Playing in their fourth game in 10 days, the LA Galaxy took on the New York Red Bulls, trying to secure the MLS Supporters' Shield, despite fielding an exhausted squad. But Luke Rodgers and Thierry Henry proved to be too much for the worn out Galaxy team to handle, as they fell 2-0 to the Red Bulls on Tuesday night.
Aside from having been run ragged in the past month between multiple games and extensive travel, the Galaxy also played without captain Landon Donovan, and forward Robbie Keane, who have been big offensive contributors this season. Donovan Ricketts got his second start since returning from his injury, giving Josh Saunders some rest and getting minutes back under his belt.
Ricketts was under heavy pressure throughout the match, especially from NYRB star Luke Rodgers. It only took 31 minutes for the Red Bulls to get on the board, as Rodgers was in the right place at the right time to finish off a rebound from a corner kick. Ricketts made a great first save, but had no shot at stopping Rodgers point blank from the six-yard box.
The Galaxy managed to get to halftime only down a goal, but it wasn't looking good. Rodgers hit the post on what should have been New York's second goal; it could have easily been two or three nothing in favor of the Red Bulls at the half.
Even in the second half, LA never really looked dangerous. And when they did, it was Chad Barrett on the end of it, and despite his recent success--a goal in each of the last two MLS games--his finishing touch was awful tonight. Barrett missed at least three excellent opportunities to score. Had he put just one of them away, this game would have had a completely different feel, and the Galaxy might have had a fighting chance.
Unfortunately, he didn't, and the Red Bulls put the game to bed early in the 60th minute with a goal from Thierry Henry, assisted by the controversial Rafa Marquez. Marquez was back after being suspended for a game for his tirade against his teammates following the Red Bulls loss to Real Salt Lake. When he was subbed off in the 82nd minute, the crowd at Red Bull Arena cheered heartily for him, seeming to forgive him for his past behavior.
While the loss is certainly a disappointment for the Galaxy team and fans, it's not the end of the world. With a long stretch of rest ahead of them, when LA takes on it's fiercest rivals, Chivas USA, the players should be well rested and ready to clinch the Supporters' Shield at home, in front of thousands of their fans.