CARSON, Calif. — Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan canceled each other out with first-half goals as the LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls tied 1-1 at a sold-out Home Depot Center on Saturday.
Henry, who was active and entertaining all night, scored his fourth goal of the season in the opening minutes, and Donovan headed home a David Beckham corner kick to equalize just before halftime. But a sliding save by Red Bulls centerback Tim Ream was perhaps the highlight of a match filled with highlight-reel moments.
The result means both sides remain atop their respective conferences. The draw broke the Red Bulls’ three-game unbeaten streak.
The top-of-the-table clash took only minutes to live up to the hype. And the intensity of the bicoastal rivalry showed itself again and again.
In the 4th minute, Dane Richards took possession of a turnover by AJ De La Garza and raced towards the Galaxy’s penalty area. The Jamaican winger curled a ball into the path of Henry, who eluded LA goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and slipped his shot into the back of the net from a tight angle. It was the Frenchman’s fourth goal in the last four games.
The Galaxy took control of the match, trying to counter quickly and nearly getting the equalizer on several occasions.
After a scramble in the area, Chad Barrett fired a shot on goal from near the penalty spot, but New York keeper Bouna Coundoul sprawled out and made the save inches on front of the goal line.
In the 26th minute, LA striker Juan Pablo Ángel appeared to have leveled terms against his old club when he buried a header into the back of the net. But the linesman’s flag ruled him offside—replays indicated it was the correct call—and the goal was disallowed.
A minute later, Donovan fired a shot from 15 yards out but sent the ball wide of the goal.
Finally, the Galaxy broke through. Beckham’s in-swinging corner kick was met by an unmarked Donovan, who buried it into the back of the net. After the goal, the US international celebrated with a few words for New York’s Henry, who had clipped Donovan’s legs earlier in the match.
But Donovan failed to put the hosts in the lead just minutes later. Streaking in alone behind the New York defense, Donovan rounded the on-rushing Coundoul and was presented with an open net. From the top of the penalty area Donovan pushed the ball toward the gaping goal, seemingly secure that the slow-rolling ball would cross the line.
However, Ream, making a straight recovery run, raced past Donovan, reached the ball, slid, and cleared it just before the ball crossed the goal line. Replays showed that the ball did not cross the line.
Neither side was able to break down their opponent in the second half. The Galaxy had more of the possession, and a Beckham free kick nearly put the Galaxy ahead midway through the second half. But again Coundoul was able to dive and make the save.
Moments later, Richards saw a shot carom off the the post, and as time was winding down, some lovely interplay between Henry and Dwayne De Rosario released the former Toronto midfielder on a 60-yard run down the left side. He cut into the area and forced a sprawling match-saving block from Ricketts.
It would prove to be the final chance of the match as the two rivals, who have played several high-scoring affairs in recent years, walked off the field with a point each.
The Galaxy next travel cross-country to face the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday. The Red Bulls return to action on Sunday, May 15, at home to Chivas USA.
NY -- Thierry Henry 4 (Dane Richards 3) 4
LA -- Landon Donovan 4 (David Beckham 5) 41
New York Red Bulls -- Bouna Coundoul, Jan Gunnar Solli, Rafael Marquez, Tim Ream, Roy Miller, Dane Richards, Mehdi Ballouchy, Dwayne De Rosario, Joel Lindpere, Thierry Henry, Luke Rodgers (Juan Agudelo 72).
Substitutes Not Used: Stephen Keel, Carlos Mendes, Carl Robinson, John Rooney, Greg Sutton.
LA Galaxy -- 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).
Substitutes Not Used: Adam Cristman, Frankie Hejduk, Jovan Kirovski, Michael Stephens, Josh Saunders.
NY -- Luke Rodgers (caution; Tactical Foul) 57
Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
Referee's Assistants: Colin Arblaster; Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Sorin Stoica
Time of Game: 1:52