CARSON, Calif. – While the spotlight on Friday’s LA Galaxy-New York Red Bulls match at The Home Depot Center focused on the four participating Designated Players, a pair of New York midfielders dictated terms and fueled the visitors to a 2-0 victory.
Dane Richards scored a goal and set up another while Joel Lindpere was also a strong influence in New York’s convincing victory. Juan Pablo Angel converted a penalty kick to ensure that at least one DP got on the score sheet.
David Beckham notched his first start of the season as he was ruled fit enough to start. In a span of three weeks then, Beckham went from a 20-minute appearance against Columbus to 37 minutes against D.C. United a week later, and now back into the starting lineup.
However, Beckham’s presence did not seem to add much life to the Galaxy as the hosts started out slowly for the second consecutive week. Even though they had a corner kick 20 seconds into the match and three in the first half, LA were not dangerous on set pieces in the opening half.
Meanwhile, the Red Bulls, without star striker Thierry Henry, still looked dangerous. Mehdi Ballouchy, New York's recent acquisition, forced Donovan Ricketts to make a diving save in the 14th minute.
The Galaxy’s makeshift central defense pairing of Yohance Marshall and Leonardo was shaky in the first half, and the Red Bulls took advantage to create their first goal. Marshall and Ballouchy went for a header some 30 yards out and the ball fell to Lindpere. Leonardo charged at the ball and fanned on the attempt, allowing Lindpere to skirt past the Brazilian. He then settled the ball and rattled a shot off the right post, but Richards was there to poke the rebound into an empty net.
Leonardo was replaced at halftime in favor of A.J. DeLaGarza. The Galaxy briefly showed some fire and forced the Red Bulls to react, but their initial spurt did not last long.
New York eventually broke through as the Galaxy once again were caught making a defensive mistake. Richards used his blazing speed to tear past Marshall into the penalty area and the center back was forced to drag down the speedy forward from behind. Referee Ricardo Salazar immediately awarded the visitors the spot kick.
Angel stepped to the spot and buried the penalty, firing it into the back left corner where Ricketts had no chance of stopping the attempt.
The Galaxy’s best opportunity to equalize came minutes later, when Beckham lined up a 27-yard free kick that went over the wall and nearly got inside the left post. NY 'keeper Bouna Coundoul, however, did well to parry the ball away.
The Galaxy made two changes – Eddie Lewis and Tristan Bowen replaced Jovan Kirovski and Dema Kovalenko – as Beckham was apparently deemed fit enough to play 90 minutes. The full-match effort by Beckham, though, was not enough for the Galaxy to score and New York finished off the match without too many problems.