New York RB vs. LA Galaxy  0 - 1

Article

MLS wrap: Beckham helps Galaxy take playoff lead

31 October 2011 04:16

Los Angeles Galaxy earned a 1-0 win in the first leg of their MLS playoff semi-final against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday.

Attacking midfielder Mike Magee scored the only goal in the 15th minute of the match at the Red Bull Arena.

Galaxy's star man David Beckham unlocked the Red Bull defence with a pinpoint pass that freed up Magee inside the penalty area.

The sharp execution baffled New York's defenders, who assumed Magee was in an offside position.

Los Angeles has relied on their defence to grind out results throughout the season and they refused to stray away from that game plan against the Red Bulls.

New York remained aggressive throughout the match but proved unable to force a goal despite several opportunities.

Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry squandered an early chance from just outside the box, with his side-footed shot rolling harmlessly past Los Angeles goalkeeper Josh Saunders and out of play.

New York had further opportunities to equalise but Saunders held firm on each occasion.

Carlos Mendes sent a header sailing over the bar in the 88th minute before Saunders blocked a rebounded shot from Henry.

Frustrations boiled over as a fight broke out shortly after the game.

Galaxy substitute Adam Christman launched a punch at Mendes after Rafael Marquez had thrown the ball at the back of Landon Donovan.

Juninho then followed up by elbowing Stephen Keel in the face.

An MLS spokesperson announced after the match that both Marquez and Juninho received red cards after the game, ruling them out of the return fixture.

Despite trailing on aggregate, Henry remains hopeful New York can turn it around during the second leg in Los Angeles next Thursday.

"I told the guys that we still have 90 minutes to go and let's try to do the same thing that LA did to us," Henry said.

"But it will be difficult."

In other matches, Houston Dynamo won 2-1 in the first leg of their semi-final away to Philadelphia Union.

Andrew Hainault opened the scoring for Houston four minutes into the match at PPL Park, but the lead lasted just two minutes before Sebastien Le Toux levelled for the home side.

Calen Carr struck the winner for Dynamo in the 29th minute.

Finally, two goals from Teal Bunbury saw Sporting Kansas City win 2-0 away to the Colorado Rapids.

The Rapids had Tyrone Marshall sent off on 57 minutes after he committed a foul inside the area, with Bunbury notching his second from the penalty spot.

Article

Donovan lets fly at ´cheap´ Red Bulls

31 October 2011 02:25

Los Angeles Galaxy captain Landon Donovan has called the New York Red Bulls the dirtiest team he has ever played against in his MLS career.

Donovan's comments come after the Red Bulls' Rafa Marquez threw a ball at Donovan's back at the end of his team's 1-0 victory in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, causing a scuffle to break out on the Red Bulls Arena pitch.

"In all my years in this league, I've not played against a cheaper team, and they've been doing it all year," said Donovan. "It's a disgrace. We're here to play soccer."

Seconds after the match, Marquez acted and Adam Christman and Juninho retaliated. Both Marquez and Juninho received red cards and will miss the second leg of the semi-finals. Donovan was proud of his team-mates for sticking up for him.

"The whistle blew and Marquez picked up the ball and threw it at me. I was lucky I saw it and Adam [Christman] saw it as well and stood up for his team-mate," said Donovan.

"It's unfortunate that the guy who reacts always gets in trouble, but I'm glad that my team-mates stuck up for me."

When asked whether or not something happened on the pitch that resulted in Marquez's action, Donovan said it came out of nowhere but he was not surprised considering the Mexico international defender's reaction after the loss.

"I don't think anyone is surprised by what happened," Donovan said.

Donovan also called out the Red Bulls for having several cheap shots throughout the match. He dismissed the fact that teams generally play more physical in the playoffs.

"You saw it a few weeks ago when [Thierry] Henry kneed someone in the back. We've seen that stuff all year," said Donovan. "It's happened all year. I think it's just part of their make-up."

Despite the game being physical on both sides, Donovan is glad that his team were able to pull out a victory away from home.

"In the end the cream rose to the top and the better team won," said Donovan.

MLS table

# Team MP D P
3 16 +0 23
4 14 +1 21
5 17 +0 20
6 17 +0 20
7 18 -4 18

MLS table

# Team MP D P
4 19 +1 26
5 16 +4 25
6 14 +6 21
7 18 +0 21
8 17 -9 20