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Preview: Red Bulls host Galaxy with high stakes on line

NEW YORK RED BULLS vs LA GALAXY
RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
October 4, 2011
8 pm ET (ESPN2 / Deportes)

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In a match postponed from Aug. 28 when Hurricane Irene hit, the New York Red Bulls now meet the LA Galaxy on Tuesday at Red Bull Arena in front of an ESPN2 audience in a game fraught with playoff implications for both sides. The Red Bulls are grimly hanging on to 10th place overall and the final wild card spot, after a dramatic Thierry Henry gave them a 1-1 draw last weekend in Toronto. The Galaxy have already secured their postseason berth, but are just a win away from the Supporters’ Shield after their 2-1 come-from-behind home win against Real Salt Lake.

REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): Corey Rockwell; JAR (opposite): Frank Anderson; 4th: Jose Carlos Rivero. MLS Career: 123 games; FC/gm: 24.6; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 29; pens: 41

INJURY REPORT

  • NEW YORK RED BULLS – OUT: DF Chris Albright (R calf strain); MF Sacir Hot (R knee contusion); MF Carl Robinson (R knee contusion); QUESTIONABLE: DF Carlos Mendes (R ankle contusion)
  • LA GALAXY – OUT: DF Sean Alvarado (R knee surgery); DF Gregg Berhalter (R foot sprain); DF Sean Franklin (R knee inflammation); DF Leonardo (R knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF David Beckham (back spasms); MF Chris Birchall (L hamstring strain); FW Landon Donovan (R quadriceps strain); GK Donovan Ricketts (R quad tightness)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: NY: Bouna Coundoul (Senegal; vs. Mauritius) … LA: Robbie Keane (Ireland; vs. Andorra)

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Mehdi Ballouchy, Roy Miller, Dane Richards, Luke Rodgers … LA: David Beckham, Omar Gonzalez, Frankie Hejduk
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Thierry Henry, Joel Lindpere, Carlos Mendes, Stephen Keel, Teemu Tainio … LA: Chris Birchall, Landon Donovan, Juninho, Michael Stephens

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (36 meetings): Red Bulls 15 wins (1 shootout), 52 goals … Galaxy 15 wins (1 shootout), 53 goals … Ties 6
  • AT NY (19 meetings): Red Bulls 10 wins (1 shootout), 31 goals … Galaxy 7 wins (1 shootout), 27 goals … Ties 2
  • A Landon Donovan goal just before halftime canceled out an early Thierry Henry goal as the clubs reached a 1- 1 draw May 7 at The Home Depot Center.
  • The home team has not won in the last four meetings in the all-time series. Last year, the Galaxy won 1-0 at Red Bull Arena in March, before the Red Bulls returned the favor with a 2-0 win at The Home Depot Center in July.
  • The teams have had some memorable meetings over the past few years. In 2009, the second meeting was David Beckham’s first league match with the Galaxy after completing his loan with AC Milan. In 2007, the teams played a remarkable match at Giants Stadium in Beckham’s first appearance there, a 5-4 Red Bulls win before 66,237 fans.
  • Coaches record: Bruce Arena v NY: P17 W10 L6 D1 … Hans Backe vs. LA: P3 W1 L1 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • 5/7: LA 1, NY 1 (Donovan 41 – Henry 4)
  • The Red Bulls jumped out to an early lead. Dane Richards took possession and raced towards the Galaxy penalty area. The Jamaican winger curled a through ball into the path of Thierry Henry, who eluded LA goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and slipped his shot into the back of the net from a tight angle.
  • The Galaxy equalized four minutes before halftime. David Beckham’s in-swinging corner kick was met by an unmarked Landon Donovan, who powered a header into the back of the net.
  • Both teams also saw close calls in the opening 45 minutes. LA striker Juan Pablo Ángel appeared to have scored against his old club, but his apparent goal was ruled out for offside. And moments after equalizing, Donovan rounded Red Bulls 'keeper Bouna Coundoul and rolled the ball toward goal, but defender Tim Ream slid and hooked it off the line.
  • The game marked the second time in league history five designated players had played in the same game -- Rafael Marquez and Thierry Henry for the Red Bulls, and Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Juan Pablo Angel for LA. The first was last Aug. 8, when the Red Bulls (with Angel, along with Marquez and Henry) faced the Chicago Fire, who had Freddie Ljungberg and Nery Castillo – neither of whom are with that team.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Donovan Ricketts - Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant - Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Juninho, Mike Magee (Chris Birchall 78) - Juan Pablo Angel, Chad Barrett (Miguel Lopez 80).
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1-3-2): Bouna Coundoul - Jan Gunnar Solli, Rafael Marquez, Tim Ream, Roy Miller - Mehdi Ballouchy - Dane Richards, Dwayne De Rosario, Joel Lindpere - Luke Rodgers (Juan Agudelo 72). Thierry Henry

