Head To Head: Red Bulls vs. Galaxy

LA GALAXY vs NEW YORK RED BULLS
STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
Sept. 28, 2014 (WEEK 29, MLS Game #283)
5:30 p.m. PT (ESPN2/Deportes; TSN2)

One of the marquee matchups on the MLS calendar is ahead when the LA Galaxy play host to the New York Red Bulls on Sunday evening at StubHub Center before an ESPN2 audience. The Galaxy extended their undefeated streak to eight matches and secured their place in the MLS Cup Playoffs, coming back for a 2-1 home win against FC Dallas last weekend. The Red Bulls are also holding down a playoff position in the Eastern Conference, extending their home winning streak in league play with a 4-1 win against MLS co-leader Seattle Sounders FC last Saturday.

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REFEREE: Armando Villarreal. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): Ian Anderson; 4th: Kevin Stott
MLS Career: 42 games; FC/gm: 23.1; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 15; pens: 10

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: LA: Omar Gonzalez, Marcelo Sarvas … NY: Armando, Tim Cahill, Jamison Olave
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: LA: Baggio Husidic, A.J. DeLaGarza, Alan Gordon, Landon Donovan, Juninho … NY: Thierry Henry, Luis Robles, Ibrahim Sekagya
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (39 meetings): Galaxy 15 wins (1 shootout), 53 goals … Red Bulls 18 wins (1 shootout), 56 goals … Ties 6
AT LA (18 meetings): Galaxy 8 wins (0 shootout), 26 goals … Red Bulls 6 wins (0 shootout), 22 goals … Ties 4

LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/19: NY 1, LA 0 (Cahill 91+)

  • This is the only league meeting of the season between the two clubs.
  • The Red Bulls have won the last three meetings between the teams, all by shutouts and in 1-0 scorelines each of the last two seasons, winning the only meeting last year on May 19 at Red Bull Arena.
  • The Red Bulls have come away with victories on their last two league visits to Carson to play the Galaxy. The Galaxy’s last home victory in the series came in 2009; their last victory overall came in 2010, a 1-0 win Aug. 14 at Red Bull Arena.
  • Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. NY: P21 W10 L9 T2 … Mike Petke vs. LA: P1 W1 L0 T0

