It’s amazing how much things can change in just a matter of years. A couple of seasons ago, a game between the New York Red Bulls and the LA Galaxy would have drawn attention from across the country. The opportunity to see players like David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Tim Cahill taking the same field gave fans a chance to see how good the MLS could be. Now, all of those players, other than Robbie Keane, have moved on from the league and new stars have taken their place. The Galaxy will travel to Red Bull Arena Sunday with hopes of handing the Red Bulls their first loss of the season, whether that becomes a reality is up for debate.
Los Angeles currently sits third in the Western Conference behind the two highest point-getters in the league, FC Dallas and the Vancouver Whitecaps. Despite this great league standing, the Galaxy has been surprisingly unimpressive in 2015. In their first seven games of the season, LA have only managed three wins. Before rattling off two consecutive wins against Sporting KC and the Seattle Sounders in the previous two weeks, the Galaxy had gone four straight games without a win.
When looking at the disappointing results of the season, some of the fingers have to be pointed at the forwards. Even with the absence of Landon Donovan to lead the line, the Galaxy still possess some of the league’s most exciting attackers. Robbie Keane, who led the team last year with 21 goals, has only managed to get on the score sheet twice this season. One of the nation’s most exciting prospects, Gyasi Zardes has also failed to replicate the form he was in last season. The 23-year-old winger stole the show last year with 17 goals in just his second season, but has only managed a single measly goal in this campaign. Keane (who may miss the match) and Zardes will have to rediscover the form that set the league ablaze last year if they want to finally bring New York their first loss.
The hosts are riding on cloud nine this season. Despite playing just five games this season, one less than second-place DC United and two less than the New England Revolution, the Red Bulls still find themselves atop the Eastern Conference. The absence of Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill in the starting 11 does not seem to have fazed the rest of the squad and first year manager Jesse Marsch. Marsch has led his team to their best start since 2007-08 and they show no sign of slowing down.
Many fans wondered whether or not Bradley Wright-Phillips would be able to continue his reign as the most dangerous forward in the league without Henry lining up beside him. So far, the English striker seems to be doing just fine. Through the first five games of the young campaign, Wright-Phillips has scored two goals and has also provided three assists for his teammates. Other players have also stepped up to help Wright-Phillips with the scoring burden. Lloyd Sam currently leads the team with three strikes and Mike Grella sits tied with the Englishman at two.
Only once this season have the Red Bulls been held below two goals and that was in their 1-1 draw against Sporting KC to start the year. No club has been able to stop the Red Bulls from getting on the score sheet and the LA Galaxy have only kept a clean sheet twice this season and neither one of those have come away from the Stubhub Center. With that being said, it’s very hard to bet against New York. The depth in attack and impressive form will carry the Red Bulls to an impressive 2-0 victory and end LA’s short two-game winning streak.