HARRISON, N.J. – Despite extending their unbeaten stretch to six, the disappointment within the Red Bulls locker room was palpable.
With the reigning MLS Cup champions coming to town, the Red Bulls were hoping to prove themselves against the league’s elite. And with 2014 MVP Robbie Keane out of the LA Galaxy lineup, the odds seemed tipped in the in-form home team’s favor.
But Bradford Jamieson IV had other ideas, as the Galaxy teenager’s first-half goal allowed LA to escape Red Bull Arena with a 1-1 draw Sunday at Red Bull Arena.
“They had one good chance and they scored off of it,” New York goalkeeper Luis Robles said. “Other than that, we held them at bay.”
In a game that saw few chances on either side of the pitch, the Red Bulls were left to rue a defensive lapse that saw the Galaxy take an early lead, changing the complexion of the remainder of the match.
“I felt that we had the better of the game,” Lloyd Sam said. “I just wish we didn’t let in that goal so early; it could’ve been a lot different [because] now we’re chasing the game.”
Powered by another workmanlike performance from their midfield trio, New York out-possessed the Galaxy two to one on the night, although their time on the ball did not translate into concrete scoring opportunities. If not for a rather lucky deflection that found the head of Felipe in the second half, the Red Bulls may have suffered their first loss of the season.
“For 90 minutes I thought we were on top of the match,” head coach Jesse Marsch said in his postgame press conference. “Getting the early goal, for them, really changed the match a little bit. It meant that we were pushing and they were sitting back.
“The guys pushed and pushed and got the equalizer. We were a little bit unlucky not to find the lead.”
Despite showing their resiliency by rallying to secure a point after conceding the opening goal for the third time this season, many of the players were indeed frustrated by the result.
“We controlled the game more today,” Sacha Kljestan said. “We did a lot of things that we wanted to do today – put them under pressure, create chances, things like that. We leave disappointed because we gave up an early goal off a little, small defensive one-on-one mistake.
“Overall, [we’re] disappointed. The Galaxy tried to kill off the game from the first minute and must’ve wasted 10 minutes of actual playing time, so that annoys me.”
Much of that frustration stems from New York’s failure to challenge Galaxy keeper Jaime Penedo with any regularity on the night. Chances for New York’s attacking core were few and far in between, leaving the team to rue their inability to truly test the Galaxy defense.
“They were able to get the goal early and when teams do that on the road, they’ll sit back and feel comfortable with a 1-0 victory,” Sal Zizzo told MLSsoccer.com “Any team that sits back and defends with eight or nine guys, it’s going to be tough to break down.”
But for New York, there’s not time to sit and lament the two dropped points. Entering the final game of their three-game homestand, the attention turns to Colorado and a chance to extend their unbeaten run.
“It’s always a positive to come back from a goal down,” Zizzo said. “We have to look at the positives. We have a quick turnaround Wednesday and we’re going to look to keep the streak going and hopefully keep it going for as long as we can.”