The energy drink Red Bull, based off a Thai formula of the same name, is known for its slogan, "Red Bull gives you wings."
Unfortunately for the New York Red Bulls, it was the Los Angeles Galaxy's Edson Buddle who stole the wings and helped the visitors fly away from Harrison, New Jersey's Red Bull Arena to the tune of a 1-0 victory.
Finally, Los Angeles supporters can breathe easily. The best team in Major League Soccer is playing like the best team in Major League Soccer.
And lo and behold, speak of the pink cow: the Galaxy backline did something right for once. The 25,000 who came out to the Red Bull Arena on Saturday can't say that they didn't see this one coming: the defense ending its slump of poor form and horrid results.
Never mind that Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez and Juan Pablo Angel underimpressed against their distinguished guests. Bad breaks off the volleys combined with a plethora of offside calls made this nothing short of a miserable night out.
This is a Red Bull side that was hoping to utilize Henry as a boost to New York's chances. Ultimately, it was nothing more than a sad foil to Buddle's 13th goal of the season.
I don't believe Buddle will catch Roy Lassiter's career mark for the most goals this season (and once again, I blame Bob Bradley and the FIFA World Cup for this), but he may get second-most all-time, so we'll have to wait and see.
But this is a game where I have to tip my hat to the Galaxy backline without a doubt.
After matches upon matches of inepititude and poor form, the combo of Sean Franklin, A.J. De La Garza, Omar Gonzalez and Gregg Berhalter pulled it all together. I was very impressed with Gonzalez's dispossessions.
Chris Birchall will also get some plus points from yours truly with his defensive abilities and clearance skills. Perhaps this is why he's still in the lineup as a central defending midfielder. Hah. I see what you did there, Bruce.
By the way, Arena was not on the sidelines due to recovery from a viral infection, but he did speak to the players at the break. That's recovery right there. More on Bruce Almighty later on the ins-and-outs.
The Galaxy had their best chance to break open the scoring early in the second half, when Buddle whiffed on an easy tap from Landon Donovan in the 50th minute.
Six minutes later, the Galaxy were stumbling on the pitch and had a golden opportunity to get a second past Bouna Coundoul.
And in the 77th, Buddle was just a fraction offsides. This is a team that is improving on their perfection of the offsides trap, but it needs a bit more polishing.
Needless to say, the Galaxy needed this victory. I can't stress this any further. With the likes of the Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake pressuring the G's, it was important that the defense awaken, and that's what this backline did.
And for their efforts, three points and a successful Red Bull wing heist courtesy of the wingman donning the No. 14 of the Los Angeles Galaxy.
INS AND OUTS:
Streaker on the field
What would a sporting event be without a streaker running down the field unannounced in the 89th minute of play? But that's exactly what happened down at the Red Bull Arena.
I wouldn't be surprised the least bit if his facebook profile is inundated with requests to add [insert random flack's name] to his Friends list.
Well done earning you fifteen seconds of shame, young man...
The Next Three Matches
I will take this time first to apologize for not posting this in my recent Play-By-Play. It's customary for me to indicate the next three matches involving the Galaxy and their opposition. So here it goes.
The Galaxy will conclude their recent road sojourn with the second leg of the 2010 California Clasico against the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium on August 21. They will then return to the Home Depot Center for an August 28 contest with the Kansas City Wizards before a September 4 trip to Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois to face the Chicago Fire.
As for the Red Bulls, they will travel to BMO Field to face Toronto FC next Saturday, host the San Jose Earthquakes on August 28 and hit the road against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on September 4.
Call him "Bruce Hall of Fame Almighty"
Galaxy manager Bruce Arena was named on Tuesday to the National Soccer Hall of Fame at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
Arena was named to the Hall of Fame alongside Kyle Rote, Jr., Thomas Dooley and Predrag "Preki" Radosavljevic. Paul Gardner of Soccer America earned the Coline Jose Media Award for his work as a columnist.
Preki's U.S. career included the game-winning goal against Brazil in the 1998 Gold Cup semifinals only months he represented the USA at the World Cup in France.
Dooley was a Bundesliga standout when he joined the U.S. national team in 1992. He played every minute of the USA’s four matches as a midfielder at the 1994 World Cup and captained the USA four years later in France.
Rote was the only American-born player to lead the NASL in scoring. He won the made-for-television ABC Wide World of Sports Superstars competition in three out of the four years he competed, making soccer relevant in the eyes of many during the heyday of the NASL.
“I’m very appreciative of the recognition," said Arena on Tuesday. "It’s a diverse class, for sure. Kyle Rote and I are about the same age and we grew up actually with similar backgrounds.
"We started in the game so late and then you have Preki and Dooley who obviously learned their trade in other countries and have come here to help build the game. So it’s really a diverse and unique class and a class I’m proud to be a part of."