CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 01: David Beckham #23 of the Los Angeles Galaxy turns on the ball under pressure from Alvaro Saborio #15 of Real Salt Lake in the first half during the MLS match at The Home Depot Center on October 1, 2011 in Carson, California. The Galaxy defeated Real Salt Lake 2-1. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Today the Los Angeles Galaxy face the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in a highly anticipated match. The Galaxy were originally scheduled to play the Red Bulls on August 28th, but the match was rescheduled due to Hurricane Irene which hit the east coast at the time. Not only is this game anticipated due to its delay, but a win for the Galaxy would secure the Supporter's Shield for the second consecutive year in a row. With a win tonight, the Red Bulls can hold onto their wildcard spot in the playoffs. Needless to say, this match is very important for both teams.
The Galaxy are coming into this match on a four game winning streak and the best record in MLS, with their latest win again Real Salt Lake this past Saturday in a 2-1 comeback at the Home Depot Center. In their most recent match, the Red Bulls had a 1-1 draw against Toronto FC. They are holding onto fifth place in the eastern conference, which continues to have a tight race for the playoffs. In their previous meeting this past May, the Galaxy and Red Bulls had a 1-1 draw at the Home Depot Center with Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry both scoring in that match.
Although the Galaxy should be considered the favorite tonight, they go into this match with a significant number of players potentially missing from their starting line up. Tonight the Galaxy will be without two of their designated players, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane. It appears Donovan was injured in the match against Real Salt Lake this past Saturday and is listed as "Questionable" on the Galaxy injury report with a right-quad strain; however he did not travel with the team for the match and thus he clearly will not be playing tonight. He was originally on the roster to play in the USMNT match against Hondoras this Saturday, but has been replaced by his former Galaxy teammate Edson Buddle. This leads to the assumption that his injury in the RSL match was worse than originally thought. Robbie Keane is playing for Ireland this week and was never expected to play in the Red Bulls match. That leaves David Beckham as the sole DP in this match, and even his appearance is not certain as he is also listed as "Questionable" along with Chris Birchall, Mike Magee, and Donovan Ricketts.
Even with the loss of Donovan, Keane and other key Galaxy players, this match is not without its star power. The LA Galaxy are always a draw on television due to their name recognition, but this match is exceptionally exciting as it potentially pairs international players Beckham and Henry against one another. We can only hope the LA versus NY rivalry will be as much fun as the television producers do, since it is being aired on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes to an international audience. But rivalries do not matter for the Galaxy and their fans right now; this match is only significant in that it will hopefully result in the three points needed to secure the Supporter's Shield and prove once again why the LA Galaxy continue to be the team to beat in MLS.