The LA Galaxy get to move to in the MLS Cup playoffs, after defeating the New York Red Bulls 2-1; 3-1 on aggregate. The New York Vs. LA rivalry has been simplified down to David Beckham versus Thierry Henry, and it was the Englishman who won the field tonight. Beckham played through a real hard knock, and factored in on both the Galaxy goals. At halftime, he led the LA Galaxy with 42 touches.
The game leader in touches at halftime was Roy Miller, and Miller would factor into the final tally as well, though in a less favorable light. It was Miller who fouled David Beckham in the box, kicking him in the head no less; giving the LA Galaxy the penalty to make the series finally comfortable for LA. Landon Donovan was cool as a cucumber, and continued this years streak of not missing a penalty.
The first goal was all David as well. Taking a corner kick, he put the ball on the near post for Mike Magee, who headed it past Frank Rost. The sellout crowd at Home Depot Center was relieved, but Beckham had to back out of the celebration. He still had some cobwebs at that point.
After the game I asked Bruce Arena what separated the Galaxy from the other teams in MLS playoffs that also participated in Champions League. LA were the only team that played internationally and made it through the MLS Cup Quarterfinals. Bruce said it was a testament to the Galaxy's depth, and also a lot of luck. He stressed the same thing he did earlier in the week, MLS has not made the proper concessions to teams to allow them to play in Champions League. Certainly, as the weeks have wound down, the Galaxy senior roster has been worn thin.
Even being down two goals on aggregate, New York only managed one shot on goal the entire second half (Luke Rodgers in the 48'). The Galaxy back 4+1 were able to shut down the Red Bull attack in the second half, after they looked deadly in the first. Most of that was figuring out how to clog the middle without Juninho, which involved Landon playing further in, and Mike Magee just going into crazy good mode.
The Galaxy will take on RSL at the Home Depot Center at 6pm on Sunday. Game will be on ESPN. However, if you're not here, you're a bit of a square. Just sayin.