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Drilling down on: NY Red Bulls 1, at LA Galaxy 0

New York Red Bulls v Los Angeles Galaxy

CARSON, CA - MAY 05: (L-R) Dane Richards #19, Mehdi Ballouhy #10, Dax McCarty #11, Jan Gunnar Solli #8 and Kenny Cooper #33 of the New York Red Bulls celebrate a goal by teammate Joel Lindpere #20 against the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first half during the MLS match at The Home Depot Center on May 5, 2012 in Carson, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

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Man of the Match: Joel Lindpere is determined, apparently, to show coach Hans Backe that he is a central player. Backe said recently that Lindpere is a wide guy, but you could have fooled us based on Saturday’s bold doings. Lindpere cut though the Galaxy back line for the game’s only goal, and a big one at that. The Estonian midfielder was essential in the visitors’ possession all night. And chalk full of energy, he was always well-placed defensively, just ahead of Dax McCarty in the Red Bulls 4-1-4-1.

Packaged for take-away:

  • Everyone will talk about what this means to the curiously plodding (and uninterested, by appearances) Galaxy, and rightly so. But let’s credit the under-strength Red Bulls for a huge three points.
  • New York boss Hans Backe got the tactics right, sucking the air from the night with that defensive-inclined and quite well executed 4-1-4-1.
  • Center back Markus Holgersson, who is finding his MLS feet now after a rough start, had a big goal-line clearance – at the same goal where Tim Ream had one last year in this meeting.
  • Dax McCarty was quite attentive and skilled in his role for a second consecutive week.
  • Backe was criticized (or in some cases ridiculed) for going into the season with a rookie goalkeeper. But Backe was adamant that Ryan Meara could handle the gig, and his young ‘keeper has not done a thing to disappoint his faithful boss.
  • Meara was sure-handed all night, busily dealing with crosses and intercepting balls in the six, mostly choosing to calmly catch but punching prudently here and there.
  • Bruce Arena’s choice to rest Robbie Keane and David Beckham for the midweek trip to Seattle? Meh. Sure didn’t help anything, did it? He can expect to hear more about that one.
  • The Galaxy looks like a team just dying for a major shaking. Not a “shake-up” necessarily, but a darn good shaking. Where is the Galaxy counter-attack? Where is the left-sided width? Where are a few more attacking ideas?
  • Where, mostly, is the urgency?
  • LA is 2-3-1 at home this year.
  • Great Britain’s Olympic team coach Stuart Pearce was in the house for this one, looking at Beckham. He can’t have been too impressed although, if we’re honest, Beckham’s place on the one-time team is about politics as much as anything. So “scouting trip” is perhaps a bit misleading for what Pearce was actually doing in sunny So Cal.
  • Beckham was caught way out of position on Lindpere’s goal. He was cheating forward, which became a problem when central partner Juninho was out wide during the telling sequence.
  • With all the talk about Omar Gonzalez and how much the Galaxy misses him on defense – and Lordy mercy they do! – a lot of us didn’t bother to mention how much of a bother the big defender can be on attacking set pieces. L.A. could have really used the extra umph in a game like this one; New York is notorious in its inability to reliably defend restarts.
  • Juan Agudelo, just back from injury, got his first Red Bulls minutes in almost two months.