Red Bulls down Galaxy to climb up playoff charts

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com 

By MIKE NASTRI

Harrison, NJ– Needing a win to bolster an already razor-thin hold on the final playoff spot in MLS, the New York Red Bulls stepped up with their best team performance in months.

Led by the strike force of Luke Rodgers and Thierry Henry, and a promising performance by struggling Mexican star Rafa Marquez, the Red Bulls beat the Los Angeles Galaxy, 2-0, at Red Bull Arena on Tuesday night.

Rodgers and Henry tallied goals to help the Red Bulls knock off a tired Galaxy squad that was coming off a Saturday match, and was missing stars Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, as well as starters Mike Magee, Sean Franklin and Chris Birchall.

"We can beat anyone," said Rodgers. "You've seen that tonight. We played the best team in the league and we battered them in my eyes. If we can do that in the last two games and then carry on and build momentum, who knows?" 

The victory moved the Red Bulls into a tie for fourth place in the East, and a tie for ninth place overall with Houston. With 43 total points, New York now stands just a point behind Columbus and Philadelphia for second place in the East and just two points behind Sporting Kansas City for first place.

Marquez turned the recent string of boos for poor performances into cheers by delivering his best game in months. After starting slowly, Marquez eventually settled into a strong central midfield role, and capped a solid performance by sending a perfectly-crafted pass between two defenders to Thierry Henry, who raced into the penalty area before chipping the ball over a sliding Donovan Ricketts in the 60th minute to seal the victory.

Marquez, who got in hot water two weeks ago after criticizing teammates and earning a suspension for his comments, decided to speak with his play Tuesday, rather than his words. In a verbal statement on Marquez's behalf, Red Bulls Vice President of Communications Jurgen Mainka said, "Rafa Marquez respectfully declines to make any comments. He said he prefers to continue playing instead of addressing the media at this point."

After a slow start to the match, Marquez came alive in the second half. The Mexican Designated Player received his first cheers at Red Bull Arena in some time when he was substituted for Dax McCarty in the 82nd minute. 

"Being a big star like Rafa Marquez and apologizing to the guys is the most important thing," said defender Jan Gunnar Solli. "And the way he did it, I think was fabulous."

Solli continued: "The way he can play on his top level is amazing. The way he passes the ball and reads the play, that's his biggest strength. Let's just focus on him playing in the midfield position now. I think he did some great things. I really respect him and I hope he will continue playing well."

Marquez wasn't the only Red Bull with a strong game. Rodgers opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. Jan Gunnar Solli powered a corner on frame forcing a save from Ricketts. But, the Jamaican keeper couldn't hold on and Rodgers was there for the rebound and the one-goal lead. 

The Galaxy's Supporter's Shield hopes are still alive as they remain a game away from clinching the regular season title. They are seven points up on Seattle with two games left to play against Chivas USA and Houston. 

"It wasn't our best night," said Galaxy coach Bruce Arena. "I think we looked like a tired team. Tonight is a culmination of a lot of games over a short period of time, and it showed."

While the Galaxy's playoff fate is secure, New York still has a tough road to hang on for a playoff spot. They still have crucial matches against two of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference. They travel to Kansas City in eleven days time before finishing the season at home against Philadelphia on October 20th. However, with the win on Tuesday, New York's playoff hopes are in their own hands. Two wins would mean a playoff berth for the second straight year.

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41 Responses to Red Bulls down Galaxy to climb up playoff charts

  1. yup says:

    It takes this website 10 minute to post a New York victory, but when the Galaxy win it takes around 4 hours. Must be because New York rarely wins.

  2. agnigrin says:

    One win by the Bulls will mean a playoff spot not two!!!!!

  3. agnigrin says:

    That was the biggest sour grapes comment I have ever read!

  4. A.S. says:

    Rafa Marquez plays better as a defensive midfielder. Simple as that. The lineup they had tonight should be the lineup for the last 2 games and any playoff games.

  5. A wise man once says:

    *crawls under bed and weeps softly*

  6. Matt S says:

    Rafa puts in an effort and we win, go figure

  7. jfc says:

    is it just us or is it for all teams that when the galaxy come to town beckham supports come out of the wood work and are so annoying

  8. Second City says:

    Caption time with this picture of Rodgers.

    (movie: Anger Management)

    link to youtube.com

  9. Dan in New York says:

    HE’S SHORT
    HE’S WHITE
    HE LOVES TO F$&@ING FIGHT!
    HE’S LUKE RODGERS!
    LUKE RODGERS!

  10. Ed dog says:

    If thats the biggest sour grapes comment you have ever read then you must not read much.

  11. Brendan says:

    Weeks ago, my friend sat down to watch a Red Bulls match with me for the first him. I described Luke Rodgers to him as the guy on the field who kinda looks like a walking penis. So naturally tonight when he scored I jumped up to exclaim, “Ah, it’s the penis.” Moments after that commentator John Harkes says “And there he is, rising to the occasion,”

  12. John says:

    Luke Rodgers is a joke

  13. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    “We can beat anyone,” said Rodgers. “You’ve seen that tonight. We played the best team in the league and we battered them in my eyes.”
    Apparently Luke forgot that LA was missing 5 first team players.

  14. MadFan says:

    Yeah, clearly Rogers forgot that the Galaxy’s been playing with their B-team, some of them were young and untested players, minus 5 starters AND they’re playing with no legs at all (tired)! Way to bragging your win against a WEAK team, eh? What a shame!

