NEW YORK RED BULLS v LOS ANGELES GALAXY
GIANTS STADIUM, E. Rutherford, N.Y.
7:30 p.m. ET (HDNet; FSN-NY; KWHY)
June 17, 2006 (WEEK 12) / MLS Game #69
The New York Red Bulls are once again coming off a draw - with seven ties in 10 matches on the season, they are more than halfway to the MLS record with more than two-thirds of the campaign still to be played. They play host to a Los Angeles Galaxy side that hasn't won since April 29, though they put an end to a seven-game winning streak last weekend against D.C. United in Frank Yallop's second game in charge. But the Galaxy haven't had much luck lately against New York, their last victory in the series between the clubs coming in 2002.
REFEREE: Abbey Okulaja. SAR (bench): Nate Clement; JAR (opposite): Craig Lowry; 4th: Jorge Gonzalez
MLS Career: 47 games; FC/gm: 30.8; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 3; pens: 13
MLS 2006: 5 games; FC/gm: 29.6 (avg: 29.9); Y/gm: 4.2 (avg: 3.82); R: 0 (MLS: 9); pens: 1 (MLS: 15)
Games involving Red Bulls: P13 W7 L1 T5; FC/gm: 31.2; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 1; pens: 7
Games involving Galaxy: P12 W4 L6 T2; FC/gm: 33.3; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 0; pens: 4
INJURY REPORT: NEW YORK RED BULLS - OUT: MF Peter Canero (L knee surgery); DOUBTFUL: MF Amado Guevara (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Mark Lisi (lower abdominal strain); FW David Arvizu (L hamstring strain) ... LOS ANGELES GALAXY - OUT: DF Kyle Veris (L knee MCL sprain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Kyle Martino (R ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MF Cobi Jones (R foot sprain); MF Peter Vagenas (R quadriceps strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: LA: Landon Donovan, Chris Albright (USA; 2006 World Cup); Cornell Glen (Trinidad & Tobago; 2006 World Cup)
WARNINGS: NY: Seth Stammler (suspended next yellow card) ... LA: Ugo Ihemelu (suspended next yellow card)
This is the first of two meetings this season between the clubs, with both coming over the span of less than a month. The return match in the season series is set for July 4 at The Home Depot Center.
ALL-TIME (25 meetings): Red Bulls 11 wins (1 shootout), 36 goals ... Galaxy 11 wins (1 shootout), 37 goals ... 3 draws
AT GIANTS STADIUM: (14 meetings): Red Bulls 8 wins (1 shootout), 21 goals ... Galaxy 5 wins (1 shootout), 16 goals ... 1 draw
A year ago, the MetroStars won the season series, winning the lone encounter at the Meadowlands after playing to a draw little more than a month before in Carson.
The MetroStars haven't lost to the Galaxy in the last eight meetings between the clubs, winning five with three draws. The last Galaxy win in the series came Aug. 31, 2002, a 3-0 win at the Rose Bowl.
Last year was the third consecutive season the MetroStars took the season series. The Galaxy haven't won the season series since 1999, when they won both meetings (one by shootout) that season. The clubs split both meetings in each season from 2000 to 2002.
Coaches record: Mo Johnston vs. LA: first meeting ... Frank Yallop v NY: P6 W2 L1 T3
6/4: LA 2, MET 2 (Kirovski 19; Jones 34 - Ibrahim 5; Galvan Rey 72)
7/9: MET 2, LA 1 (Guevara 14 - Gaven 67; Gomez 49)
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls once again played to a draw, trading first-half goals with Houston Dynamo before the teams settled for a 1-1 draw on Saturday evening at Giants Stadium. The single point still left the Red Bulls in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 10 points from 10 matches, one behind the Chicago Fire and 15 in arrears of first-place D.C. United.
The New York Red Bulls hadn't won in two games while Dynamo hadn't lost in two games as the Houston club made its first-ever trip to the Meadowlands.
Jean Philippe Peguero put the Red Bulls into the lead after just two minutes, tied for the quickest goal in New York club history. An early service into the area from Youri Djorkaeff was met by Peguero and Dynamo 'keeper Pat Onstad at the same time, and the Red Bulls striker corraled the loose ball as Onstad fell and slid into the empty goal.