LA GALAXY

The LA Galaxy stretched their undefeated run to eight games, coming back for a 2-1 win against FC Dallas on Saturday evening at StubHub Center. The Galaxy sit in a tie for first place in the Western Conference and the MLS overall table with 54 points from 29 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Dallas went ahead nine minutes into the second half. Andres Escobar collected a throw-in on the right flank and crossed into the area, just above the 6-yard box, where Blas Perez outleapt his marker and nodded the ball past goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and into the netting inside the right post.
  • The Galaxy were level in the 62nd minute. Fullback Dan Gargan whipped in a low cross from the right, and FC Dallas wasn't able to clear their lines. Gyasi Zardes stripped a defender from behind and tapped it square to Robbie Keane, whose first-time shot went off goalkeeper Raul Fernandez's fingertips en route to the back of the net.
  • Alan Gordon, who had come on as a substitute in the 75th minute, gave LA the lead eight minutes later. He created space behind his marker and headed a home a Keane cross from the left back across the goalmouth and inside the left post.
  • Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made four changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Jaime Penedo came in between the posts for Brian Rowe, Dan Gargan started in the back four for Tommy Meyer, and Juninho and Landon Donovan came into the side in place of Stefan Ishizaki and Alan Gordon.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo - Dan Gargan, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Robbie Rogers - Baggio Husidic (Stefan Ishizaki 62), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Landon Donovan - Robbie Keane, Gyasi Zardes (Alan Gordon 75).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Galaxy extended their undefeated streak to eight matches in the win against FC Dallas, coming off back-to-back draws. It was their fourth consecutive home victory (and fifth in a row at StubHub Center); it stretched their home undefeated streak to 13 games, now the fourth-longest in Galaxy club history.
  • “All along we’ve been aware of where we’ve been positioned in a conference race. We were well aware of the [Seattle-New York] result and obviously it was good opportunity for us to make up the points because I think we are even now. It was an opportune time for sure,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.
  • The Galaxy also joined Seattle Sounders FC as the only two teams to have clinched berths in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • “Well, I think we anticipated being in the playoffs, but it’s nice to get that out of the away. Now we need to jockey for a favorable position,” Arena said. “Certainly use the next five games to do that. I think that just gives us a little confidence and a little bit of relief that we don’t need concern ourselves with that anymore.”
  • Robbie Keane scored a goal and added an assist. Keane now has 15 goals this year, one away from his MLS single-season high set each of the last two seasons; his 14 assists are the most he’s had in any of his four MLS campaigns.
  • Alan Gordon came off the substitutes’ bench and scored his fourth goal of the season, all having come in his nine appearances since arriving via trade from the San Jose Earthquakes. Two of the goals have come after he’s come on in a substitute role.
  • “He's been fantastic, and this was a game that called out for him to be in,” Landon Donovan said. “I think we had to be a little more direct in the way we played, because they did a good job pressing us, and when games are like that, sometimes you have to put the ball up the field and battle for it. And so having him on the field helped, and [he] gets himself in great spots. Robbie hit a fantastic ball, and it was a really, really important goal for us that meant the difference between getting where we want to be and not.”
  • Said Arena: “He’s a good target player. He’s good in the penalty area. If the service is right, he’s quite capable of finishing off plays, which he’s shown. He knows his job. He’s an experienced player. Understands tactically what needs to be done at the end of the game, and has just done an outstanding job.”
  • Gyasi Zardes collected his second assist of the season, his first also having come in a win against FC Dallas, on May 21. Zardes has five goals and an assist over his last five games.
  • Dan Gargan returned to the lineup after a one-match ban as the back four of Gargan, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza and Robbie Rogers started together for the first time since Aug. 16.
  • The Galaxy now have a 3-5-5 record after conceding the opening goal, the second-best record in the league when allowing the opener (Portland, 4-6-9).
  • “It's a sign of a good team, I'll tell you that much,” Gordon said. “Being with San Jose in 2012, that's what we were able to do and captured the Supporters' Shield, and this team has every bit of that character, if not more. So good things happen when you can respond and deal with adversity and come out on top.”

NEW YORK RED BULLS

The New York Red Bulls won their fifth consecutive game on their home ground in impressive fashion, strolling to a 4-1 win against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 41 points from 29 matches on the season.

