Saturday, May 7, 2011

Matchday @Carson: Galaxy vs Red Bulls

Photo credit: Löwenzahn1

Good afternoon! A massive, massive, massive away fixture today mates, as our beloved Red Bulls take on the Los Angeles Galaxy @The Home Depot Center (11:00pm ET, ESPN2). This Clash of Titans has been heavily hyped this past week, with several Designated Players slated to play and both teams leading their respective conferences. For RBNY, this will be a benchmark game in their quest for an MLS Cup Championship.

Los Angeles is coming off a dissapointing away loss @FC Dallas, where they were undone by a tremendous golazo, courtesy of Brek Shea. Becks is back from the Royal Wedding, Juan Pablo is looking to jump-start his career and Bruce Arena will be looking to get his team back in the win column.

The Red Bulls will be looking to build on the streak that has seen them win three games in a row, score eight goal in those three games and give up none. They're coming off a great 1-0 home victory against Sporting KC and currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings. The absence, due to injury, of stalwart defensive midfielder Teemu Tainio will leave Hans Backe with a huge hole to fill, however, so a total team effort on defense will be needed today. With all that in mind, let's get to some predictions:

Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam) has this for us:
Gotta be short and sweet this week. 2-1 Red Bulls.
I'm going to disagree with Matt on this one. I'm thinking that, with Tainio out, it will be very, very difficult to keep another clean sheet. I do, however, believe we'll score at least one ourselves. I'm going to call this one a 1-1 tie.

Homebrew Tim gives us this prediction:
This is a tough week to lose our midfield linchpin, Teemu Tainio, as we head to Los Angeles to face the league-leading Starlets. We saw how much easier the SporKC's were able to push up on us last week in his absence in the second half. I'm admittedly tentative about the rumored replacement being none other than Medhi Ballouchy. I don't recall ever thinking to myself, "Wow, he really distributes the ball well, stays in position, and seems to see what's happening around him." Actually, I'm pretty sure I've thought the opposite, laden with expletives, several times. However, I'm going to try to take a deep breath and repeat, as my mantra, the motto of my brothers in the Viking Army: "In Backe We Trust." I'm also going to hope that Rafa, Ream, and Coundoul come up big behind Ballouchy tonight.

On the bright side, it should be noted that the Galaxy only lead the Red Bulls by one point although we have two games in hand, and while they have scored 11 goals in their 9 matches, they have also let in 9. This is a team that scored 44 in 30 matches last season and let in a meager 28. Let's just say that Juan Pablo Angel has not been the answer to the departure of Edson Buddle. He is struggling to even see time on the pitch. (The Red Bulls definitely were on to something when they realized it was time to let him move on. Maybe what they saw was the number of times he stood like a rock in the box waiting for the ball to be custom-placed upon his head, or the number of times he watched the ball fly past him and out the endline while he just stood and clapped for his teammates' efforts that surpassed his own.) I'll also say that, until someone shows that they can pick the Red Bulls apart and score a goal that they manufacture on a good build-up, instead of a Red Bulls blunder, that it can't be done. I'll believe it when I finally see it.

So, this is a Galaxy team that can be scored on, has had a front-loaded schedule (probably the league's way of giving them an easier time during their CCL Group Stage this summer), and, even though they sit a top the Western Conference, is not the team they were last year. On our side, we have a confident team riding a 3-game shutout streak, albeit with what appears to be a significant downgrade an the pivotal holding midfield position. I will be happy with a 1-1 draw tonight, but I am going to predict something better: a 2-0 victory for the Red Bulls. Henry and Rodgers will show Bruce Arena why we let him have JPA, and Bouna's run of scoreless minutes continues.
Our man in the UK, Glenn Williams, has this for us:
Tainio's absence is a big blow. I just don't think Mehdi Ballouchy - a guy who can't perform well in his own, natural position - can suitably slot into the crucial DCM role. I can see Galaxy's powerful midfield taking full advantage and pegging us back. 2-0 defeat, sadly.
Last, but not least, the great You Suck Corrales has this for us:
I have to admit with Tainio not playing I am a bit nervous about this game. However if memory serves me we have won away to the Galaxy in 2 of the last 3 years. I can only pray that Angel does not come back from the dead for one night. With Philly losing last night 3 points would be nice. So I will go with 2-0 RBNY, goals for Henry and Rodgers. And Juan Pablo goes offside at least 8 times and does 5 overhead claps and or thumbs up after he can't get to a pass.
Ok, that's it for us. We'll have our Award Winning coverage within the next few days. Viper Out!
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