But Dynamo pulled level just 17 minutes later. Ricardo Clark let fly from well outside the area and his shot took a slight deflection on its way toward goal, leaving Tony Meola wrong-footed as it fell inside his left-hand post.
It was New York's seventh draw in 10 games and the sixth time they squandered a lead. With less than a third of the season gone, the Red Bulls have more than half of the Columbus Crew's MLS-record 13 ties recorded in 2004, and are already approaching the club record of 11 set last year.
Red Bulls head coach Mo Johnston made one change to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with the Kansas City Wizards the weekend before at Arrowhead Stadium. Edson Buddle returned to the lineup to partner Jean Philippe Peguero as Youri Djorkaeff returned to the midfield and Amado Guevara back to the substitutes' bench.
Here's Johnston's team (3-4-1-2): Tony Meola - Jeff Parke, Carlos Mendes (Marvell Wynne 77), Steve Jolley - Chris Henderson (Peter Canero 68), Mark Lisi (Amado Guevara 61), Danny O'Rourke, Seth Stammler - Youri Djorkaeff - Jean Philippe Peguero, Edson Buddle. [Substitutes Not Used: Jon Conway, Taylor Graham, Mike Magee, Joe Vide]
"I've never seen it before. I'd be very frustrated if we were losing every game. Yes, I'm disappointed, I'm frustrated for the players because they haven't given good accounts for themselves the last few weeks," Johnston said. " ... Teams are finding it hard to beat us, and we aren't playing our best soccer. Is that a positive? No, because we need more victories. But when that's said and done, teams are finding it hard to beat us."
In the 900 minutes they've played this year, the Red Bulls have only trailed for 52 minutes. "We've had four away games and we haven't lost any, so that's a positive," Johnston said. "We're not giving up too many chances or too many goals of late. I would certainly prefer a couple of victories, but it's going to come."
Much was made of Guevara's absence from the starting lineup, after starting the previous league match following a two-match club-imposed discipline. But Johnston said Guevara was carrying an injury - and had hoped not to use him at all.
"He missed training from Tuesday through Friday because of his hamstring injury. I didn't really want to play him tonight because I wanted to protect him and wanted to wait until next week," Johnston said. "But the way Mark (Lisi) was looking - he was struggling - and we had to bring him off. I thought when Amado came in, he played very well."
Johnston said an already short-handed squad is suffering from other injuries. "I believe in the players, but we also need some players. You saw tonight we had three or four injuries - Carlos (Mendes) has a problem, Mark (Lisi) has a problem, Peter (Canero) is playing hurt. I'm going to give them a couple of days off so they can recuperate," he said after the match.
Peguero's second-minute goal was tied for the fastest goal in team history. Clint Mathis also scored in the second minute for the then-MetroStars on Sept. 5, 2002.
Edson Buddle returned to the starting lineup for his eighth start in 10 MLS games, but still has yet to add to his goal scoring total after hitting the back of the net in the season opener.
"It's really a matter of getting Edson (Buddle) and (Jean Philippe) Peguero on the same page - who's going to come back, who's going to run off of who when the other is flicking it on - and obviously serving them quality balls in the box," Johnston said. "All forwards go through certain dry spells, the kid's been injured. For me, he's come out and trained very hard. He's a quality player and I've got no problem with him."
As well, Marvell Wynne saw his first minutes in four games, and he's made just two substitute appearances after starting the first five games.
"I've been working on playing him in defense and in the midfield of a 3-5-2. He's a tremendous athlete and he's someone with a big, big future," Johnston said. "It's just unfortunate that I like to play a three because in a four (4-4-2) he'd be playing every week. He's frustrated, but I've told him to hang in there because we're going to work with him. I'd like to see him get up and down the field and get some quality balls in the box."
Peter Canero will be lost to the team for 3-4 weeks after undergoing knee surgery to repair a tear of the left medial meniscus on Thursday.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
The Los Angeles Galaxy finally put an end to their seven-game winning streak, but still couldn't get a victory for new head coach Frank Yallop, although they did score a late equalizer to land a 1-1 draw with D.C. United on Sunday afternoon at The Home Depot Center. The Galaxy are still in sixth place with eight points from 13 matches, three points behind Real Salt Lake and now 16 out of first place in the division.
