Preview: LA host Red Bulls in rivalry match on ESPN

LA GALAXY vs NEW YORK RED BULLS
THE HOME DEPOT CENTER, Carson, Calif.
May 5, 2012 (WEEK 9, MLS Game #82)
8 p.m. ET (ESPN/Deportes; TSN2)

The LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls meet in one of the high-profile clashes of the MLS season when the clubs have their only league encounter of the 2012 campaign Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy saw their three-game undefeated run come to an end at midweek in a 2-0 loss at Seattle Sounders FC. The Red Bulls returned to their winning mode, holding on for a 1-0 home win against the New England Revolution last weekend.

REFEREE: Kevin Stott. SAR (bench): Adam Wienckowski; JAR (opposite): Corey Parker; 4th: Mark Declouet
MLS Career: 219 games; FC/gm: 25.7; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 58; pens: 45

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ESPN Preview: LA vs. NY

INJURY REPORT:

  • LA GALAXY - OUT: DF Omar Gonzalez (L knee surgery); DF Leonardo (R knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: GK Brian Perk (sports hernia surgery)
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS -- OUT: MF Teemu Tainio (R knee sprain); FW Thierry Henry (R hamstring strain); FW Jose Angulo (R knee sprain); DF Stephen Keel (back strain); DF Roy Miller (L knee effusion); DF Wilman Conde (L groin strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Juan Agudelo (L knee surgery recovery); DF Jan Gunnar Solli (L calf strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: NY: Rafa Marquez (through May 5)

WARNINGS:

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (37 meetings): Galaxy 15 wins (1 shootout), 53 goals ... Red Bulls 16 wins (1 shootout), 54 goals ... Ties 6

AT LA (17 meetings): Galaxy 8 wins (0 shootout), 26 goals ... Red Bulls 5 wins (0 shootout), 21 goals ... Ties 4

LAST YEAR (MLS):

5/7: LA 1, NY 1 (Donovan 41 - Henry 4)
10/4: NY 2, LA 0 (Rodgers 31; Henry 59)

  • This is the only league meeting between the clubs this season.
  • The Red Bulls have come away with points on three of their last four visits to The Home Depot Center to play the Galaxy, winning twice and reaching a 1-1 draw last season.
  • 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. Last year's meeting at Red Bull Arena was postponed from Aug. 28 because of Hurricane Irene.
  • Coaches record: Bruce Arena vs. NY: P18 W10 L7 D1 ... Hans Backe vs. LA: P4 W2 L1 D1

LA GALAXY

The LA Galaxy saw their three-game undefeated run in a first-ever loss at Seattle Sounders FC, going down to a 2-0 defeat Wednesday evening at CenturyLink Field. The Galaxy are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 10 points from 8 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: Galaxy's struggles continue in Seattle

LAST MATCH

  • Sounders FC hit for both goals on either side of halftime. In the 40th minute, Mauro Rosales sent in a cross from the right wing and Eddie Johnson found some space between a pair of defenders, striking a snap header from the penalty spot past Galaxy goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.
  • The real highlight of the evening came in the 48th minute. After receiving the ball in midfield and striding forward, Fredy Montero stepped into a fierce drive from all of 35 yards out that sailed into the upper right corner.
  • Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made five changes to the team that snatched a late 1-1 draw with FC Dallas at The Home Depot Center. Bryan Jordan, Brian Gaul, Marcelo Sarvas, Chad Barrett and Adam Cristman all came into the team, for Todd Dunivant, David Beckham, Mike Magee, Robbie Keane and Edson Buddle.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Bill Gaudette - Bryan Jordan (Pat Noonan 71), David Junior Lopes, A.J. DeLaGarza, Brian Gaul - Sean Franklin, Juninho, Marcelo Sarvas, Landon Donovan - Chad Barrett (Mike Magee 58), Adam Cristman (Edson Buddle 53).

