Red Bulls, New York Red Bulls

Red Bulls Lose Second Straight to LA Galaxy, 3-2

On the second Matchday of the 2021 Major League Soccer (MLS) season, the New York Red Bulls lost a high-scoring affair in Los Angeles to the Galaxy. The highest-paid player in MLS, Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez netted a hat-trick for the home team and Andrew Gutman and Christian Casseres Jr. scored for the visiting Red Bulls.

Chicharito, 32, has played in the major European top flights in England and Spain for Manchester United and Sevilla in Spain and is looking to prove he deserves his handsome contract. The Mexican International added three goals on Sunday to bring his season total to five through just two games and was named MLS Player of the Week for the second week running.

The Red Bulls held advantages in every major offensive team-stat Sunday afternoon, including 53% of possession, hadsix shots on goal to their opponent's five, and 78.9 rating in passing-accuracy to their opponents 73. However, the statistic that does not get the same amount of press is defense. The Red Bull defense choked in key moments of Sunday afternoon's match and never led in this game, which allowed the home side to keep momentum in their possession.

First Half Notes

Within the first ten minutes of Sunday's Red Bull-Galaxy game at Dignity Health Sports Park, the home team would strike first.Red Bull midfielder, Florian Valot, a Rider University alum, was dispossessed by Galaxy midfielder, Jorge Villafana. The 31-year-old from Anaheim, California then led a counter-attack into New York's defensive third. Villafana passed to Galaxy midfielder Ethan Zubak who dribbled the ball all the way to goal, and was marked by Sean Nealis.

The Galaxy player shot, which deflected off the Red Bull defender and rolled near the right goal-post. Red Bulls keeper Carlos Colonel dove to stop the first shot but could not recover in time to stop Chicharito, who slid and knocked the ball into the net at the last moment. For a young inexperienced team facing a more experienced opponent, conceding due to losing possession in their own half in the first ten minutes was a bad way to start a road-game.

In the 25th minute, Andrew Gutman sparked the Red Bulls offense by winning the ball in Galaxy's half and passing to teammate Brian White. White, a native of Flemington, New Jersey-native took the ball down the left flank and was able to dribble past two defenders and penetrate the Los Angeles box. White passed back to Gutman in the middle of the box, whose shot beat the LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond for his first MLS goal.

Midfielder Christian Casseres Jr. continued his good form by dispossessing a Galaxy midfielder and lobbing a nifty pass over the Galaxy defense to Fabio. The Brazilian chose not to dribble and drill a wicked shot that was narrowly saved by Bond. This opportunity was a huge one missed by Red Bull to seize momentum from LA Galaxy.

In the 41st minute, Los Angeles' Victor Vasquez sent a long pass to Hernandez who had slipped into an open space in the Red Bulls eighteen-yard-box. Hernandez made the Red Bulls pay for leaving him unmarked by trapping Vasquez's pass and shooting through the legs of Colonel for his second goal of the afternoon, which gave the home side a 2-1 lead heading into the half-time break.

Second Half

Kyle Duncan was subbed in for Valot to start the second half. The Red Bulls most energetic attacking midfielders applied pressure to the Galaxy defense, earning three corner kicks. However, New York 's short crosses were easily thwarted by the Galaxy's organized defense.

The Galaxy would take a commanding 3-1 lead at the hour-mark. LA Galaxy defender Julius Araujo crossed into the Red Bulls' box. Former MLS Defender of the Year, Aaron Long was in the wrong place at the wrong time, when Long allowed the ball to bounce off his leg where it popped into the air in front of goal, where Chicharito was lurking. The Mexican jumped and scored on a scissor-kick in the air, here is how that play looked on TV.

For the Red Bulls, Daniel Royer replaced Fabio in the 61st minute. Royer took a shot from about 30 yards out that could have went in top corner but was saved by Bond. Bond ended up with four saves on six shots for LA Galaxy and the home side triumphed 3-2 over the visiting Red Bulls.

Postgame Notes

The Red Bulls lost their first road contest of the season, despite outshooting, outpossessing and out passing their opponents. These statistiscal advantages represent a positive for the team going forward, however, their inability to defend in key moments, especially to contain Javier Hernandez was their downfall on April 25.

The Galaxy's first goal happened because Florian Valot got pushed off the ball in midfield and the Galaxy got a little bit of luck when their shot deflected off Sean Nealis and Chichariot tapped home the loose ball. On the third and final goal for Los Angeles, the Red Bulls could not snuff out their opponent's attack early and a cross was sent in to the Red Bull eighteen which again deflected off Aaron Long and gave Chicharito a golden opportunity to score. Overall, that is two goals that required one bad play and then a lucky bounce in order to occur.

Here is what the Red Bulls man of the match, Andrew Gutman said to reporters after the game.

New York's next game will be at Red Bull Arena on May 1 at 1:00 PM Eastern-time against Chicago Fire. Fans are being allowed into Red Bull Arena at 15% of normal capacity.

Anthony Paradiso
Follow me