With a rickety starting 11 due to injuries, Hans Backe decided to keep the same backline from last week that shutout the New England Revolution. Boy, did it show similar results. Giving heart attack after heart attack of loose covering, shoddy off-side traps and last second clearing, the inexperienced defending core got another shutout against a full Galaxy side.
Ryan Meara had his second straight shutout, the second of his career. Showing adept skill and leadership coming off the line constantly to grab the ball on David Beckham induced free kicks, Meara solidified the starting role in the club and is probably on the radar of some US International scouting.
With a solid foundation of Meara and a defense that got a second start together, the lineup was shuffled into five midfielders and Kenny Cooper up top alone. The bunker and counter-attack strategy worked as excellent, controlled build-up was to thank for the lone Red Bull goal. Rookie standout Connor Lade pressed forward down the side, gave it to a running Solli, it got inside the box to Lindpere and the super Estonian had a clinical finish.
After the goal in the 17th minute, it was all hands on deck to thwart the Galaxy’s attack. The defense stood its ground, the midfield held its shape and it was another shocking win for New York. In the only game of the season between LA and NY, there was plenty of action, but, in the end, it was the Red Bulls taking the three points away from home.
Plenty of players have stepped up this season, but none more than Dax McCarty. The USA international and chronic B-teamer thwarted attacks and controlled a midfield that was saturated in global talent. He was easily the best player on the pitch for what seems like the third or fourth game in a row.
With the patched up players coming along from injuries, this is what New York needed to keep pace (16 points) with Sporting Kansas City (21 points) and DC United (18 points).