NEW YORK RED BULLS

The New York Red Bulls maintained their place in the MLS Cup Playoffs picture, getting a late goal for a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC on Saturday evening at BMO Field. The Red Bulls have 40 points from 31 games, in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Toronto FC took the lead five minutes into the second half. Ryan Johnson slipped an angled through ball into the left side the area and Danny Koevermans was able to get around it well, driving a left-footed shot past Frank Rost inside the far post.
  • But the Red Bulls hit for the equalizer in the 88th minute. A corner kick sailed through the box and found Thierry Henry, and after popping the ball up in the air, he hit a left-footed shot on a full turn that whistled into the goal past goalkeeper Milos Kocic.
  • Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe made two changes to the team that claimed a 2-0 win against the Portland Timbers at Red Bull Arena. Roy Miller came in at left back for Carlos Mendes, and Rafael Marquez returned to the team in place of Dax McCarty.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Frank Rost - Jan Gunnar Solli, Tim Ream, Stephen Keel (Juan Agudelo 81), Roy Miller - Dane Richards, Teemu Tainio, Rafael Marquez (Dax McCarty 79), Joel Lindpere – Luke Rodgers, Thierry Henry.

TEAM NEWS

  • Even with the single point in Toronto, the Red Bulls maintained their hold on 10th place overall and the final wild card spot. New York is level with Portland on 40 points, but holds the tiebreaker by virtue of their win and draw in earlier meetings; D.C. United is 12th with 38 points, but have a game in hand.
  • “I’m quite happy with our performance, definitely in the second half, and we deserved more, we deserved to win,:” said Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe. “… So we don’t have the luck you normally need as a team but the work ethic was phenomenal in the second half and the way we controlled the play of the game, the passing game, the number of chances. A lot of crosses – very, very close to scoring. But to respond after being one down like that, I’m quite pleased with the performance of my team.”
  • The Red Bulls play two of their final three games at Red Bull Arena, all against teams ahead of them in the playoff race: vs. LA, at Sporting KC (Oct. 15), vs. Philadelphia (Oct. 20).
  • “We had so many chances to come back into the game – we didn’t, but then we came back at the end. For us, it was an important point, chasing the playoffs,” Henry said. “For us, it was really important.”
  • With his spin-o-rama goal from a corner kick Saturday, that gave the Red Bulls a late 1-1 draw at Toronto FC, Thierry Henry moved into second place in the Budweiser MLS Golden Boot standings with 13 goals, one behind D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario.
  • “When he controlled it, the first touch was phenomenal, and he finished off with his left foot,” said Backe. “Anyone can see he is a class player.”
  • After missing the Portland through a team-imposed suspension, Rafael Marquez returned to the lineup, playing 79 minutes in the center of midfield.
  • Roy Miller made his first appearance since Sept. 10, coming in on the left side of the back four after missing four matches to injury.
  • The Red Bulls went to a 3-4-3 scheme late in the match and got the equalizer, with Juan Agudelo playing up top with Henry and Luke Rodgers.
  • The Red Bulls have had six players called in for international duty for the double FIFA fixture date – defenders
  • Tim Ream (United States), Rafa Márquez (Mexico) and Roy Miller (Costa Rica), midfielder Dane Richards (Jamaica), forward Juan Agudelo (United States) and goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul (Senegal). But only Coundoul will miss the Galaxy match as he travels to Africa for this weekend African Cup of Nations qualifier vs. Mauritius.

