TUCSON, AZ (Feb. 29, 2012) – Goals by forwards Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry lifted the New York Red Bulls to a 2-1 win over defending MLS Cup Champion, the LA Galaxy, on Wednesday night at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium as part of the Desert Diamond Cup. The win pushed New York’s record to 1-2-0 (3 pts.) in the four-team tournament and 2-2-3 in preseason play.
Despite defeating the Galaxy, the Red Bulls will play Real Salt Lake Saturday night in the tournament’s third place match at 8:00 PM ET in New York’s final preseason match of the year. Los Angeles advanced to the first place match later Saturday evening against the unbeaten New England Revolution based on superior goal differential throughout the tournament.
In the first meeting between the sides since last year’s MLS Cup Playoffs Semifinal Series, the opening half provided chances for both sides. In the 13th minute, LA Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee’s header went over the crossbar after a David Beckham corner kick. On the other end, New York defender Jan Gunnar Solli found Cooper in the box but the striker couldn’t get his attempt on frame. Then, midfielder Dane Richards got in behind the Galaxy defense and forced goalkeeper Josh Saunders to palm his shot away from danger.
However, Saunders could do nothing about the Red Bulls’ goal in the 31st minute. Teemu Tainio had possession in midfield and found a wide open Connor Lade on the left wing. Lade cut it to the top of the box to Cooper, who lashed it past a wrong-footed Saunders for his third preseason goal of the year.
In the second half, the Galaxy pressed for an equalizer. Three minutes into the interval, Juninho skipped into New York’s half and blasted it high. Soon after, Beckham was free on the left side and his deflected shot nearly went into the side netting. Cooper almost had his second goal in the 54th minute, as his left-footed strike was stopped by Saunders.
The Red Bulls doubled their advantage in the 63rd minute through Henry. Henry found Richards on the right wing and the Jamaican swung a cross into the box that team’s 2011 leading goalscorer got to first and redirected into the back of the net.
LA pulled a goal back in the 79th minute. Forward Jack McBean earned a free kick from 22 yards out after he was fouled by Stephen Keel. Marcelo Sarvas stepped up and curled it around the wall and into the bottom right corner.
New York Red Bulls 2, LA Galaxy 1
Feb. 29, 2012 – Kino Veteran Memorial Stadium - Tucson, AZ
Preseason Match – Desert Diamond Cup
NY: Kenny Cooper 3 (Connor Lade 1, Teemu Tainio 1) 31’
NY: Thierry Henry 1 (Dane Richards 2) 63’
LA: Marcelo Sarvas 1 (unassisted) 79’
NY: Stephen Keel (caution) 28’
LA: David Beckham (caution) 53’
New York Red Bulls – Ryan Meara (GK), Jan Gunnar Solli, Markus Holgersson, Wilman Conde (Stephen Keel 20’), Connor Lade, Dane Richards, Teemu Tainio (Brandon Barklage* 77’), Dax McCarty, Mehdi Ballouchy, Kenny Cooper, Thierry Henry
Substitute Not Used: Jeremy Vuolo, Tyler Ruthven*, Jonathan Borrajo, Jhonny Arteaga*, Jose Angulo*
LA Galaxy – Josh Saunders (GK), A.J. DeLaGarza, Andrew Boyens, Tommy Meyer, Sean Franklin (Bryan Gaul 46’), Mike Magee (Chad Barrett 73’), Juninho (Rafael Garcia 73’), David Beckham (Marcelo Sarvas 66’), Hector Jimenez (Pat Noonan 88’), Paolo Cardozo, Adam Cristman (Jack McBean 58’)
Substitutes Not Used: Brian Perk, J.T. Murray, Justin Davies, Kenney Walker
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Referee’s Assistants: Anthony Vasoli, Eduardo Mariscal
4th Referee: Mark Declouet
* - Guest Player