  15. john says:

    Lol, as an impartial Houston fan here, i have to laugh at Rodger’s comments and how they pretty much beat the Galaxy’s B-team. The Gap of results between the two teams is pretty large and no Red Bull player should be happy they are fighting for a wildcard spot haha

  16. Test says:

    Rodgers is a tool.

  17. St. Addi says:

    Well, he’s just about as bright as your average ox. I mean that as a compliment, as there are some oxen he would be smarter than. I bet he would hold that over those poor, dumb oxen too!

  18. shane says:

    He didnt forget he’s just clueless.

  19. ivanomartin says:

    Apart from the pass on the goal, which was truly nice, I thought Rafa had another poor night, actually. More generally, his passing was pretty awful.

  20. NYBlinders says:

    If that was a strong game for a $4 milllion/year sorry excuse for a DP then I’d hate to see what a weak one looked like. His passing was awful.

  21. annoyed with bitchy posts says:

    I’m sorry I can’t hear the both of you over the sirens of the wahmbulance….

  22. agnigrin says:

    That Joke has 9 goals in 15 goals… Rodgers is a fighter and yes that was a tired LA team but you Gals haven’t beaten the Bulls this season at home or away with your A team or your B team… So go blow!

  23. agnigrin says:

    That was an impartial post. You have to be sh*ting me. You can laugh all you want as the Bulls are tied with Houston for one of those wild card spots and rising up the standings…

  24. agnigrin says:

    Should have read: “That Joke has 9 goals in 15 games…”

  25. cj says:

    Thats exactly what I thought. He was still no where near deserving of DP status or money. Lots of people could have played how he did last night. We don’t need to waste a spot on him.

  26. Dan says:

    Yep.

    Cross country flight.

    Meaningless game for LA Galaxy.

    Missing 5 starters including two of their best 3 players.

    Must-win for NYRB.

    So maybe he should amend his comment to “We can beat anyone, as long as they are missing half their starters it’s a meaningless game for them and our piece of garbage ‘superstar’ doesn’t blame the rest of the team for his poor peformance.”

  27. Dan says:

    Nope! It’s EVERYONE else’s fault when Rafa plays poorly!

    And if you disagree or have the audacity to be a better soccer team than his, he will cleat you in the leg or go head-hunting.

  28. Clark says:

    The game was plenty meaningful for LA, win the supporters shield or open the door for Seattle to potentially take it from them. Either way, LA plays an ugly brand of football that depends heavily upon diving in the periphery of the 18 yard box and having Beckham whip balls into the box for chaos. Im glad LA isn’t my team because they ugly y’all, boring, ugly football. The refs favor them heavily, its all about television sets and Beckham in this case.

  29. Poo says:

    could hear this on the TV, was great.

  30. Primoone says:

    Says the guy supporting a team that is fighting to stay in play-off contention.

  31. Primoone says:

    Did anyone happen to catch Reams give away right outside his 18 within the first 10 minutes of the match?

    That M-F-ER cannot stop doing that to save his soul.

  32. bml says:

    Completely wrong. Meaningless game for LA as they just need two points for the SS or for Seattle to drop some points. LA has been playing a lot of games and it’s about picking your battles. They’d much rather beat Chivas at home in front of their fans than slug it out against a desperate RB squad.

    I didn’t see LA dive, but I did see them get pushed around a lot. LA made 452 passes vs. RB’s 328. LA had more possession at 57%. LA had lots of chances and just couldn’t finish. The LA B squad actually played fairly well. The only thing ugly was the finishing and how tired LA looked.

  33. Joamiq says:

    9 goals is no joke. And he has the 2nd highest goals per minute of anyone with 8 goals or more.

  34. sef-one says:

    Yes. But he also played a really really solid game after that. A few critical stops and some really great balls played out of the back, hater.

  35. Dennis says:

    Well, it was not as bad as the nice pass he made to the Union forward in their first game in Philly.

    He really does seem to have some lapses in concentration that are inexplicable.

    Alexi Lalas put it this way, a forward has to play for only a few seconds to score a goal and appear brilliant, a defender must play the whole 90 minutes, even a couple seconds of inattention or a single mistake makes him the goat.

  36. TommyOC says:

    “Who’s Luke Rogers?”

    As a Galaxy fan, I would have liked to have kept our season record at 3 losses. So I’m disappointed in that fact alone.

    But playing 4 games in 9 days and suffering through some injuries to starters – Beckham himself doesn’t look fully recovered as his limp was noticeable later on in the match – left the team tired and depleted. Honestly I feel it’s no excuse for their poor finishing – Barrett and Cristman should’ve had some tread left on their tires – but just imagine what the score would have been if they put some of those balls away.

    A good, much-needed win from New York, but they shouldn’t ignore the fact that they were out-possessed and out-passed the entire match. 80%+ of the time, those two statistics will ensure your loss. And that should concern them.

  37. Primoone says:

    + ∞

  38. soccerhorn says:

    Galaxy are exhausted. Frankly I’m surprised Beckham, Gonzalez and Juninho played. For the most part Galaxy sent out their reserve squad and hoped for a point. Now they get two weeks rest (except for Keane), and then home against Chivas for the Supporters Shield.

    Meanwhile, NYRB can jump up and down all they want, but if they play true to form, last night might be their last win of the season.

  39. Super Metro says:

    Barrett and Cristman …. vs Henry and Rodgers

    I found your problem

  40. Bun C says:

    exactly…without Keane and Donovan, there was no finishing. Poor depth at striker for LA.