LA GALAXY

The LA Galaxy won their fourth consecutive match, coming back for a 2-1 win against Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy have 64 points from 31 games on the season, leading the Western Conference and the MLS overall table.

LAST MATCH

  • Real Salt Lake opened the scoring in the 41st minute. Javier Morales swung a corner kick to the near post and
  • Fabian Espíndola rose up and powered a glancing header inside the far post.
  • But the Galaxy drew even in the 59th minute. David Beckham lofted a ball into the penalty area into the path of Chad Barrett, and as Jamison Olave was unable to bundle him off the ball, Barrett poked a bouncing ball past RSL 'keeper Nick Rimando from close range.
  • The Galaxy then took the lead in the 72nd minute. Todd Dunivant sent a Beckham cross back across the face of goal, but the ball deflected off defender Nat Borchers' thigh and bounced softly into the back of the net.
  • Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made five changes to the team that defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 at The Home Depot Center. Todd Dunivant came into the back four for Frankie Hejduk, Landon Donovan and David Beckham came into the midfield for Chris Birchall and Michael Stephens, and Robbie Keane and Chad Barrett replaced Adam Cristman and Miguel Lopez up top.
  • LA GALAXY--Josh Saunders - Bryan Jordan, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant – Landon Donovan (Michael Stephens 89), Paolo Cardozo, Juninho, David Beckham - Robbie Keane (Jovan Kirovski 91+), Chad Barrett (Adam Cristman 73).

TEAM NEWS

  • With a victory in any of their final three games, the Galaxy can claim the Supporters’ Shield, awarded to the club with the best overall record in the regular season, for a second consecutive year and fourth time in club history.
  • “It would have been nice to [claim the Shield on Saturday],” Landon Donovan said. “If we win in New York, we’re there. … We’re close, but we’re not there yet.”
  • With his assist on the goal that started the Galaxy’s 2-1 come-from-behind win against Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening, David Beckham regained the league lead with his 15th assist, one ahead of Houston’s Brad Davis. He is also two assists away from tying Mauricio Cienfuegos’ club record, set in 1999.
  • “It’s difficult this time of the season because there are a lot of games. You’re tired and you start seeing it and sometimes that can affect teams,” said Beckham. “We were one-nil down at the end of the first half and that was disappointing. We came in here we knew that we were passing the ball around well and we knew that we would get chances, it was just about putting them away.”
  • The Galaxy have won four games in a row, matching their longest league winning streak of the season. With a victory in their Home Depot Center finale on Oct. 16 vs. Chivas USA, they will become just the third team in MLS history to go undefeated at home over an entire MLS season.
  • “We’ve won in all kinds of ways this year and it’s really important,” Donovan said. “Come the last [CONCACAF Champions League] game against Motagua or the playoffs, if you go down a goal, you need to know how to win games.
  • With 64 points on the season, the Galaxy have tied the 2005 San Jose Earthquakes for most points in a single season, and have the record set by the 1998 Galaxy in their sights.
  • “It’s been a good season. But our eyes are kind of focused on the postseason. We obviously want to close out the Supporters’ Shield and advance in CONCACAF, but once we do that, we know that the big prize in where you make your living in this league is in the playoffs,” said defender Todd Dunivant.
  • Real’s goal on Saturday snapped the Galaxy’s shutout streak at 315 minutes, the eighth-longest in the league this season.
  • The Galaxy own the top two goalkeepers statistically in MLS. Josh Saunders has a goals-against-average of 0.99 after the win vs. RSL; Donovan Ricketts leads the league with an 0.49 GAA in 13 games.
  • The Galaxy will be without Robbie Keane, who will join Ireland for its final two matches of Euro 2012 qualifying against Andorra and Armenia.
WATCH: Beckham & Co. talk New York match
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