Pregame Notes: LA Galaxy @ New York Red Bulls

New York Red Bulls play host to the LA Galaxy on Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena

NEW YORK RED BULLS vs LA GALAXY
RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
May 19, 2013 (WEEK 12, MLS Game #110)
10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET (ESPN2/Deportes)
LIVE AUDIO & CHAT on LAGalaxy.com/live
 

The Red Bulls are riding a five-game undefeated streak, coming off a 1-1 draw at the New England Revolution last weekend. The Galaxy are on the second game on their two-game Eastern swing, rolling to a 4-1 win at Philadelphia Union at midweek.

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REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. AR1 (bench): Peter Manikowski; AR2 (opposite): Greg Barkey; 4th: Jorge Gonzalez 
MLS Career: 63 games; FC/gm: 27.4; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 8; pens: 7
 
DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Tim Cahill, Juninho... LA: Marcelo Sarvas
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
 
HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (38 meetings): Red Bulls 17 wins (1 shootout), 55 goals ... Galaxy 15 wins (1 shootout), 53 goals ... Ties 6
AT NEW YORK (20 meetings): Red Bulls 11 wins (1 shootout), 33 goals...Galaxy 7 wins (1 shootout), 27 goals...Ties 2
 
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/5: LA 0, NY 1 (Lindpere 19)
  • This is the only meeting of the season between the two clubs.
  • The Red Bulls won the only meeting between the teams last season, a 1-0 victory at The Home Depot Center on May 5 on a goal from Joel Lindpere.
  • The Red Bulls have come away with points on four of their last five league visits to The Home Depot Center to play the Galaxy.
  • The teams have had some memorable meetings over their history. In 2009, the second meeting was David Beckham's first league match with the Galaxy after completing his loan with AC Milan. In 2007, the teams played a remarkable match at Giants Stadium in Beckham's first appearance there, a 5-4 Red Bulls win before 66,237 fans. The 2011 meeting at Red Bull Arena was postponed from Aug. 28 to Oct. 4 because of Hurricane Irene.
  • Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. NY: P19 W10 L8 D1 ... Mike Petke vs. LA: first game

LA GALAXY

The LA Galaxy put an end to their two-game losing slide in starting a two-game Eastern swing, rolling to a 4-1 victory against Philadelphia Union on Wednesday evening at PPL Park. The Galaxy are in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with 17 points from 10 matches. STANDINGS

TEAM NEWS

  • The Galaxy matched their season-high with their four-goal output, equaling their total in their season-opening victory vs. the Chicago Fire.
  • "We were unbelievably sloppy in the first half and some sloppy times in the second half, obviously some good goals," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. "We had a little bit better performance, some better concentration in the second 45 minutes and we will take the three points but we certainly realize we have to get this team better."
  • Landon Donovan scored his second goal of the season, his first since April 20, while also recording a pair of assists. It was the 19th time in his MLS league career he's been involved in three or more goals in the same game.
  • "It always feels good to play well and tonight I felt like I was back to my old self. And always a goal is nice but I think just being aggressive and running at people, making a difference that way felt like the old me and it was nice to play that way again," said Donovan.
  • "My suspicion is [Donovan] is a very good player, and so it's just a matter of time where he is going to get his touch back, his confidence, and his fitness on a more consistent basis," Arena said. "We'd like to believe that that is going to start now. ... I thought his second half was spectacular."
  • Robbie Keane made his return to the starting lineup, his first appearance in a Galaxy uniform since April 20 after suffering a sprained ankle on international duty with Ireland, and scored his second goal of the season while setting up another.
  • "Robbie (Keane) is a great player, what else can you say. He makes us look real good, he was pretty good tonight," Arena said. "I was surprised he got through 90 minutes, I thought we were going to have to take him out around 75 minutes, but we had to keep him on the field and he did a good job towards the end."
  • Said Donovan: "I think everybody can see the difference [when Keane is on the field]. It's not just the goals or the passing, but he occupies people. So when he's not on the field, it's easier for teams to key on a few of us. But when he is on the field, they have to worry about him, and that opens up a lot of space for the rest of us. And then if we're good in the attacking third, we're going to score goals."
  • With Keane back in the lineup, Donovan moved to an attacking wide midfield role, with Jose Villarreal maintaining his spot in the front two.
  • "It's been a little easier to be in midfield [since returning] because the game's in front of me a lot," Donovan said. "Playing as a forward, you're back is to the goal, so you've got to be sharper, you have to be able to see more of the field more quickly. And sometimes that's more difficult. But now that I'm getting sharp again, that stuff is becoming more comfortable. So my ability to score is heightened when I'm playing forward, and my ability to pass and make a difference in that way is heightened as a midfielder."
  • Said Arena: "Depends on how he's feeling, the kind of rhythm he's in as a player, the needs we have as a team, and I've said this a lot of times: We often use Landon to help complement our team, and maybe sometimes he gets the short end of the stick because of that. But he likes playing both positions."
  • Tommy Meyer made his first start of the 2013 league campaign, coming into central defense alongside Omar Gonzalez. Meyer had made one previous league appearance this year.

