New York Red Bulls (12-8-5) at the Galaxy (15-5-5) at Home Depot Center

After almost coming a cropper against the worst team in the league last weekend the Galaxy will attempt to raise their game against one of the best before a national television audience.

So naturally, David Beckham gets a start in only his third game back from injury with Coach Bruce Arena presumably confident he’ll go at least 45 minutes. Beckham’s return to the starting lineup means Alex Cazumba starts on the bench.

Also, with center back Omar Gonzalez suspended young Brazilian Leonardo fills in.

Here’s the Galaxy XI: Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Yohance Marshall, Todd Dunivant, David Beckham, Juninho, Dema Kovalenko, Leonardo, Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle, Jovan Kirovski.

On the bench is the likes of Chris Birchall, Eddie Lewis and Tristan Bowen while rookie Michael Stephens doesn’t even dress today after being a consistent figure in the starting lineup for most of the season.

Red Bulls Coach Hans Backe has restored DP Juan Pablo Angel to the starting lineup after demoting him to the bench last week in New York’s 2-2 draw with Dallas.

The Red Bull lineup: Bouna Coundoul, Carey Talley, Carlos Mendes, Tim Ream, Roy Miller, Dane Richards, Mehdi Ballouchy, Rafael Marquez, Tony Tchani, Joel Lindpere, Juan Pablo Angel.

The game is on ESPN2 or refresh this blog to see updates during the game.

Lovely harvest moon hanging over the HDC, BTW.

The hype is done, let’s get it on.

We just had a LA based pop-punk band called The Briggs do a song called “This is LA,” which apparently is a staple at King games and a couple of years old. So it’s a AEG anthem then. Not bad. Randy Newman won’t be worried about being supplanted, though.

Donovan already won a tackle deep in the Red Bulls half just five minutes in – he’s fired up.

First shot on target for New York’s Ballouchy in the 14th minute that required a Ricketts save.

Thirty minutes have gone and Leonardo has already been yelled at by Ricketts for a weak clearance, while Angel put a move on him that was pure EPL class and drew an admiring “ooh” from the crowd. Leonardo looks the weak link in the Galaxy defense that’s for sure.

Beckham looks more than a bit tired already, too.

The Galaxy have fallen behind in the 36th minute, two mistakes by first Marshall, then Leonardo – their two young central defenders – proving their undoing.

A Miller throw-in started the move. Marshall was unable to clear with a weak header, Lindpere collected it, went by Leonardo like the Brazilian wasn’t there, but his shot hit the post. Richards was following up to score the goal on the rebound.


Galaxy 0 New York Red Bulls 1

Galaxy started better at the outset of this one, but New York gradually asserted themselves. Will the young central tandem prove the Galaxy’s undoing?

Key stat: New York has two shots on target, the Galaxy none. Or will that prove the Galaxy’s undoing? You can’t score if you can’t hit the target.

Incidentally, veteran Mike Petke replaced the apparently injured Carey Talley in the New York defense in the 40th minute.

Defender A.J. DeLaGarza, listed as questionable with a left knee strain before the game, is warming up in the center circle. Has Arena seen enough of Leonardo?

Yup. Sub made. Franklin has shifted to the middle of defense, with AJ on the right.

Galaxy 0 New York 2

Juan Pablo Angel has just scored his 13th of the season from the penalty spot in the 60th minute. Marshall made a second mistake that led to a goal bringing down the speedy, breaking Richards in the box. Marshall just couldn’t match him and was booked. I still don’t think the Galaxy have had a shot on target in the game.

Beckham just had the Galaxy’s first shot on target from a 30-yard free kick after Buddle was brought down. In the 66th minute, mind you. Lewis has come on for Kirovski.

A last throw of the dice for Arena. Young Bowen is the Galaxy’s third and final substitution with about 15 minutes left. Beckham will go the whole way then.


Galaxy 0 New York Red Bulls 2

i-6aab8bc9d19c3edb6a280129b10708ec-badbeckstackle.jpgLate to the party: David Beckham earned himself a yellow for this late challenge on Salou Ibrahim in the dying minutes of the game (AP Photo).

A deserved win by the visitors.

Two defensive errors by the young central defenders and an inability to barely get a shot on goal was the Galaxy’s downfall.

Beckham oozed class and scarcely put a foot wrong all night making precise passes and dangerous crosses, even though he looked gassed at times. His supporting cast was not up to snuff – not even close.

A leaden first touch by Bowen that ruined any sort of attacking opportunity with around 10 minutes left after the ball had gone right through the New York penalty area when it slipped beneath a defender’s foot seemed to sum up the Galaxy’s night.

An opportunity squandered before a 27,000 capacity crowd.

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