Notebook: Arena says hands tied on subs

CARSON, Calif.

– Los Angeles
Galaxy fans may have been clamoring for the introduction of striker Tristan Bowen in
place of the ineffective Jovan Kirovski, but LA manager Bruce Arena says his
hands were tied.

Bowen made an immediate impact on
the match as soon as he came on in the 76th minute,
including featuring on some of his team's best scoring opportunities.

But Arena explained that Bowen was not
brought in earlier because Dema Kovalenko was injured and David Beckham potentially needed to be switched out given the limited minutes he played in his only two appearances of the season.

“You couldn’t play your cards that
early,” Arena said. “You have to use a center back and holding midfielder for
your substitutions in a game like that, it’s tough. That hurt us. … Maybe in a
perfect situation we would have given Bowen more minutes.”

INJURY UPDATE: Both teams were hit by injuries on Friday. RBNY
right back Carey Talley came out before halftime with a hamstring strain which
the Red Bulls say will need a 10-day recovery. New York midfielder Tony Tchani
experienced a left hamstring strain but should be available for next Saturday's tilt
against Kansas City. In the Galaxy camp, midfielder Dema Kovalenko suffered an adductor strain.

CENTER BACK CONTROVERSY: In the postgame press conference, Arena
indicated that central defender Leonardo was subbed off at halftime due to
injury. Less than an hour later, the club stated that the change was tactical, with
A.J. DeLaGarza replacing the 22-year-old center back.

Arena was seen exchanging some strong words with Leonardo in
the tunnel at the break, just minutes after the Brazilian made
a wild tackle which came up empty and led to the visitors’ opening goal.

BUILD-UP FROM THE BACK: Dutch great Johann Cruyff once commented
that championship teams typically have defenders who are playmakers. The Red
Bulls fit that bill. New York’s back line on Friday was a key component of its dominant possession
game, especially with midfielder Rafa Márquez often drifting back there.

“LA had a huge problem to defend against Márquez
and Carlos Mendes and Tim Ream when we built up from the back with only three
players and pushed the two fullbacks,” said Red Bulls manager Hans Backe.

Left back Roy Miller and Talley on the opposite side
essentially became added midfielders in the scenario described by Backe,
compounding the superiority of the Red Bulls midfielder on the night.

Backe indicated that the decision was made at halftime to
play Márquez
only 69 minutes, citing the fact that the Mexican national-team captain was experiencing
fatigue and that it was not worth risking injury.

Márquez may not have made the key pass to decide the match,
but he was influential in the way he dictated the pace of the game and proved a
calming force for New York.

“He could in a way just tell the other players, ‘Don’t force
it, don’t get dragged into LA’s pace,’” Backe said. “[The Galaxy] have a lot
of pace, they’re physically strong. If we get dragged into that type of game,
we’d have lost this game. He calmed them down, get your possession and have a nice,
easy passing game. Don’t force it.”

M.O.M. MEHDI: Backe had
high praise for another one of his midfielders, Mehdi Ballouchy, calling him
the Man of the Match and even going as far to say that he is surprised that the
Moroccan native is “that good.” Ballouchy clearly had the ability to roam
freely, find the ball and keep it moving for New York.  

highlighted the impressive team defense his club showed on Friday night, saying
that the Red Bulls “had a swarm around the ball all night long,” with at
least two players collapsing on the LA player with possession.

The Galaxy’s Kovalenko was more
self-critical when speaking of his squad’s sputtering attack.

“They put pressure on us and we
didn’t move well enough off the ball to give options to players,” Kovalenko
said. “We did win the ball and try to play and after two passes it breaks up and
they were coming back at us.”

may have traveled from the opposite coast, but the Red Bulls still had a vociferous following of
more than 800 fans at the Home Depot Center. The contingent was dressed in red
and mobilized by the Red Bull office based in Los Angeles. They earned the salute of New York goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul toward the end of the match.

Bulls midfield in which Márquez typically gets all the accolades, Tchani was praised
by Arena, who called the rookie a “key player” for New York on Friday night.

During a press conference in which
Arena spent more time speaking about individual Red Bulls players than his own
squad, he also reserved commentary for Ream, RBNY’s central defender.

“I thought the kid Ream just cut
off every cross we sent in,” Arena said. “He seemed to be in the right spot all
night dealing with the crosses that we tried to play in front of the goal.”

The Red Bulls’ Estonian midfielder takes the honor for quote of the evening,
indicating that the victory in LA was critical in order for his team “to show
that we are not an easy cake.” Guesses are that they probably wanted to prove
they were not an easy cakewalk.


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