- Posted: 8:10 PM, October 30, 2011
But in the end, it was overlooked and opportunistic ex-Red Bull Mike Magee that decided the chippy tilt, beating an offside trap and beating his former team. His goal gave top-seeded L.A. a 1-0 victory and 10th-seeded New York a tough loss before 22,663 at Red Bull Arena, now needing at least a one-goal win in Thursday’s return leg to force overtime.
“You can talk about possession, about the chances we had; but we lost,’’ said Henry. “They showed us why they were the best team in the league. But we still have 90 minutes, so hopefully we can do what they did to us over there.’’
What the Supporters’ Shield-winning Galaxy did was watch the Red Bulls hold the ball for most of the game, but do little with it. The Red Bulls had the better of play in a tilt with hard tackles and great chances; but despite outshooting the Galaxy 17-9 in the second half _ they got punished for the chance they gave up.
Beckham played a perfect diagonal ball over the top. Irish striker Robbie Keane was offside but broke off his run to keep Magee on. The latter made a late run and the entire back line stopped, throwing their hands up for an offside call that never came.
“The backline, everybody across kind of stopped for a second and he snuck in, great finish on his part,’’ said defender Carlos Mendes. “I tried to close him down but he finished it well. Give him credit.’’
Magee _ who’d missed an earlier sitter _ settled the ball and fired an acute-angle shot that left Red Bull keeper Frank Rost flat-footed for a 15th-minute goal.
“One hundred percent I was not offside,’’ said Magee. “Even if I was, he didn’t call it so I wasn’t.’’
The Red Bulls pressed forward in the second half, outshooting Los Angeles 11-5 to no avail. Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders slapped away a Dane Richards chip on a breakaway with his right hand just :41 in, then robbed midfielder Joel Lindpere point-blank with his left. Marquez forced a huge save in stoppage time, and Henry sent a free-kick high in the dying moments.
“We just look at it like we’re at halftime now down 1-nil. Playing at home obviously we wanted to get a better result. We just have to go into L.A., once again our backs against the wall. We need a win, simple as that,’’ said Keel. “Nothing’s going to be easy from now on…Our backs have been against the wall, and we’ve delivered, so that’s what our mentality has to be.’’
They’ll have to deliver without their $4.6 million Designated Player, Marquez. After the final whistler, the Mexican star sent a ball sailing at Donovan. The latter appeared to backheel it, but Adam Cristman went after Marquez, and Juninho elbowed Stephen Keel in the face as the latter was playing peacemaker.
Not shockingly, Marquez declined comment. He hasn’t spoken to the English-speaking press since Sept. 21, including a dozen requests from the Post.
“In all my years in this league I have not played against a cheaper team than that,’’ Donovan told reporters. “We've seen that stuff all year.’’
Both Marquez and Juninho drew red cards, and will be suspended for Thursday’s return leg (11 p.m., ESPN2). As if the Red Bulls’ task wasn’t tall enough, now they head cross-country needing to win at a place nobody wins, the Galaxy an undefeated 12-0-5 this year at the Home Depot Center.
Not that any of that daunted a surprisingly-encouraged Hans Backe. When asked if his suddenly-direct Red Bulls can break down an aerially-dominant Galaxy defense, he replied “Yeah, definitely. After 20 minutes, I don’t know if they sat back or we forced them to sit back…If we stay on this level, we’ll win the game.’’