The rivalry: Galaxy-Red Bulls

It seems the Galaxy have always been a team in search of a rival.

One that you can have a passionate derby/classico against with rival sets of fans chanting in sold-out stadiums.

Chivas USA? Well, they started out crap, had a bit of a resurgence under Bob Bradley and Preki – and actually played far more attractive soccer than their landlords for two or three seasons there, while the Galaxy were themselves ghastly – but are now crap again.

The San Jose Earthquakes? Well, more people in the Bay Area have worked up a healthy distaste for LA than the other way around. So that doesn’t work.

Which brings us to New York. Same problem as Chivas USA, really. New York – whatever their name – have always been pretty crap, even when they were heading to MLS Cup a couple of seasons back.

No more. These days the Red Bulls are legitimate MLS Cup contenders.

So now we can work on building up a healthy dislike for those East Coast, only city bigger than us in the nation, New York types. Right?

Here goes:

Thierry Henry, not content on cheating to prevent Ireland going to the World Cup and being part of the biggest bunch of crybabies in the tournament, has now injured one of our own, former Galaxy, UCLA, Cal State Dominguez Hills and Palos Verdes High goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. No wonder Henry found an excuse not to show up for the game against the Galaxy Friday at Home Depot Center. Of course, he’s also a big star who genuinely loves playing and living in the U.S. and doesn’t appear just to be here for a lucrative vacation

Or there’s Rafael Marquez, who unless you’re a Real Madrid fan, was widely admired at Barcelona. But, of course, he’s a Mexican national team mainstay so that’s reason enough to dislike him (unless you’re one of the Mexican-American soccer fans locally who likely outnumber us gringos).

What else? Um, er, um.

Damn. Can’t think of much else.

Always liked Juan Pablo Angel since his days at Aston Villa. Damn.

Speedy Dane Richards is often a blast to watch. Damn.

The current management has shown more money and commitment to the team than any previous owner and that’s good for MLS. Damn.

And I really, really, really want to visit that by all accounts drop dead gorgeous new stadium they’ve built. Damn.

So maybe we should look to the past.

However, the Galaxy beat New York in the two teams’ previous meeting this year (check out the video and my blog post here to refresh your memory). So that’s not going to help. Damn.

Of course, the Red Bulls did beat the Galaxy in a goal-fest a couple of years ago. The problem? It was a great game, perhaps one of the best MLS has ever seen, between two entertaining and attack-minded teams. Damn.

Ah well, re-live it here:

Still, suggestions for disliking Friday’s opponents are always welcome.

Me, even in Henry’s absence I’m still looking forward to the game against a team and players I really enjoy watching watch these days.


And it should be a compelling battle of the opposing midfields, according to Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena.

Now that’s a rivalry.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at Cheers!