TEAM NEWS

Beckham, Keane rested and ready for NY

  • The Galaxy were limited to just one shot on goal for the match. They had zero shots on goal in their 1-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on April 7.
  • "I think we struggled technically in the final third with getting some crosses in front of the goal. We weren't able to get enough shots in. Seattle played very well tonight," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.
  • With three games in the week, Arena opted to keep fullback Todd Dunivant and striker Robbie Keane back in southern California. Striker Edson Buddle and midfielder Mike Magee started the game as substitutes.
  • "I think it's a difficult week with the travel and playing on this surface. We wanted to keep some players fresh for the game on Saturday. That's the decision I made," Arena said. "We didn't think we were going to be able to play 11 players in three games and we had to rotate some players. It made sense to me to have those players available on Saturday."
  • Adam Cristman made his first start of the season, a few days after making his first appearance of 2012 as a substitute against FC Dallas and getting an assist on the late tying goal.
  • Brian Gaul made his full professional debut, playing 90 minutes at right back.
  • "Historically we've done well here with a mix of lineups and personnel. We had a chance at the beginning of halftime to get something out of the game," said Landon Donovan. "That being said, this is a long season with a number of older players who have played a lot of games. When you combine the turf and traveling home it becomes pretty difficult. Those are the decisions that were made. We had enough guys here to get the job done, we just couldn't do it."
  • Goalkeeper Bill Gaudette started a second consecutive game, deputizing for the sidelined Josh Saunders.
  • "I thought he did well. The second goal was a tremendous goal and we didn't do a good job marking on the first goal, give them credit for getting it," Arena said.
  • The Galaxy have yet to record a defensive shutout this season, and have allowed multiple goals in three of eight games. A year ago, they recorded shutouts in 17 of 34 league contests, and allowed just a single goal in a further 10.
  • "If we were just able to keep it a little more we could have struck them out. Final third we did better, defensively we'll get back to work and watch the video," said Gaudette. "We obviously want to get the result in every game but this is a tough place to play. We're excited to get back to work on Saturday night."
  • On their way to the Supporters' Shield last season, the Galaxy took over top spot in the Western Conference in April and remained there. As the season approaches the one-third pole this year, the Galaxy are already 12 points behind first-place San Jose in the table.
  • "We can't keep saying it's early. We've gotten better, there's no question, but we have to keep improving. While we're improving we have to start getting points," said Donovan. "Saturday is a game that's very important now and we have to get points out of it. Everybody knows that the West is a lot stronger than the East and it will get very difficult as the year goes on so we've got to start making our move or else we will find ourselves in a bad place."

NEW YORK RED BULLS

The New York Red Bulls returned to their winning ways, getting an early goal and holding on for a 1-0 victory against the New England Revolution on Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls are in third place in the Eastern Conference, with 13 points from 8 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: Red Bulls shut out the Revs

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came in the seventh minute. Connor Lade played a ball over the top down the left side, and Thierry Henry beat New England goalkeeper Matt Reis to the ball and sent a delicate lob over the 'keeper into the net.
  • Henry was forced out of the game in the 23rd minute after slipping while trying to make a run on goal. The French star immediately clutched the back of his right leg and had to be helped off the field. The Red Bulls later said he suffered a hamstring strain.
  • Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara was called upon to make five saves to record his first professional shutout.
  • Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe made three changes to the team that went down to a 4-1 defeat by D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Brandon Barklage and Tyler Ruthven came into the back four for Jan Gunnar Solli and Stephen Keel, and Joel Lindpere started in midfield in place of Victor Palsson.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Ryan Meara - Brandon Barklage, Tyler Ruthven, Markus Holgersson, Connor Lade - Dane Richards, Dax McCarty, Mehdi Ballouchy (Jhonny Arteaga 85), Joel Lindpere - Kenny Cooper, Thierry Henry (Victor Palsson 25).

TEAM NEWS

Key Match-Up: Cooper vs. LA Defense

  • The shutout came with a back four with a combined 23 games of MLS experience entering the match. Brandon Barklage served as an emergency right back, and Tyler Ruthven made his first professional start in central defense.
  • Rookie Ryan Meara recorded his first shutout in the win against New England, then raced over after the game to celebrate with family and friends at Red Bull Arena.
  • "Looking at film, the goals we've given up lately, a lot of them come when we're stretched and slow to get back into shape," said Meara. "When we're in good shape defensively and tight and compact, we're very hard to break down."
  • The Red Bulls are expected to be without Thierry Henry for 2-4 weeks after he suffered a hamstring injury shortly after scoring his league-leading ninth goal of the season.
  • "It's quite a big hamstring [injury], huge one. Normally you say three to four weeks," Backe said. " ... The way he has started as a goalscorer and [with] assists, it's a huge loss for us, both on and off the pitch."
  • With Rafa M·rquez suspended and Teemu Tainio still sidelined, Backe detailed Dax McCarty to sit as a screen in front of the back four.
  • "He played phenomenal today, absolutely outstanding in that position," Backe said. "Normally you can say Dax's strength is from the halfway line in the attacking game, not defending in front of two center backs. But we said after [the loss to D.C. United] we just need to protect the center backs better from crosses and things like that."
  • Said McCarty: "Before the game, that's what the coaching staff entrusted me to do. It's a position I've played before, maybe not my best position, but today I wanted to stay more disciplined and sit in front of the back four and be an outlet for them and clean up things in the middle.
  • Backe said the Red Bulls will again be without defender Wilman Conde and Stephen Keel this weekend.
  • "Wilman is doing well, so I guess he is back in training in two weeks," said Backe. "Teemu, as we said direct after the injury, it is about six weeks, so he probably has two, three more weeks. That stress fracture [to Keel] is a little bit difficult to say, but probably we said around three to four weeks since he got the injury, so it's the same."
  • There is a chance Juan Agudelo could be available for the Galaxy match, but Backe said if he does play, it will be for no more than 20-25 minutes. Backe said fullbacks Jan Gunnar Solli and Roy Miller could also return to training ahead of the weekend.
  • "I don't know really yet," said Backe. "It depends, of course, because Jhonny Arteaga has done quite well when he's come on from bench. Agudelo will train on Thursday, so I will say that we have options to play with two strikers. This week we'll see how it looks."