Preview: New York Red Bulls at LA Galaxy

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by MARK FISHKIN

New York, unbeaten in six straight matches dating back to the exhibition win over Club America, makes the long-haul flight to the west coast to tackle a star-studded LA side brimming with confidence.

The Galaxy are unbeaten at home, and have run off seven matches without a loss in league play.  LA has come up short only three times this season, and are perennially an MLS Cup contender.

Can New York buck the odds and pick up points in Carson?


Match Information

Sunday, August 7th at the Stubhub Center,  9:30pm ET kickoff

TV/Streaming: FS1/Fox Sports Go

Red Bulls Radio: TuneIn App and www.newyorkredbulls.com/matchday/radio

Referee: Hilario Grajeda

Record: GF/GA, Division & League Position, Current League Form

Los Angeles: 36 points from 21 gms: 35GF/20GA, 3rd in the West, t-3rd in MLS, WWWWD

New York: 32 points from 23 gms: 28GF/30GA, 3rd in the East, 8th in MLS, DWDWD


Projected Lineups

Los Angeles

LA v NY

New York

NY v LA


LA’s attack vs. the New York Back Line

Robbie Keane vs. Connor Lade, Aurelien Collin, Ronald Zubar, Sal Zizzo, and Luis Robles

Irish International Robbie Keane (7G/1A) has become the public face of his franchise. Keane has scored at an incredible pace in MLS, netting 80 goals in 119 appearances for the Galaxy since 2011, including three scores in five league matches in the last month. New York’s defense has conceded five goals during the Red Bulls’ current five-match MLS unbeaten streak. Lade provided the key match-tying assist last week in Chicago. Collin played the full 90 midweek in the Concacaf Champions League match at Red Bull Arena. Look for him to be paired with Ronald Zubar on Sunday. It can be argued that Sal Zizzo was culpable on both Fire goals last Sunday. Of course, Chris Duvall, Jesse Marsch‘s other choice at right back, may still have nightmares from New York’s last visit to Carson, a four-nil loss to the Galaxy in 2014. Luis Robles leads all MLS keepers in clean sheets (7).

Slight Advantage: LA


The Red Bulls’ attack vs. the Galaxy defense

Bradley Wright-Phillips vs. Ashley Cole, Jelle Van Damme, Dan Steres, AJ De La Garza, and Brian Rowe

BWP is now the all-time leading scorer in Metro/Red Bull history (63 goals in all competitions) and has scored three times in New York’s last two matches. The Galaxy defense is ranked in second in the league, conceding only twenty times this season. The LA back line is a mix of European vets and solid Americans. 35 year-old Ashley Cole was a stalwart on the England National Team for more than a decade. Belgian Vam Damme (2A) is a 6’3″ rock in the middle of of the LA defense with UEFA Champions League experience. Dan Steres (1G) made the jump from the Galaxy’s highly-ranked USL side in December. De La Garza has served as the Galaxy’s right back for eight seasons. The Guam International is approaching 200 appearances for his club. After four seasons as a backup, keeper Brian Rowe and his microscopic GAA (0.86) is a big reason for LA’s success this season.

Advantage: LA


The Midfields

Emmanuel Boateng, Jeff Larentowicz, Steven Gerrard, Nigel de Jong, and Gio Dos Santos vs. Mike Grella, Felipe, Sacha Klejstan, Sean Davis, and Daniel Royer.

Former UCSB player Emmanuel Boateng (1G/3A) had some time with Swedish side Helsingborgs before coming to MLS. Boateng has been getting minutes with Gyasi Zardes (5G/5A) out with a knock. Red Bull-killer Jeff Larentowicz (1G/1A), in his 13th year in the league, has made his way to the West Coast as a free agent this offseason. Gerrard’s contributions (3G/8A) to the Galaxy have jumped significantly in 2016 after his challenging first full season with the club. Dutch International bruiser Nigel de Jong, he of the the red card in the 2010 World Cup Final, is the hard man in LA’s defensive midfield. Mexican star Gio Dos Santos (7g/7a) is lethal either going to goal or serving to Keane.  For New York, Mike Grella is officially in a slump, having not scored or recorded an assist in the Red Bulls’ last eight matches. Felipe and Sean Davis each went 90 minutes on Wednesday. Without the injured Dax McCarty, will they both have the energy after the long flight to battle for the whole match? Sacha Kljestan became the first New York player to score in the league, Open Cup, and Champions League in the same season with his midweek tally against Antigua.  I’m betting that Marsch deals new signing Daniel Royer onto the Stubhub Center field, to get a good look at what the Austrian can do. Royer may not see the full match, and will likely be spelled by either Alex Muyl or Gonzalo Veron.

Advantage: LA


The Coaches

Bruce Arena has done everything and won everything in MLS. He’s a coaching icon and future Hall of Famer that has benefitted from AEG’s free-spending ways. His club boasts international stars and a full trophy case. What happens when LAFC joins the league? Jesse Marsch must incorporate his new signings and make due without his injured captain while still keeping pace in the East. Marsch was able to give a few of his starters a rest on Wednesday while still securing a strong CCL result.

Advantage: LA


Intangibles

The Los Angeles vs. New York rivalry has seen many memorable matches, including the 5-4 Red Bulls win in 2007 before sixty-six thousand fans at Giants Stadium, many of whom were wearing Beckham jerseys. Across all competitions, LA leads the lifetime series 20-19-8.  New York is only 6-12-5 in Los Angeles since 1996. Felipe is the only active Red Bull to score against LA, in a 1-1 draw at Red Bull Arena last April. Since the schedule was amended to a single regular season match between the clubs, New York is 2-1-1 against the Galaxy. LA supports its club, which is drawing more than 24,000 fans per game to the Stubhub Center. Sunday’s weather will be perfect, with clear skies and 75 degrees at kickoff.

Advantage: LA


Prediction

The Galaxy are on a massive roll, are unbeaten at home, and didn’t have to play mid-week. The Red Bulls have won once all year on the road, are without their injured Captain, played a physical team from Guatemala on Wednesday, then had to fly 2,500 miles to the West Coast.  The tea leaves would indicate a 2-0 loss on Sunday night, but no one will begrudge New York’s effort.

 

 

  • BetterRedThan…

    Let’s be honest about who we are. We are a .500 team right now with SERIOUS injury concerns. We have almost NO CHANCE of catching either Toronto or nycfc for one of the playoff byes. They r both 3 games over .500 with MUCH easier schedules. Our goalie is banged up, our captain is injured, two of our three most Important defenders are still recovering from injury. Unless Lawrence and Perrinelle can recover their EXCELLENT form from last year by the time October rolls around, which would give us a stout defense with Aurelian, and we get major contributions from our two new guys, I don’t see much of a realistic pathway forward for us to have a meaningful playoff run. Oh and did I mention Philly just added a great player. I wish I could be more optimistic but I really feel like last year was our chance and we just missed it.