Photo by ISIphotos.com
When Landon Donovan and David Beckham embraced before Thursday night's match between the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls, the gesture suggested that the two had put aside any issues that may have arisen from Donovan's comments about Beckham in the recent book, "The Beckham Experiment." After helping the Galaxy beat the Red Bulls, 3-1, it was clear that any issues between the two had been resolved and the pair are ready to play some soccer.
Play is what they did. Donovan scored a goal and set up another while Beckham played an effective but not overly flashy game as the Galaxy rattled off three first-half goals to down the hopeless Red Bulls, 3-1, at Giants Stadium on Thursday night.
A crowd of 23,238, a good size for a mid-week game, watched Donovan and Beckham control the midfield and help the Galaxy to a fourth consecutive victory. Alecko Eskandarian opened the scoring with a beautiful left-footed blast, while Donovan made it 2-0 with a right-footed shot from 30 yards out. By the time Eddie Lewis converted a Donovan pass to make the score 3-0, the Red Bulls were already finished.
Here are some observations, notes and quotes from Thursday night's match:
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena wasn't exactly surprised to see Donovan and Beckham hug after Donovan's 31st-minute goal, but he still enjoyed seeing his two stars working well together and celebrating together.
"There was never any doubt in our minds that these guys would work together, but it was certainly a great moment with all of the build-up with the so-called questionable relationship," Arena said of Donovan and Beckham. "They're going to be good together. They're good professionals and certainly it was a nice moment and hopefully there's going to be more of those.
Landon Donovan didn't seem to be affected too much by having flown in for the match the day of the game. Having attended the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Donovan took a red-eye flight and arrived in New Jersey on Thursday morning. He defended the decision, and to be fair, he sure didn't show any fatigue, scoring a beautiful goal and setting up another.
"We felt, collectively, that being at the ESPY's was a big opportunity," Donovan said. "It's not often that soccer is on the front of people's minds in this country and right now it seems to be. Not necessarily for the right reasons for the last couple of weeks, but people are talking about it and that's good.
"I felt it was important, Bruce thought it was important, and Tim Lieweke thought it was important," Donovan said. "And I'm in a place now where it doesn't matter when I arrive or that the preperation is ideal. I know how I'm going to perform. I promised Bruce that and I think it worked out."
That's right folks, it doesn't matter when Donovan arrives. He will score goals. Get ready for that same-day flight to Mexico.
One of the best moments of the post-game press conference was Donovan fielding a question from ESPN's Jeremy Schaap, and going, "That's Jeremy Schaap." Yes, Donovan's an ESPY-winning, same-day flying, goal-scoring star, but he can still appreciate when some high-profile media cover one of his matches.
Alecko Eskandarian scored a goal in what will likely be his last game at Giants Stadium. The son of former Cosmos defender Andranik Eskandarian, Alecko is a New Jersey native who made his last game at the storied stadium a memorable one.
Macoumba Kandji said what everyone is already thinking about the Red Bulls. "I think we're cursed this season," Kandji said after Thursday's loss.
The Red Bulls have now gone eleven straight matches without a win and have lost four in a row to drop to 2-14-4. To put that into perspective, during the club's nightmare 1999 season the MetroStars once lost twelve straight matches over a period of almost four months. That year, the MetroStars were 5-15 after 20 matches, with nine points. The Red Bulls have 10 points right now.
The win moves the Galaxy to 6-3-9, with 27 points, to move into a tie for third place in the West. LA's point total is the third-highest in MLS.
Share your thoughts on the Galaxy's 3-1 win over New York in the comments section below.