HARRISON, N.J. – The game was billed as a possible precursor for MLS Cup. The 1-0 win by Los Angeles over New York on Saturday night underscored how the Galaxy are still the class of the league.
But over the past month, New York has added two marquee signings in Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez and all of a sudden, the Red Bulls are the glamour club of MLS. That was a title once held by Los Angeles, often jokingly referred to as “FC Hollywood” by rival fans for their high-profile lineup.
The Galaxy, however, concede that their East Coast counterparts have the look and feel of a dangerous side. The Red Bulls were the more dominant team despite dropping the result at Red Bull Arena on Saturday.
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“They’re not a bad team,” Los Angeles captain Landon Donovan said about New York. “It will take them time to gel.”
The Red Bulls had a statistical edge in shots, corner kicks and possession, earning praise from their coach for their comfort on the ball in dictating the game’s style and pace. Los Angeles attacker Mike Magee, a former New York player who entered Saturday night’s game in the second half, says New York is a team that can go far.
“They have some talent, they just need time together – to put it all together,” Magee told MLSSoccer.com. “They’re organized and confident, but you can tell that they need some more time to work things out on the field.”
The Red Bulls, playing in front of their first ever sell-out of Red Bull Arena for a league match, endured a rough start to the match as they conceded the game’s only goal in the 10th minute.
After the goal, New York went on the attack, dominating long stretches from the 30th minute to the final whistle. The backline held its shape and limited Los Angeles to mainly half-chances, shutting down Donovan for much of the match.
In fact, Donovan was limited mainly to tracking back and man-marking in the second half and was largely kept off the ball in dangerous spaces by the New York defense.
“This was one of the toughest teams we played this year,” Magee said about the Red Bulls. “They’re a good team, they’re tough defensively and in the midfield. They can go far.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012