara in the second half coming off his line and making save after save. Comfortable coming off his line, Meara would get involved with a scrum and leapt for the ball to get any problems solved.
A late chance for Juninho in the eighty-second minute as he ripped a 21yd shot that was destined for the net and all Meara had to was parry the ball over the goal line for the biggest save in the match, as well as securing the full three points.
Once again the make shift backline of Brandon Barklage, Tyler Ruthven, Holgersson & Lade kept on defending very well and helped Meara by clearing most of the dangerous chances from the Galaxy. If it wasn’t a hard clear with the feet, it would be a diving header to stop any threat coming their way.
From the Los Angeles Galaxy side of things, what has happened to the defending league champions? They looked lethargic and assumed this was going to be an easy win at the park. Yes they are missing Josh Saunders due to substance abuse, but sadly their urgency to equalize came to little too late.
The best quote of the match came at halftime from Head Coach Hans Backe will being interviewed on ESPN. Of course it was said with a smile on his face as he answered Monica Gonzalez’s opening question. “Yes. They worked their ass off.”