Los Angeles Soccer: Bouna Coundoul
May, 8, 2011
By Scott French | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesDavid Beckham, left, and Thierry Henry met on an MLS field for the first time Saturday.
CARSON, Calif. -- Major League Soccer's biggest showdown yet this season also was among its best encounters, a 1-1 draw Saturday night between the Galaxy and New York Red Bulls that had a little bit of everything.
Except a winner.
Thierry Henry fired New York ahead in the fourth minute, his fourth successive game with a goal, and Landon Donovan nodded home David Beckham's corner kick just before halftime to pull L.A. even, but it was the goals that didn't count -- and the chances that just missed -- that defined this thriller.
“It should probably ended up 3-3, with all the chances from both sides,” Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said. “It's a very intense game. It's a very good game. It's a good level on the game today. Probably the best you can see in MLS at the moment.
“Very entertaining, it must have been. That's two teams that definitely wanted to attack for 90 minutes and go for the winning goal.”
Galaxy striker Juan Pablo Angel, looking plugged in as he hasn't all season, scored against his former team midway through the first half, but the goal was waved off by an offside call that replays indicated was correct.
And Donovan, who has four goals in the last three games, should have had a second just moments after his header. Beckham lofted a ball over the New York backline for Donovan to run onto, and he pushed it past onrushing Red Bulls goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul a good 10 yards outside the box.
That left an empty net, but his roller from 19 yards was way too slow, and defender Tim Ream chased it down, slid and booted it from danger just as it reached the goal line.
Did it cross the line? Replays were inconclusive, but Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said his “take” was “it should have been a goal.”
“Part of that ball was over the line for sure,” Arena said. “Whether all of it was, I sure can't tell from where I am.”
Said Donovan: “It looked like it was in. I think we’re learning this year if we want to score a goal, we really have to score two goals. If we want to score two goals, we have to score three or four. It’s unfortunate. You would hope that at some point you have to think we’ll get the benefit of the doubt, but it hasn’t happened yet.”
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