CARSON, Calif. – Emotion flowed freely for the New York Red Bulls on Sunday night.
In front of a packed house at StubHub Center, the Red Bulls battled through a back-and-forth game against the LA Galaxy, one that included big goals, rough tackles and controversial referee decisions that resulted in a 2-2 scoreline despite New York holding a two-goal lead with only 15 minutes of regulation remaining.
LA came charging back via Mike Magee and Ashley Cole, but it was a pair of no-calls that really frustrated the visitors. In between the two LA goals, the Red Bulls believed Alex Muyl and Gonzalo Veron were taken down in the box by Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
“It’s really hard to swallow because I’ve got a group of players that are confused,” head coach Jesse Marsch said. “Because I think we’re all having a hard time understanding how this is happening and why. We can’t dwell on it, we have to just understand it, and I think it’s obvious for everyone to see, the whole league was watching tonight. I think everybody can see that it’s painful, but again, we can’t dwell on it, whine about it, or make excuses, but it is perplexing and confusing, and it’s hard to understand.”
Marsch was ejected by referee Hilario Grajeda in the final minutes. Sacha Kljestan, who notched his league-leading 13th assist, declined to comment on the incidents, but added he had a view of both: “Of course. The whole league had a good view of the non-calls.”
The Red Bulls were also forced to use two of their three substitutions in the first half because of injuries to defenders Damien Perrinelle and Connor Lade. Bradley Wright-Phillips picked up a leg injury in the first half as well, but managed to play on, until a minute into the second half, when he became Marsch's third and final substitution.
Despite the injury setbacks, New York managed to keep LA off the score sheet. Then, in the 68th minute, Gonzalo Veron, who replaced Wright-Phillips, ran on to a beautiful ball from Kljestan, curling a shot past Rowe to give the visitors the lead. Six minutes later, Sean Davis notched his first MLS goal to put the Red Bulls in the driver’s seat.
That lead didn't last, but the Red Bulls remained proud of their efforts but frustrated by the result after earning a point in a building where the Galaxy haven't lost since Oct. 2015.
“It’s gonna make us stronger, we’re gonna find a way to get stronger,” said Marsch. “I have nothing but pride right now for my players and the way that they poured their hearts and guts into the game, and that’s what makes it difficult to swallow. Makes it hard to understand.”