LAST MATCH

  • The Red Bulls and Bradley Wright-Phillips got off to a dream start, scoring just 30 seconds into the match when Wright-Phillips potted a rebound after Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei parried away an Ambroise Oyongo shot.
  • The lead was doubled early in the second half, after Seattle defender Dylan Remick chopped down Lloyd Sam in the penalty area. Wright-Phillips converted from the spot in the 53rd minute, putting his shot to his left despite Frei getting a hand to it.
  • Before the celebrations could die down, Wright-Phillips struck again. Roy Miller played in a gorgeous ball in the 56th minute from the left, which Wright-Phillips sent first-time past Frei with a powerful shot.
  • Sounders FC pulled a goal back in the 62nd minute. Just two minutes after entering the match, Clint Dempsey took a pass from Lamar Neagle on the left side of the penalty area, and Dempsey first-timed the ensuing shot past goalkeeper Luis Robles.
  • Just after he came on as a substitute for Wright-Phillips, Tim Cahill netted in the 65th minute to finish off the rout, capitalizing on a poor touch from a Sounders FC defender and stinging a low shot off the right post.
  • Red Bulls boss Mike Petke made three changes to the team that played to a 2-2 draw with Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Roy Miller came into the back four for Armando, and Ambroise Oyongo and Bradley Wright-Phillips also came back into the side for Peguy Luyindula and Tim Cahill.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Chris Duvall, Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya, Roy Miller (Ian Christianson 84) - Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander, Ambroise Oyongo - Bradley Wright-Phillips (Tim Cahill 58), Thierry Henry (Eric Stevenson 90).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Red Bulls won their fifth consecutive game at Red Bull Arena in the victory against Seattle, and now have an eight-game undefeated streak alive in Harrison. Their road winless streak currently sits at six games.
  • “We have 10 points out of 12 in our last four games. We need to keep doing the same mindset, it doesn’t matter who we play,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke.
  • Bradley Wright-Phillips hit for his third hat trick this season, matching the MLS single-season record set three times previously. His goal after 30 seconds was the second fastest in Red Bulls club history and the second fastest in a game this season.
  • “You know Bradley’s always going to get chances,” said midfielder Dax McCarty. “You can go back and look at every single game we’ve played this year, and he’s scored most of them but he’s always got chances. You knew he would get chances tonight. … You couldn’t have got off to a better start for a striker: score within a minute, your confidence is buzzing.”
  • Wright-Phillips now has 24 goals, equaling the fifth-highest total in a season in league history. He had gone two games without a goal heading into the Seattle match, his longest stretch without a goal this season since going goalless in five straight games March 15-April 16.
  • “It’s about the goals, and it should be. He’s a striker and he broke our record and he’s going for the [MLS] record, so the main focus is the goals,” said Petke. “But if you look at the whole of Bradley Wright-Phillips, you’ll see huge improvements in his play, doing this and that help us out tremendously. I think he’s definitely worth of being in the conversation [for MVP], for sure.”
  • Ambroise Oyongo returned to the lineup for the first time in three games, coming in on the left side of the midfield, as Eric Alexander and McCarty played as holding midfielders and Thierry Henry in an underneath role.
  • “That comes down to two huge players for us, Dax and Eric, over the last four games being that stop-gap, the clog in the middle,” Petke said. “It’s one thing that I don’t think I’ve fully convinced them, and over the last year-and-a-half I haven’t been able to convince Dax until lately that it might not be beautiful and might not be sexy, this type of role. But this type of role is going to get you to a higher level, this type of role is going to help this team, this type of role is going to win us games. He’s as close as I’ve ever seen him in my year-and-a-half as a coach here, so he’s buying into it.”
  • Said Henry: “We still give some goals away and easy opportunity for the other team, but I think we’re in a better shape playing like this. We always, most of the time, have 10 guys behind the ball – nine, sometimes – and it’s easier to defend that way. We all know we can score goals – we didn’t have a lot of games this year when we didn’t create, when we didn’t score … [but] we were a bit too open sometimes when we were losing the ball, and having those guys there and also the team working hard, it’s better for us.”
  • After starting the week before as the out-and-out striker with Wright-Phillips out with a hamstring ailment, Tim Cahill came off the substitutes’ bench for the final 32 minutes and netted the final goal, his first in league play since May 10 and his second in MLS this season.
  • “What an attitude he had coming off the bench and making a difference,” McCarty said. “His goal was obviously great for him, great for his confidence because he’s been unlucky. He should have, obviously, more goals this year. I think it was his hold-up play, his willingness to mix it up with the big center backs. That’s what you expect from your big players, and he came on and made a big difference for us.”
  • On Wednesday, the Red Bulls were eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League following a scoreless draw with CD F.A.S. of El Salvador in their third group game at Estadio Cuscátlan in San Salvador.
  • Here’s the Red Bulls team: Ryan Meara, Chris Duvall, Armando, Damien Perrinelle, Richard Eckersley, Lloyd Sam (Eric Stevenson 17'), Dax McCarty (Eric Alexander 61'), Ian Christianson, Ambroise Oyongo, Peguy Luyindula, Saer Sene (Ruben Bover 72')
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