CARSON, Calif. – Joel Lindpere’s early goal held up as the undermanned New York Red Bulls beat the LA Galaxy by 1-0 at The Home Depot Center on Saturday.
Lindpere converted one of New York’s scant few opportunities in the match, but the visitors did more than enough defensively to keep the hosts off the scoreboard.
It was LA who nearly broke through first, though. Robbie Keane almost put the hosts on the scoreboard in the 12th minute when he danced around Ryan Meara at the top of the penalty area. Keane’s chip from 15 yards took a high bounce but was cleared off the line.
WATCH: Postgame thoughts from NY, LA
New York broke through seven minutes later. Jan Gunnar Solli carried the ball down the left flank and slipped a pass inside to Lindpere, who burst through midfield untracked. With Galaxy defenders collapsing around him, Lindpere somehow knocked the ball through a crowd and past Bill Gaudette for the game’s only goal.
The tally ensured that the Galaxy would not pick up their first shutout of 2012 on the night.
From there it became a rearguard action for the Red Bulls, who were only too happy to clamp down on an LA attack that was a step slow all night.
For most of the first half, the best LA could muster came off of restarts from dangerous positions. But the Galaxy were untidy with them and failed to really threaten Meara’s goal.
Not much changed at the outset of the second half. Despite needing a goal, the hosts were no more aggressive than they were in the opening 45 minutes. New York did well to absorb their pressure and not let the Galaxy get in dangerous positions, while Meara was excellent coming off his line to control his area.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena made a pair of changes midway through the second half. Chad Barrett and Pat Noonan, who combined for an injury-time leveler a week ago against FC Dallas, came on for Edson Buddle and Mike Magee.
It signaled a change in the tempo of the game, and LA began pumping crosses into the box, largely via David Beckham and Todd Dunivant. Barrett broke loose inside the penalty area for a brief moment in the 74th minute but pushed his attempt wide. The forward had several other good chances, but contrived a way to miss the target each time.
The closest LA would come to a leveler was off the foot of Juninho in the 82nd minute. The Brazilian lined up a patented 20-yard drive, but Meara was there to tip cleanly over the bar.
Down the stretch, New York did well to kill off the lead with some quality hold-up play from Kenny Cooper and sub Juan Agudelo, who made his return to the Red Bulls from a long injury layoff when he replaced Solli in the 82nd minute. The makeshift defense, meanwhile, held firm. Emergency right back Brandon Barklage in particular did yeoman's work helping Meara clear his lines.
With the loss, LA drop to 3-5-1, seventh place in the Western Conference. They’re in action again on May 12 when they travel to Montreal to face the Impact.
New York, meanwhile, claim their second 1-0 victory in a row, now solidly in third place in the East at 5-3-1. They’ll take on conference rivals Houston at Red Bull Arena on May 9.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Ryan Meara||Irish eyes are smilin' after his second straight shutout. Meara comes off his line strong, produces spectacular saves and rarely has a bobble.|
|2||Joel Lindpere||The Estonian Express got the game-winner, but did his best work helping clean up in front of the New York backline. A great, veteran performance.|
|3||Brandon Barklage||Who? Barklage was spare parts to start the year, but had perhaps his finest performance in MLS, registering a number of clearances.|
HIGHLIGHTS: LA vs NY