CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Thierry Henry #14 of the New York Red Bulls and David Beckham #23 of the Los Angeles Galaxy hug before playing in their Western Conference Semifinal at The Home Depot Center on September 9, 2011 in Carson, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

LA Galaxy Vs. New York Red Bulls, MLS Cup Playoffs 2011: LA Goes Through To Western Conference Final

Mike Magee scored the ultimate winner, while Landon Donovan sealed the deal with a penalty as the Galaxy defeated the Red Bulls 3-1 on aggregate

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18 Total Updates since November 3, 2011
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LA Galaxy Vs. New York Red Bulls Live, MLS Cup Playoffs 2011: Galaxy Win 2-1, Advance To Conference Finals

The Los Angeles Galaxy have advanced to the Western Conference Finals after a 2-1 home win over the New York Red Bulls, adding to the 1-0 victory the achieved in New York last weekend. For a little while, it didn't seem as though things would be as straightforward as they ended up turning out - within four minutes of the match kicking off at the Home Depot Center Luke Rodgers had put the visitors ahead after being fed expertly by Thierry Henry and then firing first-time past Josh Saunders.

That goal shook LA's resolve a little and the Red Bulls were rampant in the early going. It looked for all the world like the visitors were on course for a crushing and completely unexpected victory, with the Galaxy completely unable to retain possession. But then Teemu Tainio went off with a hamstring problem and everything started to fall apart for New York.

Robbie Keane had about five hundred good chances to score before his teammates got bored and did the job for him, Mike Magee losing Dane Richards on a corner and nodding David Beckham's delivery straight over Frank Rost to make it 1-1 on the evening and 2-1 on aggregate, and from then on things mostly went the Galaxy's way. The best chance New York had of tying things up again came when the excellent Dax McCarty played Rodgers clean through on goal, but the English striker could only find the side netting when it seemed easier to score.

Only a few minutes had passed after that wasted chance before Beckham won a penalty following a really silly foul by Roy Miller, and the otherwise unimpressive Landon Donovan stepped up to convert. Following that rather pointless spot kick, the Red Bulls needed two goals to advance. They would end up getting, none, and the Galaxy advance to face Real Salt Lake on Sunday.

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LA Galaxy Vs. New York Red Bulls Live, MLS Cup Playoffs 2011: David Beckham Wins Penalty, Landon Donovan Converts

Well that's probably that, then. David Beckham should have a penalty when New York Red Bulls defender Roy Miller blocks his shot with his arm at the edge of the box, but Hilario Grajeda either doesn't see it or doesn't care, because he waves play on. Beckham retrieves the ball, and Miller immediately fouls him. I'd say it was a moment of idiocy, but since I don't know Miller I can't attest that he's any brighter in other moments - but that was pretty stupid regardless. It's a stonewall spot kick, and
Grajeda has no choice but to award it.

Landon Donovan steps up to take it, and does what could well be his first positive action of the match, sending Frank Rost the wrong way to give the Galaxy a 2-1 lead on the night and 3-1 on aggregate. That should probably wrap things up, and Bruce Arena obviously thinks so, withdrawing David Beckham for whatever a Mike Stephens is. Alright then.

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LA Galaxy Vs. New York Red Bulls Live, MLS Cup Playoffs 2011: Mike Magee Makes It 1-1

Finally, an LA Galaxy chance that doesn't fall to Robbie Keane - and it leads to a goal. The ball is whipped in from the right and Jan Gunnar Solli has to head behind for a corner, which David Beckham, apparently ok after his back problem, takes. The ball lands perfectly on Mike Magee's head and is sent whizzing past Frank Rost and into the back of the net for the equaliser.

The goal means that LA Galaxy are now 2-1 up on aggregate, so they're in pretty good shape again, especially considering that the New York Red Bulls haven't really done much since Teemu Tainio came off the pitch. We're coming up to the end of the first half, which means LA only have 45 minutes left to navigate, and they're once more in command of the tie.

They could go up further a few minutes later when the ball falls to white shirt in shooting position. But Keane's the one who takes, so it goes wide. Oh, and Landon Donovan's been booked for being an obnoxious little elf. Surprise! Anyway, 1-1 at the Home Depot Center.

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LA Galaxy Vs. New York Red Bulls Live, MLS Cup Playoffs 2011: Luke Rodgers Scores Opener, Resets Game

Well that was quick. The New York Red Bulls have drawn level on aggregate within five minutes of kickoff in Los Angeles, tearing up that lovely script we had written where the Western Conference champions walked all over their barely-qualified-for-the-playoffs visitors. And, of course, it was Luke Rodgers who got the Red Bulls on the board, running onto a wonderful pass by illustrious colleague Thierry Henry to slide a right-footed shot past Josh Saunders from about 15 yards.

If you're wondering why the normally airtight LA Galaxy defence allowed the Red Bulls to simply stroll through and score, the answer probably lies in the absence of Juninho, who is suspended for being hit by Rafael Marquez. I don't get that one either. Anyway, this is a feisty affair and naturally Rodgers gets himself booked after a little contretemps following his goal. A couple of minutes later and the Birmingham-born striker takes offence so some young lady wearing glasses on the sidelines, blasting the ball just past her head (and we're talking centimetres here) from about five yards. That could easily be a second booking for unsportsmanlike conduct, but no way is referee Hilario Grajeda sending anyone off this early.

Anyway, the LA Galaxy try to respond via a David Beckham drive, but it fizzes over the crossbar. Fortunate for New York it did, too - Frank Rost did not look at all comfortable on that one. 1-0 New York at the Home Depot Center.

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