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There is nothing quite like waking up on a Galaxy game day. Especially when that game day falls within the English Premier League and its schedule. So this Saturday, being the official start of the “football season” was a perfect way to remind me that the fall is coming and pretty soon we are going to be playing October soccer. There is just something about the time of year and knowing that playoffs and MLS Cup 2010 is just around the corner.
With all of this excitement in mind I decided to hang with some friends at the LA Galaxy’s official Orange County Bar, the Olde Ship in Santa Ana. Lets run down why watching with friends and fans at a Pub is so much more fun that watching at home by yourself.
- When screaming at the television it is always better when you have people screaming with you. It make you look less like a douche bag.
- Sure beer tastes good out of your fridge, but drinking one from the tap is just so much better.
- When you wear your Galaxy Gear around your house no one really gets to see it. So going to the bar allows you to some comparison shopping. There are always new scarves to be seen.
- Bar food. So much better than those microwave nachos.
- If you go to a pub and the waiter speaks in a British accent you can consider your afternoon “Cultured”
- Lets face it, at your home you would never have interesting articles about sailors knots and why ships are called “She” above your toilet. An education is important!
- If your team ends up losing there is a whole bunch of alcohol you don’t have at home to drown your sorrows in.
- If you’re lucky the bar has a rewards program. They give you points for every dollar you spend. (Side note: I hear this is how alcoholics get started)
- The high fives you give your dog are nothing compared to the Bear hugs you get from the friendly Galaxy Fans
- At least when you spill that beer all over yourself in the 88th minute when the opposing team cracks one of the crossbar, there will be somebody with a mop and bucket to clean up after you!
In all seriousness, I had a great time hanging out with LA Galaxy fans. We are strangely supportive bunch. Here we are following a team that is barely a blip on the radar to most people. But our passion and game smarts brings us together to make us one of the smartest fan groups I have ever known. Keep up the cheering, the enthusiasm and most importantly, keep bringing your friends who say they don’t like soccer, but have never been to a game before. We have a strange and wonderful ability to help soccer virgins become addicted to the game. Even if they root for someone else, you will be helping expand the soccer community here in the US.
Los Angeles Galaxy at New York Red Bulls (Red Bull Arena)
This was the game that Major League Soccer and Commissioner Don Garber had been waiting for. A match up between west coast and east coast. A classic rivalry that pitted the large city out west with the large city out east. Three designated players on the field at the same time, inside a state of the art, beautifully crafted, brand new stadium. And with this game came the hope that a good team in the Eastern Conference battle for league supreme with the best in the Western Conference.
The line up for the Galaxy included AJ DeLaGarza playing for Todd Dunivant who might have picked up a slight injury. I am still waiting on official word on his status. There is a good chance that Bruce Arena, who also was absent on the Galaxy bench, decided to rest the veteran.
With Alan Gordon now playing for cross town rival Chivas USA, Tristan Bowen got his starting spot back and was paired with Buddle up top. The midfield was a standard set for the Galaxy with Donovan, Juninho, Birchall, and Stephens.Omar Gonzalez was paired with Gregg Berhalter in central defense even after playing the full 90 minutes for the US Mens National Team game against Brazil earlier in the week. Donovan Ricketts started his 19 game of the season for the Galaxy.
The starting lineup for New York consisted of Henry and Angel up top with Lindpere, Tchani, Richards and Marquez backing them in the midfield. The back four of Miller, Ream, Mendes, and Albright were supported by Coundoul in goal.
This game started very quickly for LA. Off of a turnover from Marquez in the 7th minute Chris Birchall hit a right footed strike that should have found the net. But Chris has been extremely unlucky this year and his run of bad luck continued as the ball touched off the cross bar. Coundoul was beat on the play and seemed to have been caught by surprise. I know all the fans are rooting for “Birchy” so keep launching those shots at the net. One is bound to go in eventually.
But Marquez would again be victimized about 3 minutes later as Juninho was able to put a meaty challenge on the Mexican National player. Juninho was then able to slot a perfectly weighted pass to Buddle who was kept onside by a late moving Red Bull defender. Edson beat Coundoul to his left and slotted home an early goal for LA in the tenth minute. The Galaxy need early goals from Buddle. This allows the Galaxy to pressure the opposition with their suffocating defense. The Galaxy were a perfect 12-0-0 when scoring the first goal of the game.
Juninho and the rest of the Galaxy continued to play tough, physical, suffocating defense. With their high pressure they routinely forced New York to cough up the ball in the middle of the field. Juninho and Birchall in particular kept Marquez from being involved in this game. Besides his set pieces, Marquez was fairly absent from most of the play at Red Bull Arena.
However, the Galaxy showed there is still one weakness in their defense. New York almost scored 3 times on set pieces. Juan Pablo Angel put a shot just wide of the upright in the 38th minute and JPA also hit the post off a header on set piece service from Marquez in first half stoppage time. In fact, Angel should have scored as he was left unmarked at the penalty spot.
The only run of play lapse by the Galaxy defense was a poorly executed back pass by Omar Gonzalez to Donovan Ricketts. The LA keeper was quick off his line however, and made a beautiful sliding tackle on Henry to deny any sort of goal scoring opportunity. It was the moment in the game that both reawakened the physical defense from the Galaxy and frustrated the New York offense.
In the 72nd minute on a corner from Lindpere nearly found the net as Ricketts was able to make a great save. In fact the entire Galaxy defense was able to help out in this save as the ball was bounced around the box until it was finally cleared out of danger.
The game finally ended with 4 minutes of stoppage time and flurry of activity from the home team that never really found any solid chances.The Galaxy held on for the 1 – 0 win and were able to stay ahead of the Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference.
The Galaxy defense is back. So is the swagger that we had earlier in the season. This was a game won by confidence, ability, and physicality. The Galaxy out hustled and out played a team with arguably more fire power. Their focus was on winning the game and once they had the lead they were able to impose their will on their opponents.
New York looked slow to attack and to gain momentum. Their passing was choppy and lacked any flow. You can blame the majority of their issues with adding new players into a lineup that was already struggling to score goals and win games. It will take some time for Henry and Marquez to fit into this team. When that happens I believe the Red Bulls will be able to make a deep run into the playoffs. They very well may be the team to beat in the East.
Overall the Galaxy and their fans should be excited that this game was such a dominating performance by LA. This should be a building block for the rest of the season. Currently the Galaxy sit 4 points ahead of Real Salt Lake in the west. With 43 points this year the Galaxy are just 3 points behind their entire point total for 2009.
Donovan Ricketts recorded his 10th clean sheet of the season and he has his defense to thank. Ricketts only needed to make 2 saves in this win.
The other good news for the Galaxy is that the only person currently listed on the injury list is David Beckham. Mike Magee came on in the sixty-first minute for the youngster Tristan Bowen.
Next week the Galaxy will be playing the San Jose earthquakes in San Jose. San Jose currently sits in 6th place in the western conference with an overall record of 7 – 6 – 5 for 21 points. They have played a total of 18 games to the Galaxy’s 20 this year.
San Jose has just signed Brazilian Geovanni. He should be available to play against LA Galaxy on Saturday.
Game time is 1:00 PM Pacific time. The game is available on Fox Sports West.