For the second week in succession, a makeshift New York Red Bulls defense managed to keep an improbable clean sheet despite the opposition carving out many chances, while one excellent finish down the other end proved decisive in a one-goal victory. Joel Lindpere scored the lone goal of the match on the visitors' lone shot on goal, and New York weathered long periods of Galaxy pressure to come out of the Home Depot Center with three points.
LA started the match as they would play most of it, on the front foot. Twelve minutes in, Robbie Keane latched on to a long ball over the top from Sean Franklin, chipped over the onrushing Ryan Meara, but had his attempt cleared off the line by Red Bulls fan favorite Markus Holgersson -- the second time in as many years that New York has cleared a shot off the line away to Los Angeles.
The Red Bulls carved out their first good chance seven minutes later; Lade played the ball ahead to Solli, wide on the left; the Norwegian midfielder, finally playing in his preferred position, cut the ball back for Lindpere, who took a couple of touches before finishing past Bill Gaudette.
The match settled down a bit after New York took the lead, and despite a few chances in the balance of the first half, the visitors looked fairly solid going in at half-time. The second half, though, was like the beginning of the first -- near-incessant Galaxy pressure on Ryan Meara's goal. The rookie goalkeeper was up to the task yet again for New York, and although he punched and parried a few shots he may have been able to catch, he made few mistakes.
In front of Meara the inexperienced Red Bulls' defense was, again, surprisingly good. Despite the lack of midfield pressure on the Galaxy, which allowed the home side to keep New York pinned back, the backline dealt with Los Angeles' attacks well, closing down shooting chances and clearing the ball effectively.
The hosts kept their pressure up throughout the second half, but spurned several opportunities to level the match in the closing stages. Chad Barrett was particularly culpable, although David Beckham also missed a good chance in stoppage time.
The three points move New York up to seventh in the league and third in the Eastern Conference, now just five points behind Sporting KC after their surprising defeat against Montreal. The Red Bulls face a short turn-around after this away trip, as the Houston Dynamo visit Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night.
Selected Stats (NY-LA)
Possession: 37% - 63%
Passing Accuracy: 76% - 80%
Total Passes: 327 - 545
Corners: 5 - 6
Open Play Crosses: 4 - 32 <-- This is ridiculous
Fouls: 13 - 11
Shots (On Goal): 11(1) - 14(5)