LAST MATCH

  • The Galaxy were in the lead after just three minutes. Landon Donovan launched a corner kick into the box that, with Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez right in front of him, went off the side of goalkeeper Zac MacMath's face, off the crossbar and into the net for an own goal.
  • Union pulled level in the 23rd minute when Sheanon Williams launched a long throw-in from the right touchline and found center back Amobi Okugo streaking through the box, and his flick header sailed inside the far post.
  • The Galaxy broke the game open late. Donovan set up the game-winning goal in the 71st minute with a sharp pass to Robbie Keane, whose cut back to his left and put a cool finish past MacMath while all alone in front of the Union 'keeper.
  • Hector Jimenez made it 3-1 in the 80th minute as the Galaxy worked the ball through the midfield, Donovan laying it out wide and Jimenez converting with a rolling shot off the inside of the left post.
  • Donovan and Keane combined for the capper on the counter in the 87th minute, Keane racing upfield before laying the ball square for Donovan to roll home into an unguarded goal from inside the box after cutting past MacMath.
  • Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made three changes to the team that dropped a 3-1 decision to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Tommy Meyer and Todd Dunivant came into the back four for Sean Franklin and Greg Cochrane, and Robbie Keane returned to the side in place of Hector Jimenez.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Carlo Cudicini - A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Tommy Meyer (Sean Franklin 63), Todd Dunivant (Greg Cochrane 81) - Landon Donovan, Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Mike Magee - Robbie Keane, Jose Villarreal (Hector Jimenez 72).

NEW YORK RED BULLS

The New York Red Bulls saw their winning streak come to an end after four games but still extended their undefeated run, reaching a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Red Bulls are in first place in the Eastern Conference with 21 points from 13 matches.
 
LAST MATCH
  • The goals came a minute apart in the second half. In the 54th minute, Chris Tierney curled an enticing corner kick into the near post. Diego Fagundez smacked a first-time effort toward goal that Kosuke Kimura cleared off the line, but Fagundez reacted quickly to sweep home the resulting rebound inside the goal area.
  • The Red Bulls were level moments later. The ball eventually found its way to Andre Akpan from a Red Bulls throw-in and he played a neat diagonal ball to Lloyd Sam's feet inside the penalty area. Sam collected deftly and placed his effort inside the far post for the eventual equalizer.
  • Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke made three changes to the team that claimed a 2-1 victory against the MontrÈal Impact at Red Bull Arena. Roy Miller came into the back four for Jamison Olave, Lloyd Sam started in the midfield in place of Juninho, and Fabian Espindola and Andre Akpan started up top in place of Thierry Henry and Peguy Luyindula.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Kosuke Kimura, Heath Pearce, Markus Holgersson, Roy Miller - Lloyd Sam (Brandon Barklage 76), Tim Cahill (Juninho 46), Eric Alexander, Jonny Steele - Andre Akpan, Fabian Espindola.

TEAM NEWS
  • While the Red Bulls saw their winning streak come to an end, they still came away with points from a fourth consecutive away match.
  • "I'm not disappointed because we could have won the game tonight, and most coaches would be disappointed in that fact, but you know we haven't won here in 11 years," said Red Bulls coach Mike Petke. "We didn't lose so a point on the road is very important and it's really what at the end of the day it's what you hope for. We could have taken three, but we'll take one."
  • With Thierry Henry held out of the team, Andre Akpan made his first start with the Red Bulls in attack, and recorded his second assist of the season.
  • "I think Andre (Akpan) did what we expected him to do; a big strong presence up front, won a lot of head balls which isn't easy against a guy like (Stephen) McCarthy, held the ball up well for us, and helped out with (Fabian) Espindola with the workload," said Petke. "They both split the workload down the middle defensively and it was effective for a large part of the game."
  • Lloyd Sam made his second start of the years, coming over the last four games, and came up with his first goal since coming to MLS last year.
  • "All I remember is Andre Akpan with the ball on the right and I made a run in and he found me. And then I just hit it low and hard, it went in, hit the back of the net. One, one," Sam said.
  • Said Petke: "(They're) getting more used to how I want them to play. It was a new thing when preseason started. New players getting used to each other and the commitment from them to follow the game plan, and defensively we've been very sound. I'm not just talking about the defenders in the back, I'm talking about the team as a unit defending. It has been nice to watch so far it's a long season anything can happen."
  • Having missed the last four matches, midfielder Dax McCarty has returned to full training and could provide some selection questions for Petke.
  • "I'm pretty sure he will be in the 18," said Petke. "Whether he's going to play is going to be determined by this week and how he feels, how he looks, if he feels like he is game-ready, if we feel like he's game ready for 90 [minutes].
  • Eric Alexander maintained his place in the first XI, moving into a central midfield role with Juninho going to the substitutes' bench after two matches in the starting lineup.
  • "I don't think I'll ever change a formation because of a player," said Petke. "It's always an interesting dilemma to have: three guys you want on the field, three guys who are natural central players. Tim has proven throughout this year specifically that he's very versatile and can perform very often in a number of positions. ... That's something that, when Dax is fully fit, Juninho and Tim are fully fit, that we will again, like we did earlier in the season, figure that out and we'll try to get the best lineup that we can."