Red Bulls cap­i­tal­ize on L.A. mis­cues

Dane Richards and Juan Pablo An­gel score for New York. Galaxy drops to 15-6-5.

Los Angeles Times - - High School Football - Gra­hame L. Jones gra­hame.jones@latimes.com

With $16mil­lion worth of Ma­jor League Soc­cer salary on the field in the shape of only four play­ers on Fri­day night, it fig­ured that one of the quar­tet would make the dif­fer­ence.

But the Galaxy’s David Beck­ham ($6.5 mil­lion) and Lan­don Dono­van ($2.1 mil­lion) and the New York Red Bulls’ Juan Pablo An­gel ($1.9 mil­lion) and Rafael Mar­quez ($5.5 mil­lion) did not play a lead­ing role.

In­stead, it was the fastest man on the Home De­pot Cen­ter field, New York’s Dane Richards ($146,500) who scored the win­ning goal as the Red Bulls over­came the Galaxy, 2-0, in front of a sell­out crowd of 27,000.

The open­ing goal came in the 36th minute and was the re­sult of a Galaxy de­fen­sive mis­cue.

Roy Miller took a throwin for New York and Galaxy de­fender Yo­hance Mar­shall at­tempted to head the ball clear but failed. Red Bulls mid­fielder Joel Lindpere ($115,000) got to the loose ball be­fore Galaxy de­fender Leonardo and fired a shot that car­omed off the Galaxy’s left post.

Richards was first to the re­bound and slot­ted the ball into the net for his third goal of the sea­son.

The Galaxy de­fense was weak­ened by the ab­sence of cen­tral de­fend­ers Gregg Ber­hal­ter, out be­cause of a neck in­jury, and Omar Gon­za­lez, who was serv­ing a onegame sus­pen­sion.

Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena tried to re­in­force the back line in the sec­ond half by tak­ing Leonardo off and re­plac­ing him with A. J. DeLaGarza, who re­turned to train­ing only this week af­ter suf­fer­ing a left knee strain.

DeLaGarza had not been on the field a dozen min­utes be­fore he picked up a yel­low card for a foul on Lindpere as the Galaxy tried to pick up the in­ten­sity of its game.

But the Red Bulls came into the match with an 11-0-1 record this sea­son when tak­ing the lead, and it was not long be­fore they salted the game away.

Fif­teen min­utes into the sec­ond half, New York dou­bled its ad­van­tage, and Richards this time was the cre­ator, not the goal scorer.

He took a pass on the right flank and blew past Mar­shall and into the penalty area. The two hooked arms and both went down. Ref­eree Ri­cardo Salazar pointed to the spot. Penalty kick.

It was a mar­ginal call, with no foul read­ily ev­i­dent, but An­gel made no mis­take with the re­sult­ing kick, beat­ing goal­keeper Dono­van Rick­etts and scor­ing his 13th goal of the sea­son, only one be­hind league leader Ed­son Bud­dle of the Galaxy.

The Galaxy tried to fight back but could not throw ev­ery­thing into it be­cause of the dan­ger New York pre­sented on the coun­ter­at­tack.

Beck­ham made his first start for Los An­ge­les since the 2009 MLS Cup fi­nal in Seat­tle, where the Galaxy lost on penalty kicks to Real Salt Lake, and played the en­tire 90 min­utes.

He came close to scor­ing in the 66th minute when his free kick had to be alertly punched away by Red Bulls goal­keeper Bouna Coundoul.

The loss dropped the Galaxy, which al­ready has clinched its place in the play­offs, to 15-6-5. New York im­proved to 13-8-5 and is vir­tu­ally cer­tain of be­ing one of the eight play­off teams.

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