The LA Galaxy came to New York without Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, and Sean Franklin, and with a playoff spot already assured (not to mention the Supporters’ Shield just about in the bag), but that shouldn’t detract (not too much) from New York’s gut-check 2-0 win at Red Bull Arena last night.
After all, the Galaxy visited New York’s fellow Eastern Conference contenders Columbus on Sept 24 with a similarly depleted lineup and left with a 1-0 victory. Throw in New York’s shaky form since early summer, and the recent outbreak of Rafagate, and you had a setting ripe for a season-imploding loss in front of a sellout crowd.
Fortunately for New York fans, that didn’t happen, and the Red Bulls produced one of their best performances of the season in a game that Backe had described as “massive.” Designated player Thierry Henry and English Bulldog Luke Rodgers led the way, each scoring a goal and hitting the post. See here:
The Red Bulls are now 29-0-13 under Backe when scoring first. Their 9-7-16 record and 43 points have them tied with Houston in the 10th and final playoff spot. They have two games remaining, at first-place Sporting Kansas City (11-9-12) on Oct 15 and home to second-place Philadelphia (10-7-14) on Oct 20.
With just eight points separating first place in the East from seventh, New York could win the conference title or miss the playoffs entirely.