They came, they saw, they ran the Galaxy off their own home field. The maurauding Red Bulls didn't need big star signing Thierry Henry to do damage to the league leaders in an assured 2-0 victory.
LA coach Bruce Arena named some of the key players that made the difference in the game instead for New York.
"Tchani played well," Arena noted. "We couldn’t get around him. Lindpere played very well. Richards had a good performance as well. They played better than us."
Arena was blunt in assessing the Galaxy's blame.
"Our team shape was poor, and that’s all on me ; our effort was not what it needed to be and that’s on the players."
For his part, New York coach Hans Backe was quite happy with his squad.
"Massive road win for us," Backe exulted. "Aside from the first three or four minutes, I thought we controlled the game. In the second half, they got some chances, but I’d say it was one of the best performances yet from this team."
In particular, Backe highlighted the play from the team's No.10, their newest signing, Mehdi Ballouchy.
"Absolutely outstanding," Backe decreed. "I’m surprised he’s that good. He’s all over the pitch, his passing game is so composed on the ball, he wants the ball, gets our game going, sets up strikers, wide players, for me he was the Man of the Match."
Yet the man who was key to both goals was speedster Dane Richards, whose knockback of a Joel Lindpere shot opened up the scoring. The second goal was a penalty kick goal from a penalty Richards drew with an incisive run into the box.
"It was just being in the right place at the right time," Richards said. "Joel took the shot and it came off the post. Coach always tells me to follow up on rebounds. I was in the box."
Part of the Red Bulls scheme from the start was to attack the Galaxy's soft spot - the middle of the defense, where suspensions and injuries had two players, Yohance Marshall and Leonardo, with only 10 MLS games of experience between them.
"They’re young," Arena admitted. "It’s not surprising that there were mistakes made. Those were the options we had."
Backe spoke on New York's strategy.
"When we had the team talk, we said we had to press the centerbacks and make life hard for them as much as possible," Backe explained. "So we didn’t drop to defend to the halfway line. We closed down every goalkick; we had our strikers, with Ballouchy helping, try to pressure them as much as possible."
The two in the backline were partly responsible for each Red Bull goal.
"Our organization in the back wasn’t good enough," Arena said. "We put those guys in tough spots."
Desperate to try to pull the game back within reach, the Galaxy gambled on the health of the recovering David Beckham, who surprisingly went the full match length.
"I would have preferred that he played less than 90 minutes tonight," Arena acknowledged. "In a perfect world, he should not have played that long. He showed tremendous character and quality in the last 20 minutes when, by all rights, he should have been off the field."
Meanwhile, the Red Bulls had the luxury of granting their star, Rafael Marquez, extra rest.
"We decided halftime to play him 65 minutes because he’s been fatigued," Backe explained, while also praising the contribution of the Mexican national team captain. "He started our buildup. He is so precise in his passing."
In general, it was for the Red Bulls a night that was reflected in the scoreline - an excellent overall performance, but one that Backe pointed out should not have surprised those who have been tracking his team of late.
"We have looked more consistent, with strong defending; everyone has been ready to do the dirty work, even the strikers," Backe praised. "When everything works like this today, we can win games like this."
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