Frank Yallop was facing his second game in charge of the Galaxy in just a four-day span, his team still riding a seven-game losing streak, while United had won three games on the trot while racing to the best overall record in the league.
Christian Gomez put United into the lead in the 21st minute with a candidate for Goal of the Year honors. Receiving a rolling ball with his back to goal and Ugo Ihemelu right on his back, he flicked the ball over himself and the L.A. defender, raced around to get it on the other side and hitting a dipping left-footed full volley from all of 25 yards that sailed over Kevin Hartman and dove underneath the crossbar.
But second-half substitute Cobi Jones, who hadn't played in three games with an Achilles injury, proved the difference two minutes from time. A long ball from Paulo Nagamura from the center circle took a fortunate bounce off a United defender and fell to Jones, who quickly rounded D.C. 'keeper Troy Perkins as he came off his line and stroked the ball into the empty net for the tying goal.
For the first time all season, the Galaxy had the same lineup in consecutive matches, Frank Yallop keeping the same XI he ran out in his first game, a 2-1 loss to Chivas USA on Thursday night on Victoria Street.
Here's Yallop's team (4-4-2): Kevin Hartman - Nathan Sturgis, Ugo Ihemelu, Tyrone Marshall, Todd Dunivant - Kyle Martino (Alan Gordon 46), Paulo Nagamura, Marcelo Saragosa, Josh Gardner (Quavas Kirk 80) - Herculez Gomez, John Wolyniec (Cobi Jones 67). [Substitutes Not Used: Marc Burch, Steve Cronin, Troy Roberts, Peter Vagenas]
"I thought once we scored the goal I think you saw the team actually got the weight off their shoulders in the game," said Yallop. "I think they decided we can win this now. We haven't been in that position in a while. So I'm looking forward to seeing how we come out in the game against New York."
Although Jones admitted after the game that he was playing at only about 70 percent, he gutted out the final 23 minutes, and after nearly providing an assist to Herculez Gomez, took matters into his own hands with his 88th-minute equalizer.
"We spoke before the game and talked about having him play about 20 minutes, but I squeezed a bit more out of him. He was OK with that. I told him that I wanted to get him out on the field if we needed him at some point," Yallop said. "If we would have been winning 4-0, 5-0, then I might not have risked him. It was good to have him available. It was good to have him lift the team. It was great to finally score, so it was a good result for us all around."
Jones said the goal was a result of a change in play he'd like to see. "It's something I feel we need to see a lot more, is the runs from the outside guys cutting in and getting the ball over the top," he said. "There was definitely eye contact with Paulo (Nagamura) and he hit a great ball. It was just a perfect set-up for us."
For the first time all season, the Galaxy starting 11 was exactly the same as the previous game. The L.A. players said Yallop's taking over has had a big effect on the team's psyche.
"He (Yallop) really wants us to enjoy the game, and play free. Obviously there's expectations for us, but at the same time he's treated everyone as professionals," said goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who Yallop has re-installed as the first-choice in goal. "I think when you do that you get good reactions out of people."
Said Jones: "I think you can attribute all of that to the addition of Frank. He's definitely a player's coach. I think he knows exactly how to deal with us as players. It's something the fans are enjoying, this different style of play that Frank has brought. We obviously seem to be very composed under Frank."
Yallop has described the style he wants to play as a high pressure, force the tempo game. He's already narrowed the field at The Home Depot Center to give the opposition less space to operate in. His next step, he says, will be to improve the fitness level of his team. The changes have already begun to take shape on the training ground.
"There's a lot more playing I think. Sampson liked to do a lot more tactical work," said Alan Gordon. "Frank seems like he's letting us play a lot more and get into a rhythm." Added Herculez Gomez: "A lot of guys that weren't getting time with Sampson are getting that confidence now. Memo Gonzalez, who with Sampson was labeled a lazy player, is one of out better players in training. Guys are getting that second chance and taking advantage of it."