Red Bulls Look to Extend Season with Win in LA

The New York Red Bulls enter Thursday’s 11pm ET match against the Los Angeles Galaxy needing a win to extend their season. While a 1-0 deficit does not stand as an insurmountable hill to climb, playing on the road at The Home Depot Center carries an additional challenge.

Outside of trimming the one-goal deficit, the Red Bulls will also look to do something no other team has done all season: win a match in LA.

Highlights: May 8, 2011

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“They’re the most consistent team in the league. It’s difficult to break them,” Coach Hans Backe said following Tuesday’s practice at Red Bull Arena. “They can win a game 1-nil, they can draw 1-1, they can win 4-nil; they know how to win a game. Not only this year, but they did it last year. Maybe for the last two years, the best team in this league.”

The Galaxy wrapped up their Supporters’ Shield-winning season with a 12-0-5 run at home. Since their position at the top of the standings allowed them to sit out the Wild Card round of the playoffs, Thursday’s ESPN2 match will be the first postseason match in Carson, CA this season. Even so, Backe believes it’s a winnable game for the Red Bulls, citing location as a non-factor in the second leg of the Conference Semifinals.

“Not tougher than playing Kansas City away, not at all,” he said. “I think we are playing now, we tied the last game this year, we won last year, so we have done great games in LA against them. It’s been good football games. It’s no difference playing Kansas or any other team away.”

On May 8, the only 2011 regular season match between the Red Bulls and Galaxy in California, Thierry Henry was quick to help New York take an early 1-0 lead with a goal in the fourth minute. The Galaxy evened it up in the 41st minute after Landon Donovan headed home the equalizer off a corner kick from David Beckham, the last tally of the night that ultimately led to a scoreless second half and 1-1 draw.  Of course the one-point on the road may not have come to be, had Tim Ream not chased down and booted out a Donovan lob on a wide-open net just as it was ready to cross the line in the 43rd minute.

The Red Bulls last defeated the Galaxy in LA during the final meeting between the two teams in 2010, a 2-0 finish. In Thursday’s match they’ll need to win by two or more goals in regulation if they want to advance to the next stage and avoid extra time or penalty kicks.

New York kicks off its match Thursday at 11pm ET on ESPN2. Fans are encouraged to check out one of the two great viewing parties going on in New York and New Jersey. In NYC, Legends at The Football Factory (6 W. 33rd St. near 5th Avenue) is hosting a party, while across the river and down the block from Red Bull Arena, the Viking Army Supporters are holding it down at Catas in Newark.