By Ernesto Marinez Jr.
In a prime-time game full of stars, Thierry Henry demonstrated his class with grace, but it was the Los Angeles Galaxy duo of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane that stole the show in a 4-0 Los Angeles demolition of the New York Red Bulls in front of 25,102 fans at the StubHub Center Sunday night.
Keane started the show early when he received a Donovan pass just inside the box and created just enough space between him and the defender to chip the ball over Red Bulls (10-9-11) goaltender Luis Robles.
It then became the Henry show as he demonstrated his class throughout the first half, finding Wright-Phillips with the beautiful through ball 15 minutes in, but Jaime Penedo came out the line for a beautiful save. Seven minutes later the former French international demonstrated his world-class dribbling, leaving Dan Gargan in his dust, forcing Penedo to come off his line again. Henry elected to pass the ball back to Wright-Phillips, but A.J. DeLaGarza cleared it.
Causing more problems for the Galaxy defense, he unlocked Wright-Phillips again in the 35th minute, but Penedo once again came out his line for another amazing one-on-one save. The Panamanian keeper was forced off his line once again in the 41st when Henry found Eric Alexander, but Penedo once again denied the shot.
L.A. (16-5-9) had a great opportunity to double its lead three minutes later, but Robbie Rogers’ brilliant run down the left flank, giving three different Galaxy players scoring opportunities, was finally cleared by Robles for a corner as the Galaxy went into the lockers outplayed, but with a 1-0 advantage.
The second half belonged to Donovan and the Galaxy. The all-time MLS career scorer added to his tally five minutes after the intermission when he stole the ball from Chris Duvall and placed it past Robles to double the advantage. He then played a quick one-two play with Zardes and the youngster slotted the ball just inside the back post to put the game away in the 69th minute.
Donovan then tied Steve Ralston’s record 13 minutes later when he found Keane, who dribbled past Robles and walked into the net for the fourth and final goal of the game.
The Galaxy undefeated streak is now nine games and they have pulled into a tie on top of the standings with Seattle for the Supporters’ Shield. Both teams have four games left, including a home-and-home series against each other to finish the regular season.
New York drops to fifth place in the Eastern Conference, only one point ahead of Toronto FC for the final playoff spot.
The Galaxy started with Penedo at goal, Dan Gargan, Robbie Rogers, A.J. DeLaGarza, and Omar Gonzalez in the back, Donovan, Juninho, Husidic and Sarvas in the midfield, and Zardes and Keane up top.
Donovan is set to retire at the end of the season. It is rumored that Henry will retire once the contract is completed at the end of the season.
Jamison Olave will miss New York’s next game against Houston due to accumulation of yellow cards.
Bradley Wright-Phillips leads the league in scoring with 24 goals and is only four away from the season record.