The New York Red Bulls were about to face a very tough task, against one of the most dangerous and physical players in World Football in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as the Los Angeles Galaxy came to town. After the full ninety minutes were up, they defeated the Hollywood club by a final of three goals to two.
It was a fun afternoon seeing these two sides going after the ball and trying to earn the full three points, but it all got started with a great goal in the begning by Amro Tarek who put the home side on the board first.
A foul was called for the Red Bul;s along the near side touch line. so it looked like Sean Davis was going to take the set piece, but called over Marc Rzatkowski to bend it in. As Rzatkowski delivered it, Brian White tried to deflect it in, went off a defender and bounced to Tarek who smacked it home past keeper David Bingham.
But the Galaxy knew they had to respond, and did so within a five minute span as Zlatan showed why he is still a world class player. In the 39th minute he was able to whip a ball across the area and found Uriel Antuna who went top shelf.
Then he converted on a chance in the 43rd minute as Chris Pontius took a nice pass from Diego Polenta, then did a hop cross towards Zlatan, and a diving header buried his chance to take a lead at halftime.
But the Red Bulls went into the locker room at halftime, with confidence, as well as energy to push another 45 minutes and attack the Galaxy. They were able to equalize and take the lead by making impactful subs to get the job done.
The equalizer came in the 59th minute as Connor Lade retrieved the ball along the near side, then put himself into position, to cross the ball in a space that was wide open for Marc Rzatkowski. Rzatkowski took it one time and he beats Bingham to level the score.
Then Omir Fernandez and Derrick Etienne Jr. came into the match to help pout with the match winner. Daniel Royer dribbles to the end line, then whipped a cross into the middle where Etienne converted the shot. Sadly the flag went up for either offside or interference.
VAR called referee Nima Saghafi to the monitor at the midfield stripe to take a look, and on replay it showed that Brian White, quickly avoided Bingham’s line of sight while LA Galaxy defender Rolf Feltscher blocked his own keeper, at the same time Bingham dove away from the ball. The whistle blew, and the ref pointed to midfield to claim that a goal was good in the 67th minute.
After getting the match winner in USL Championship action during the midweek, Etienne Jr. gets the match winner in MLS Action. So far it might look like he’s getting his confidence up in these important games.
“It felt good to contribute to the team. Two wins in two games, that’s the best thing you can do. And then two goals on two games is another thing.” said Etienne Jr. “But like I said most important thing is the win.
“The Galaxy is a very good team, they showed that and we did our best to try to quiet them. We did very well, in the beginning, pressing them. It felt like our pressure was on. And then towards the end, they were able to get out of it.
And you saw just how good Zlatan is with the ball. So our mentality was, to go back down and contain them in the first half and continue to put pressure on them and the plays will come and they were able to fall first in the second half.”
After some big moments from both sides including a big two fisted punching save by Luis Robles on Ibrahimovic, the final whistle blew and the Red Bulls get a huge three points to begin a winning streak that is currently at two games. How did head coach Chris Armas feel?
“Momentum’s important, as we’ve experienced one way, the momentum of it, when you lose a few. You know, sticking to it is the key.” said Chris Armas “Believing what you’re doing. Believing in the work. Guys sticking together. Staff working hard. So yes, putting a couple of wins together, wins at home, rewards the players
“I wish it was worth more than three, but take the full three. Wasn’t easy. We knew we were playing a good team. Many, many good attackers and we knew that it would look something like that. You can’t draw the script beforehand, but it was full belief at halftime that our guys could not just battle back, but win the game.”
The Red Bulls will try to continue this winning streak, when the Montreal Impact comes to town, another huge game for the Red Bulls as they start to climb up the Eastern Conference table and get back to where they want to be.