After positive reviews following a glowing performance vs. Sporting Kansas City last week, Galaxy fans may have been optimistic when Bradford Jamieson IV was named in the starting lineup for today's match at Red Bull Arena, but few if any expected the 18-year old to get on the scoresheet.
And yet that's exactly what happened, as the academy product created space for himself in the final third before evading two players and confidently rifling home a left-footed blast, as the Galaxy battled to a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls Sunday afternoon.
#NYvLA pic.twitter.com/ujn7sApxW6— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) April 26, 2015
LA were forced to rotate the lineup once again, this time pairing Jamieson with Alan Gordon as forwards and Gyasi Zardes shifting to the left wing. In comparison, the Red Bulls put out their strongest lineup, featuring the trio of Dax McCarty, Felipe and Sacha Kljestan in attack and Bradley-Wright Philips alone up top.
Much of the talk surrounding the build-up to this game had centered on the Red Bulls' surprising form. Expected to struggle this year, New York has instead outclassed their money-flashing neighbors, utilizing a sharp pressing game to cause turnovers, win the ball and dominate possession, allowing the Red Bulls to dictate the game and create plenty of chances in attack.
True as advertised, the Red Bulls pressed early and often, putting consistent pressure on the Galaxy defense all game long while LA mostly resorted to counter-attacks. Shortly after Jamieson scored, Jaime Penedo absolutely stoned Bradley Wright-Philips, denying the 2014 MLS Golden Boot winner a tap-in from point-blank range following a superb cross from Sacha Kljestan.
LA had some chances. In the 38th minute, Gyasi Zardes strolled up the pitch, considering his options before passing to Stefan Ishizaki, who dinked the ball over the top to Zardes inside the box, but he could only get a toe on the shot. The rebound spun to Gordon, and he narrowly missed after goalkeeper Luis Robles closed down the angle.
It was Zardes' turn to shine in the second half, nutmegging Chris Duvall down the sideline before neatly whipping in a cross Alan Gordon was unlucky to head down.
A minute later, the Red Bulls equalized on what can only be described as a lucky bounce. Sal Zizzo dribbled down the left flank and found Wright-Philips inside the box, who shot first-time but DeLaGarza blocked the attempt, only for the ball to improbably whiz by Baggio Husidic's face and land squarely on Felipe's forehead, deflecting into an empty net.
The Red Bulls continued to pile pressure on the Galaxy defense, the closest chance coming late when Felipe delivered a teasing set piece into the box that substitute Mike Grella missed by inches. However, the LA back four stood firm and the Galaxy held on for the draw.
LA head to Colorado next week to take on the Rapids.