Galaxy look to use experience to advance past New York

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BY ADAM SERRANO

Throughout the last three years, the Los Angeles Galaxy have experience in dealing with the pressures of important games and in order to bypass the New York Red Bulls on Thursday (11pm EST, ESPN2), they will need all the cunning at their disposal. 

With a 1-0 aggregate advantage after their win last Sunday at Red Bull Arena, the Galaxy are faced with a decision. Either push forward in hopes of ending the series quickly or try and hold against a motivated Red Bulls team that needs a goal to take the match to extra time. Looking to advance to the Western Conference Final against Real Salt Lake, it's the past that the Galaxy hopes to use to get a result. 

"We have good experience in this situation,” Landon Donovan told reporters on Wednesday. “We were in the exact same position last year, where we beat Seattle away, and then we came home. I think a lot of teams in that situation might have a tendency to sit back and guard the goal, but we wanted to come out and be aggressive, and we got at them early and ended the game quickly.

"In an ideal world, we could do that, but, certainly, it's a different year and a different opponent, and it's going to be tough."

The Galaxy may have earned the victory at Red Bull Arena, but it was the scuffle that ensued after the final whistle that may prove truly decisive as both sides will be without key contributors. Midfielders Rafael Marquez and Juninho will each be suspended due to their role in the incident, leaving both teams to try and compensate for their loss. 

With the steely Brazilian unavailable, it appears that midfielder Chris Birchall will likely suit up alongside David Beckham in the Los Angeles midfield. Due to his abilities on the defensive side of the ball, Birchall appears to have risen above other options for a spot in the Galaxy starting lineup. Having had their depth tested repeatedly throughout the year, the Galaxy are confident in Birchall or whomever slides into Juninho's role. 

"We'll see," said Beckham. "At the end of the day, we've done well throughout the season with players being injured or suspended and we've coped with it this season so hopefully that will continue and the players that step in will do well." 

The post game scuffle on Sunday not only led to suspensions on both sides, but also provided added intensity for an already heated playoff match. In a conference call earlier in the week, Red Bulls forward Luke Rodgers fired back at Donovan's comments following the first leg in which the Galaxy captain referred to the Red Bulls as a "cheap team."

Rodgers singled out Beckham for placing a "gash" on the leg of Red Bulls defender Roy Miller and made the declaration that people "who live in glass houses should not throw stones." With both teams seeking to advance to the Western Conference Final, the Galaxy expect that there will be even more physicality when the two teams square off on Thursday. 

“It's a playoff game. It happens,” said forward Robbie Keane, who admitted to being 90 minutes fit on Wednesday. “Not even in a playoff game. It's football, isn't it? It's a man's game. You have to accept it or you're gonna get kicked.” 

The Galaxy's match-up with the Red Bulls will take place in front of a limited capacity of 20,000 due to an agreemement between the Home Depot Center and Cal State Dominiquez Hills. Due to parking concerns for the Universities' night classes, the Galaxy needed to reduce the HDC's capacity from the normal 27,000. 

All external factors aside, the Galaxy understand that their ability to answer that definitive question to either attack or defend that will ultimiately decide their playoff fate. 

"There's no point in sitting back and thinking that we can defend a one-nil lead because when you've got players like they've got on their team, it's always going to be dangerous," affirmed Beckham. "No we won't be sitting back, but we have to be cautious of the striking power that they've got." 

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20 Responses to Galaxy look to use experience to advance past New York

  1. Khan says:

    Wow if that photo isn’t Donovan in a nutshell I don’t know what is.

  2. RedLine55 says:

    this picture screams out for a Caption Contest.

    “THIS is where my hair used to be!”

  3. facts says:

    I will be there tonight expecting the Galaxy to move on to the semi’s. I am looking for Robbie and Landon to have a big game tonight. Let’s go Galaxy!!!

  4. Starks says:

    cmon on RBNY….lets get 2 goals and win this 2-1 agg….move….I think with DJ Solli in there will be a big boost. I just hope we can start to finish our chances….

  5. Dinho says:

    I’m a Gals supporter, but I’d still take Rodgers in a brawl any day. Dude’s got that little bit of crazy that makes him unstable and scary.

  6. Adam M. says:

    “Yes, Beckham, I am too on the field. Seeee.”

  7. PurpleGold says:

    So my girlfriend was just watching that Giada cooking show with that lady with the giant head that looks like an old Kiera Knightley, anyways, at the end she was feeding her food to a table of people and Omar Gonzalez was DEFINITELY at that table. Comments? Questions?

  8. Colin says:

    I think I heard somewhere about Omar being good friends with Giada’s husband.

  9. abc says:

    Rafa: “I see you roll your way into the semis… dios mio man… nobody f’s with the Marquez.”
    (Rafa walks away)
    Juninho: “That creep can roll around on the ground pretending to be injured… plus he’s dirty, 8 yellow cards dude.”

  10. abc says:

    Didn’t he throw punches at a Vancouver player in the middle of a game earlier this year for no reason, and get away with no punishment?

  11. Dune Man says:

    “Due to parking concerns for the Universities’ night classes, the Galaxy needed to reduce the HDC’s capacity from the normal 27,000. ”
    …which is always a good thing when your team has the big play-off games.

  12. vic says:

    NY is dirty. Even Henry said he has to shower after hanging and training with his teammates.

  13. Lil' Zeke says:

    L.A. supporters don’s say “Gals”.

    Or “Cali” by the way

  14. dinho says:

    don’t know. wouldn’t be surprise though. he’s a prick, but he can back it up. I don’t like him, but it’s true.

  15. dinho says:

    ok, buddy. I’m a LOS ANGELES GALAXY supporter, is that okay with you?

    where did you get “Cali” from anyway?

  16. jamesey says:

    LA is the G’s

    link to youtube.com

  17. soccerhorn says:

    The limited seating thing harkens back to the pre- and early-Beckham AEG days, when it really just seemed like Liwicke’s job was to count salaries and make sure he returned a fat vig to his boss.

    Now I’m fairly convinced they want to actually win this thing. But they really dropped the ball on this seating. Owner Anschutz has more money than God. He could just buy every displaced student an new car, fill up his stadium for the game, and still have spare change left over for a gold plated soccer ball. Come on man!

  18. Mental Assassin says:

    Have a picture of Marquez throwing the ball, and there’s Marquez in a nutshell

  19. T says:

    Seriously? More money than God?! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

  20. Dave from Charlotte says:

    i may need to resort to drugs to stay up and watch this…I’m in EST (and old)…gonna be a late night if i don’t start sawing logs before 11.